Solzhenitsyn and Alfie Evans

Well, it’s been a bit over a day since Alfie went home, and perhaps we can start to draw some lessons. For me, personally, it has been a long time since I have been called both ignorant and stupid, within two sentences. I found it rather funny, in truth, since I know what I believe and why. It has been built up over many years and does not change with the wind. And besides I understand that some Britons believe the state to be god, and the NHS its religion, so I’m an apostate. I’ve learned better, as has anybody that has studied American history.

Over Christmas in 2013, Jessica undertook to analyze in part Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s Commencement Address at Harvard in 1978. Applying it to Alfie’s ordeal is illuminating, I think. As Jess indicated, many expected it to be a paean to the west from a man who escaped from the Soviet system. It was anything but. He deplored the Soviet system, but he saw very clearly the flaws in the west, those cracks have widened considerably since 1978, and now threaten to tear us asunder.

In her post entitled The Exhausted West?, she quoted this:

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, the 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 counterbalanced 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.

It’s a theme we hit hard and often here, libertinism opposed to liberty with its duties.

The West was, he said, ‘spiritually exhausted’. 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.’

The origin of this decadence lay, Solzhenitsyn suggested, in the anthropocentric views of man’s destiny which came in with the secular thinking of the Enlightenment. Man was at the centre of all things, and the ends for which he was meant were material ones:

As an aside, I believe and Melanie Phillips wrote convincingly that:

Some of this hostility is being driven by the perceived threat from Islamic terrorism and the Islamisation of Western culture. However, this animus against religion has far deeper roots and can be traced back to what is considered the birthplace of Western reason, the 18th-century Enlightenment.

Actually, it goes back specifically to the French Enlightenment. In England and Scotland, the Enlightenment developed reason and political liberty within the framework of Biblical belief. In France, by contrast, anti-clericalism morphed into fundamental hostility to Christianity and to religion itself.

“Ecrasez l’infame,” said Voltaire (crush infamy) — the infamy to which he referred being not just the Church but Christianity, which he wanted to replace with the religion of reason, virtue and liberty, “drawn from the bosom of nature”.

Returning to Jessica’s point.

Everything beyond physical well-being and accumulation of material goods, all other human requirements and characteristics of a subtler and higher nature, were left outside the area of attention of state and social systems, as if human life did not have any superior sense. That provided access for evil, of which in our day there is a free and constant flow. Mere freedom does not in the least solve all the problems of human life and it even adds a number of new ones. 

All very very true, and phrased better than I could have then or can now. In her next post, Light from the East?, she continued the thinking with this:

in early democracies, as in American democracy at the time of its birth, all individual human rights were granted because man is God’s creature. That is, freedom was given to the individual conditionally, in the assumption of his constant religious responsibility.

When America’s Founding Fathers separated Church and State they did not do so because they were atheists or thought Christianity wrong, they did so because they did not want one Church to dominate in their society; they do, indeed, seem to have assumed that man would be bound by the responsibilities which the Christian faith laid upon him; realists, they did not think man would always live up to these, but they did not see freedom as license; can we now say that of ourselves and our leaders? What is it which binds us? […]

Solzhenitsyn’s critique is a Christian one:

There is a disaster, however, that has already been under way for quite some time. I am referring to the calamity of a despiritualized and irreligious humanistic consciousness.

Of such consciousness man is the touchstone, in judging everything on earth. Imperfect man, who is never free of pride, self-interest, envy, vanity, and dozens of other defects. We are now experiencing the consequences of mistakes that were not noticed at the beginning of the journey. On the way from the Renaissance to our day we have enriched our experience, but we have lost the concept of a Supreme Complete Entity, which used to restrain our passions and our irresponsibility.

I doubt that I am the only one to see this applying to the NHS certainly, but also to the lawyers, and judges of the British legal system. My question for them is this, “What besides self-pride, drove you to remove Alfie’s parent’s God-given responsibility for their son, even to prevent them from choosing another caregiver, futile though it may well have been. What were they so afraid of that they were willing to risk a storm from Europe, especially Italy and Poland,  and the United States? I think it was exactly that exacerbated by the fact that the Italian hospital is supported by the Vatican. How shameful if Christians could help this little boy when the minor god-emperors of the NHS could not. Remember this is the health care system that was hubristic enough to proclaim themselves, at the 2012 Olympic games, as the best in the world. While providing 2d world, at best, care to their inmates.

For a true understanding of man’s real destiny, God is essential:

If humanism were right in declaring that man is born only to be happy, he would not be born to die. Since his body is doomed to die, his task on earth evidently must be of a more spiritual nature.

But if we refuse to recognise this, or think it of no importance, then we shan’t see any reasons for exercising any self-restraint save for that imposed by the law – and if the law is the only guide we have, then we have become a society without a spirit of self-sacrifice or restraint:

People in the West have acquired considerable skill in using, interpreting, and manipulating law. Any conflict is solved according to the letter of the law, and this is considered to be the supreme solution. If one is right from a legal point of view, nothing more is required. Nobody may mention that one could still not be entirely right, and urge self-restraint, a willingness to renounce such legal rights, sacrifice, and selfless risk: it would sound simply absurd. One almost never sees voluntary self-restraint. Everybody operates at the extreme limit of those legal frames. 

And that is the root of the decadence in our societies, and why they will not last as they are. How they will change, is not in sight, perhaps they will reform, under duress, as they have before, perhaps our societies will be subsumed in Islam, perhaps something else, but what cannot continue, won’t. And that is the lesson Alfie has for us.



About NEO
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17 Responses to Solzhenitsyn and Alfie Evans

  1. bydesign001 says:

    Excellent post.

    It is that time of the year when my grandson’s grandparents and family members on his mother’s side travels to the United States. During each visit, we engage on various subjects. Like the grandmother (on Josiah’s mother’s side) who is from Jamaica, all will swear on the UK’s socialized healthcare to the point that it is absolutely futile trying to reason with these people.

    Why do they praise Britain’s healthcare? Because it is free and because it is not their loved ones (yet) being denied health care under threat from their country’s beloved death panels.

    And we don’t even want to discuss Obamacare. Free stuff, free stuff, free stuff. To them death panels are what happens to other people. Clueless and even though they are aware that God alone has the power to bring us through such times, all have put their faith in man aka the government rather than the Lord above.

    Putting all of the above into perspective, I am absolutely heartbroken about the fate meted out to Alfie Evans and his loved ones at the hands of a ruling class that would, if in a similar crisis, never deny their children the opportunity to receive medical care that might prolong their lives.

    This is evil at its worse.

    Liked by 2 people

    • NEO says:

      As am I, something about this story just won’t let go – I suspect part of it is the crude override of the parent’s rights, and the matter of fact starving to death of this baby.

      And yeah, ‘free’ at point of use – they pay a hell of a lot of taxes for it, and get lousy care because of it. We may have dodged a bullet, but too many in Washington still only seek government power.

      It didn’t help when I read this morning:

      “Forcing 23 month-old Alfie Evans to die by starvation “is not killing,” Dr. Ranj Singh argued on U.K.’s “This Morning” ITV program Friday, Express reports.

      Withdrawing life-support and refusing to allow Alfie’s parents to take him home, feed and care for him, is, instead merely “redirecting care,” Dr. Singh said:

      “This is not the killing of a child – this is redirecting care to make them more comfortable.”

      In Alfie’s case, redirecting care to make him “more comfortable” means denying him food, water and life support. Dr. Singh doubled down on his claim, framing the withdrawal of life support as a way to make patients more comfortable and give them “the most dignifying life”:”

      What a crock. But this is Britain’s actual state religion.


    • the unit says:

      “…if in a similar crisis, never deny…”. Think not? Maybe not. I wonder… can we imagine the magnitude of “evil”?
      Ever had a aquarium of Guppies? Yuppies in charge now and about the same. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • NEO says:

        Quite so! 🙂


  2. Scoop says:

    Indeed so, and a fine post, NEO.

    Additionally I found myself thinking about the ‘comedy routine’ of Michelle Wolf at the Whitehouse Correspondence Dinner yesterday and how banal, sophomoric and perverted the whole routine was . . . and these supposed, intelligent grownups had the audacity to laugh at the slop that she served up. It was like the first time I heard the ‘banned’ Lenny Bruce. I kept saying to myself what is he saying that is considered funny? Nothing. Give me Red Skelton any day; he was a funny man. But being gross and trying to be as raunchy as one can get away with is not in itself funny; it is merely what it is: slime.

    I cannot imaging my mother or father listening to such stuff when I was growing up and now this is standard fare from the likes of the Hollywood, corporate and political elites. Our movies, even if they have an interesting plot, are often plagued with this sophomoric, gutter language and the compulsory sex scenes or gay sex scenes. It is considered ‘politically relevant’ I suppose.

    Indeed, man needs to find self-restraint and try to teach their children that life is more than cheap laughs and cheap thrills or trying to out-gross the last perverse sensation. We have a higher destiny than that and it would be wise if we started to believe it again rather than wallow in the sty with the swine.

    Liked by 2 people

    • NEO says:

      I couldn’t agree more Scoop, it is plain common sense, usually phrased along the line of “Lie down with dogs…. Probably not applicable to our pets though. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Scoop says:

        Yes you are right.

        As to Alfie Evans I was rather taken aback at the reaction of our UK friend whom I genuinely like and read as time permits. But it does go to show how ‘loyal’ they are to their bureaucratic machines; no skepticism and no doubt. They accept it at face value and discount any words to the contrary. It is like a religion; you were quite right in stating it as such.

        Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          That’s the real reason for what I said as well, she is an old and good friend, who truly is pro-life. We all have our blind spots, and I saw no reason to be overhard on her, since I doubt there is anything we can write that would penetrate.

          There’s a bit of it in C as well, although on Brexit, his Twitter feed on this could have been American, even to liking my retweet of Mundabor, but then he’s been a few rounds with the NHS, especially with Jess’ cancer.

          Seeing the beast up close makes a difference.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Scoop says:

          That is true. But it seems to go against human nature for any parent to object to people who stand up for parental rights against the state. Since when is that a bad thing?

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Does to me as well, especially for a Christian, since the family comes directly from God, the state, even the church, come later. It’s not, it’s the way things are supposed to be.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Scoop says:

          I agree. Talk about backasswards!


  3. the unit says:

    Yeah well OK, the “Enlightenment” brought us “Supermen”, huh?
    You know, one was the guy who said “in the long run, we’re all dead.”
    Then there is the guy who said “when you’re dead, you don’t know you’re dead. All the pain is felt by others. The same thing happens when you’re stupid.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      There’s a bit more to it, but yeah! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. the unit says:

    Wasn’t a good week past for our usual Week in Pictures fun.
    But anyway saw this, this Sunday morn. Had to do with the guy whose not their president.
    Read a freakin’ article by Kevin Freking of AP. Yep, by Kevin Freking. Wanting to be sure it’s not fake news.
    He informed the reader that Michigan was an Upper Midwest state. Ole Boy down South, missing couple of teeth, wants to know if that’s so? Never taught what’s above the Mason-Dixon Line. And not even sure what taught was about what’s below it true anymore. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      No, I could have but it would have been almost all Alfie, and not very fun, Wasn’t a very good week to try to back off either, come to that.

      Nah, he’s wrong, the upper midwest starts with Wisconsin, some folks say Minnesota. Michigan is in the Old Northwest, that we won from Britain in the Revolution. That part of the country that fed you Southrons until the war. Should have tried it in 1850, you probably would have pulled it off. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Other stuff, mostly in Britain | nebraskaenergyobserver

  6. Reblogged this on Boudica2015.


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