Monday, August 04, 2008

Waning Days

Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsyn dies at 89 - Yahoo! News

I have to admit it --- I was once enamored with the concept of Communism and investing in the people's welfare.

I still believe we have to invest in the people's welfare, but at the risk of being called a revisionist and sell-out, I believe that Communism is not the answer.

People are created equal in that they represent one number in a statistical chain. Otherwise, they are fundamentally different. Treating them the same way in a mass-produced environment only means one course: stultification and death of individual initiative. We have to realize there is no egalitarian utopia, if so we must acknolwedge that only equality of opportunity is the one thing we can provide.

I read Solzhenitsyn's works when I was very impressionable (I was 12 and had nothing to do since I hated physical activity) and today his account of Stalinist repression remains imprinted on my mind. While his rise to world fame had more to do with Khruschev doing a demolition job against his predecessor Stalin, there is no doubt that he communicated an elemental truth about the human spirit: it cannot be broken by the environment around it, but only by the person who holds it.

However, much like the heroes who struggled against dictatorship, his aura was more powerful only in opposition to repression. This is a maxim that revolutionaries must heed --- the dialectic must be preserved in order to have a stronger whole. In other words, there are no true victories and resolutions, only true passions.

These are waning days indeed, of the glories and the infamies of the 20th century. The generation that waged two wars to define the right of all peoples to self-determination is now exiting the world stage. And now, we their pampered successors, weaned on cheap drugs, television, free love, and a sense of entitlement, have much to do to make this world a better place.

The Baby Boomers had their chance and squandered it. I hope Gen X doesn't make the same mistake.

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