I was in Junior High (this was prior to the "middle" school craze) when I first learned of the writings of a very bitter man that had been victimized by his own country’s government. I had no idea that this former inmate of the Gulag had written One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich for me to read and learn things about the Soviet Union that neither the US State Department nor the main stream media wanted me to know.
After devouring this slim book, I became acutely interested in learning more about the Soviet system and Communism itself and became an amateur russophile. All of this new found knowledge dovetailed completely with Reagan’s calling out of the "Evil Empire", ending the moral equvocations of the Left and helping form the basis from my beliefs in what government can and should be and what it cannot and should not be.
Solzhenitsyn was exiled from the USSR and chose to live in the US in a place that reminded him much of his home, Vermont. During his time in this country he made several critical comments, which at the time were panned and looked down upon as rude and impolite. In his commencement address at Harvard in 1978, Solzhenitsyn attacked what he saw as a rising tide of
spiritual decay and materialism in the West, which seemed to be losing the will to defend itself and the moral principals that made it great. Viewed through today’s lens, one can certainly see the prophetic traits of that made Solzhenitsyn a respected commentator, not to just his own country and ours but to the world over.
It can only be hoped that when governments rise above the people they should serve, men like Aleksadr Solzhenitsyn will be ready to tell the rest of us the truth.
As for his life as a social critic, this Russian proverb says it best:
An enemy will agree, but a friend will argue.
(spasibo) Thank you!