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S. 754 / H.R. 2029

Privacy and Control: CISA

CISA was reintroduced and passed -- secretly buried in a 2000 page budget bill.

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Solzhenitsyn, pt. 2

This is the second part of our collection of favorite insights from Alexander Solzhenitsyn's 1978 Harvard commencement address. The Nobel winner, expelled from Russia for his critique of the Soviet system, here decries the moral weakening of the West.


by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

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Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Continued from last week, here are our favorite quotes from this powerful speech, even more relevant thirty-five years later. See the Loyal 9 Library page for link to video of full speech.

THE DIRECTION OF FREEDOM
. . . A statesman who wants to achieve something important and highly constructive for his country has to move cautiously and even timidly. . . Actually an outstanding and particularly gifted person who has unusual and unexpected initiatives in mind hardly gets a chance to assert himself; from the very beginning, dozens of traps will be set out for him. Thus mediocrity triumphs with the excuse of restrictions imposed by democracy.
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Destructive and irresponsible freedom has been granted boundless space. Society appears to have little defense against the abyss of human decadence, such as, for example, misuse of liberty for moral violence against young people, motion pictures full of pornography, crime and horror. It is considered to be part of freedom and theoretically counter-balanced by the young people's right not to look or not to accept. Life organized legalistically has thus shown its inability to defend itself against the corrosion of evil.

THE DIRECTION OF THE PRESS
. . . Hastiness and superficiality are the psychic disease of the 20th century and more than anywhere else this disease is reflected in the press. In-depth analysis of a problem is anathema to the press. It stops at sensational formulas.
. . . . . . . . . . . .
There is yet another surprise for someone coming from the East where the press is rigorously unified: one gradually discovers a common trend of preferences within the Western press as a whole. It is a fashion; there are generally accepted patterns of judgment and there may be common corporate interests, the sum effect being not competition but unification. Enormous freedom exists for the press, but not for the readership because newspapers mostly give enough stress and emphasis to those opinions which do not too openly contradict their own and the general trend.

SOCIALISM
. . . I hope that no one present will suspect me of offering my personal criticism of the Western system to present socialism as an alternative. Having experienced applied socialism in a country where the alternative has been realized, I certainly will not speak for it. The well-known Soviet mathematician Shafarevich, a member of the Soviet Academy of Science, has written a brilliant book under the title Socialism; it is a profound analysis showing that socialism of any type and shade leads to a total destruction of the human spirit and to a leveling of mankind into death.

[BUT THE WEST IS] NO LONGER A MODEL
But should someone ask me whether I would indicate the West such as it is today as a model to my country, frankly I would have to answer negatively.
. . . . . . . . . . . .
A fact which cannot be disputed is the weakening of human beings in the West while in the East they are becoming firmer and stronger. Six decades for our people and three decades for the people of Eastern Europe; during that time we have been through a spiritual training far in advance of Western experience. Life's complexity and mortal weight have produced stronger, deeper and more interesting characters than those produced by standardized Western well-being. . . . After the suffering of decades of violence and oppression, the human soul longs for things higher, warmer and purer than those offered by today's mass living habits, introduced by the revolting invasion of publicity, by TV stupor and by intolerable music.
. . . . . . . . . . . .
There are meaningful warnings that history gives a threatened or perishing society. Such are, for instance, the decadence of art, or a lack of great statesmen. There are open and evident warnings, too. The center of your democracy and of your culture is left without electric power for a few hours only, and all of a sudden crowds of American citizens start looting and creating havoc. The smooth surface film must be very thin, then, the social system quite unstable and unhealthy.

But the fight for our planet, physical and spiritual, a fight of cosmic proportions, is not a vague matter of the future; it has already started. The forces of Evil have begun their decisive offensive . . .




Comments






Josh
UT
24 May 2013
at 10:56AM

Amazing how timely these thoughts are about weak and corrupt civil servants. From the past few days of testimony from IRS leadership: "I don't know." "I don't remember." "I'm not familiar with that detail." "It's not my precise area." "I'm not familiar with that letter."


Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains.

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