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"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."
Sir Winston Churchill

8.04.2008

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, RIP

It was said of Whittaker Chambers that he didn't return from Hell empty-handed. Solzhenitsyn came back with armfuls of the most powerful writing concerning the nature of evil imaginable.

I will never forget his description of a party meeting in "The Gulag Archipelago" where an apparatchik called out a toast to Stalin, whereupon everyone rose and began the mandatory standing ovation, which went on and on and on, every man afraid of being seen to be the first to stop applauding, hearts pumping furiously, palms stinging, foreheads sweating, until one brave military man granted them a reprieve by stopping. He wound up in the camps, of course.

This is to my mind the finest vignette ever related regarding the nature of totalitarian regimes. It was honed by a man who had firsthand experience of such things, who had given most of his life to the task of exposing such truths, and who has now died at 89, having long-outlived the regime he despised and most of its enablers.

May God have mercy upon him, and welcome him to the Eternal Presence.

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