We Suffer Today Because of Past Warnings Unheeded

How many prophets has the West rejected, to its own detriment?

The good news is that God will always raise up prophets, especially in dark times. The bad news is that these prophets usually are rejected, and their warnings go unheeded. Once such prophetic voice to the West last century was the noted Soviet dissident and writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008). I discuss his life and work in more detail here: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2008/08/04/the-passing-of-a-prophet-vale-solzhenitsyn/

He had spent a decade in the Soviet gulag just after WWII, which he described in chilling detail in his three-volume masterwork, The Gulag Archipelago (1973-1978). He was expelled from the Soviet Union in February 1974. While in the West he sought to sound the alarm, to wake the West up to the threats it faced, but with limited success.

For example, he famously gave a commencement address at Harvard University on June 8, 1978. That year Harper & Row published it as a paperback entitled A World Split Apart. In it he argued that a demoralised and post-Christian West was no match for, and not much better than, atheistic communism. See my writeup about the speech – and quotes from it – here: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2018/06/09/harvard-solzhenitsyn-and-truth/

He of course made other such warnings to Western audiences. One short collection of his speeches and interviews is found in Warning to the West (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1975, 1976). It contains three speeches he gave in the US in June and July 1975, and a radio talk and interview he gave in England in March 1976. All five pieces are worth quoting from, but let me highlight three of them. In a speech delivered in New York he said this:

Communism is as crude an attempt to explain society and the individual as if a surgeon were to perform his delicate operations with a meat ax. All that is subtle in human psychology and in the structure of society (which is even more complex), all of this is reduced to crude economic processes. This whole created being—man-—is reduced to matter. It is characteristic that Communism is so devoid of arguments that it has none to advance against its opponents in our Communist countries. It lacks arguments and hence there is the club, the prison, the concentration camp, and insane asylums with forced confinement. Marxism has always opposed freedom. (pp. 56-57)

And a short quote from the middle of his speech should seem quite familiar to us today with what the radical left is up to: “All of the Communist Parties, upon attaining power, have become completely merciless. But at the stage before they achieve power, it is necessary to use disguises.” (p. 66)

One further quote from this talk: “The Communist ideology is to destroy your social order. This has been their aim for 125 years and it has never changed; only the methods have changed a little. When there is détente, peaceful co-existence, and trade, they will still insist: the ideological war must continue! And what is ideological war? It is a concentration of hatred, a continued repetition of the oath to destroy the Western world.” (p. 72)

Image of Warning to the West
Warning to the West by Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr (Author) Amazon logo

In a BBC interview he sought to dispel a few myths about himself with this stinging rebuke:

Mediocre journalists simply make headlines of their conclusions, which suddenly become generally accepted. You have just enumerated several propositions and practically all of them are not true. First, I am not a critic of the West. I repeat that for nearly all our lives we worshipped the West—note the word “worshipped.” We did not admire it, we worshipped it. I am not a critic of the West. I am a critic of the weakness of the West. I am a critic of a fact which we can’t comprehend: how one can lose one’s spiritual strength, one’s will power and, possessing freedom, not value it, not be willing to make sacrifices for it. (p. 106)

And again:

Opposition has remained, but I have already said many times that our movement of opposition and spiritual revival, like any spiritual process, is slow. But your capitulations, like all political processes, move very quickly. The speed of your capitulations has so rapidly overtaken the pace of our moral regeneration that at the moment the Soviet Union can only move along one path: the flourishing of totalitarianism. It would be more appropriate if it were not you asking me which way Russia—or rather, the Soviet Union (let us not get the two mixed)—will go, but if I were to ask you which way the West is going. Because at the moment the question is not how the Soviet Union will find a way out of totalitarianism but how the West will be able to avoid the same fate. How will the West be able to withstand the unprecedented force of totalitarianism? That is the problem. (pp. 108-109)

In a BBC radio address, he said this in part:

Forty years earlier Dostoevsky had predicted that socialism would cost Russia 100 million victims. At the time it seemed an improbable figure. Let me ask the British press to acquaint its readers with the impartial three- page report of the Russian statistician Professor Ivan Kurganov. It was published in the West twelve years ago, but, as is so often the case with matters of social significance, we only notice things that are not contradictory to our own feelings. From Professor Kurganov’s analysis, we learn that if Dostoevsky erred, he erred on the side of understatement. From 1917 to 1959 socialism cost the Soviet Union 110 million lives! (pp. 128-129)

And lastly, these strong words to his listening audience:

However hidden it may be from human gaze, however unexpected for the practical mind, there is sometimes a direct link between the evil we cause to others and the evil which suddenly confronts us. Pragmatists may explain this link as a chain of natural cause and effect. But those who are more inclined to a religious view of life will immediately perceive a link between sin and punishment. It can be seen in the history of every country. Today’s generation has had to pay for the shortcomings of their fathers and grandfathers, who blocked their ears to the lamentations of the world and closed their eyes to its miseries and disasters.


Your newspapers may be famous for their traditions, but they print a number of articles containing analyses and commentaries which are shamefully shallow and shortsighted. What can one say when your leading liberal paper compares the contemporary development of the Russian spiritual regeneration with pigs trying to fly? This is not just contempt for the spiritual potential of my people. It’s broader than that. It’s a kind of fastidious contempt for any kind of spiritual regeneration, for anything which does not stem directly from economics but which is based on moral criteria. What an inglorious end to four hundred years of materialism! The decline of contemporary thought has been hastened by the misty phantom of socialism. Socialism has created the illusion of quenching people’s thirst for justice: Socialism has lulled their conscience into thinking that the steamroller which is about to flatten them is a blessing in disguise, a salvation. And socialism, more than anything else, has caused public hypocrisy to thrive; it has enabled Europe to ignore the annihilation of 66 million people on its very borders.


There is not even a single precise definition of socialism that is generally recognized: all we have is a sort of hazy shimmering concept of something good, something noble, so that two socialists talking to each other about socialism might just as well be talking about completely different things. And, of course, any new-style African dictator can call himself a socialist without fear of contradiction.


But socialism defies logic. You see, it is an emotional impulse, a kind of worldly religion, and nobody has the slightest need to study or even to read the teachings of its early prophets. Their books are judged by hearsay; their conclusions are accepted ready-made. Socialism is defended with a passionate lack of reason; it is never analyzed; it’s proof against all criticism. Socialism, especially Marxist socialism, uses the neat device of declaring all serious criticism “outside the framework of possible discussion”; and one is required to accept 95 percent of socialist doctrine as a “basis for discussion”—all that is left to argue about is the remaining 5 percent. (pp. 140-142)

A necessary afterword

Some folks might be asking at this point: ‘The Berlin Wall fell in 1989, so why still carry on about Communism?’ Well, the wall may have come crashing down back then, but Marxist ideology and practice is still alive and well all around the world. And it is not just in places like Communist China, but in most Western university campuses, media outlets, and globalist bodies. So the threat remains, and the need to sound the alarm remains as well.

The warnings given by Solzhenitsyn 50 years ago are still just as relevant as ever. Had we taken them much more seriously back then, perhaps the West would not be in such a bad way today. So I for one will keep on sounding the alarm as well, hoping some at least will wake up before it is too late.

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8 Replies to “We Suffer Today Because of Past Warnings Unheeded”

  1. Your continued return to the ideas of people like Solzhenitsyn and Francis Schaeffer is to be applauded. How can the West (especially Australia) have been fooled by the Marxist and socialist lies that now come from every ‘intellectual’ corner, especially the universities? Paul was correct in Romans 1:22: ‘thinking themselves wise, they became fools’.
    And now we are forced to suffer under ‘Trot’ Albanese and his mindless minions, who are destroying our economy, especially with their ‘climate change’ idiocy and false ideology. It is amazing that one man (Blowhard Bowen) has the capacity to cripple Australia’s standard of living – but he’s doing it.
    The other more evil group is the Green Party, who are now openly espousing communist rhetoric and may be part of a future government unless conservative people wake up to the truths that you write in this article.
    Being an oldie, I am far more concerned about my children and, especially, my grandchildren. Like the (few) survivors of D-Day, I am amazed that Australian culture and values have fallen so far, so quickly.
    We are becoming the Argentina of our region.

  2. “the steamroller which is about to flatten them is a blessing in disguise, a salvation.”
    Maybe that’s where I got my “cannonball to kill a mosquito” phrase.
    The mosquito will be quite dead, but the collateral damage is far more extensive.

  3. I remember watching a grainy (film to NTSC to PAL) lecture given by an ex-Soviet KGB officer from high up in their rankings who outlined the long game strategy of Communists to infiltrate and poison the worlds political and bureaucratical systems or pillars. The utilisation of useful idiots (gays for Palestine is a good example of the type) to white ant institutions and governments only to be the first ones to be executed when a government is toppled. People capable of treason and betrayal must go first. It was a detailed and rather lengthy in depth presentation. Of the many things that were targeted was religion and family. The State is God. I could not watch the entire thing as it did drone on and on. I was also blessed at High School to study Animal Farm in English = I still reference it = and during the same period of time read the works of Solzenitsyn. (this actually confounded my parents – Solzenitsyn at that age!!). When I became a Christian my favourite books were the prophets of the OT and how their words went unheeded at the time and then were fulfilled several lifetimes later. These foundations enabled me to see/hear and understand the evolving patterns in the political arena. Politics was once an arena that would saw real Christians involved with turning the tide of the long term effects of things such as slavery, alcoholism, child labour etc. Politics was the coal face at which the Christian would toil. Now it is a disgusting cesspit that cycles every 3-4 years. Even when the group is Christian, factional and carnal tumours would form. (the trouble with multi-denominational cauldrons is the baggage that is brought into it – sweet bitter and sour does not mix well) I shall stop here. It is getting upsetting – The Lord pulled me out of politics to protect my mental health.

  4. Thanks Peter. Yes politics, like everything else in a fallen world, can be upsetting. But we must be salt and light in all areas. Thankfully Wilberforce for example did not pull out of politics. We must keep fighting the good fight in all of society.

  5. People lament about the Greens and Labor and what is happening to our country. The problem is that the damage was done decades ago. An ideology was allowed to fester and grow because it was small and not considered significant enough. The political and ideological processes that have undermined this country for decades have all the earmarks of a disease that has been left untreated. We are now at a stage, an inconceivable stage, where the remedy is akin to amputating a diseased limb. However, this will not happen. Society has become so soporific that any mention of some action that will be painful is blissfully dismissed. A glassy eyed chill out bro meets those who want to correct the course we have taken. Lamenting without doing is useless. The alternative that has often occurred throughout history is the ring kissing of a new regime that promises change and milk and honey (some levity – my PC spell corrected this as horny) for all. Gen 3:3-6 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
    When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

  6. While communists have been involved in American education system for 100 years now, probably more, I wouldn’t be surprised if in the late 70’s and in the 80’s the Soviet’s saw the writing on the wall and sent people to the US to accelerate the socialist/communist education of students. After all rats often leave a sinking ship. Many times these destabilizers go from country to country to spread their false gospel. (They go in cause trouble live high on the hog then right before things collapse they leave so as to not suffer the consequences of their actions.) And we have seen the last two generations here, Y and Z, FAR more radical and FAR more socialist/communist than even my generation, X, or the boomers who were in their youth quite infatuated with the Soviet Union and communism.

    I warned the group i was part of in 2016, a internet group but several people in it who could have done something, that if we squandered our reprieve with Trump we would get even worse punishment then if the US simply elected Hilary. That we needed to have SUSTAINED D-day style offensives during his presidency [rallies, open air preaching, protests (peaceful), marches on city halls and state capitals and DC, and go neighborhood to neighborhood town to town state to state] and if we just rolled over and said wake me in 4 years to re-elect him it would make our judgment worse. I said better to elect Hilary and get it over with than squander our reprieve and get an even worse judgment. I don’t think anyone listened to me.

    I warn people of the judgment that is coming but I don’t think people listen. It makes you sometimes wonder why you warn people when they ignore you as if you were invisible. I sometimes feel I could shout in the ear with a bull horn and they still wouldn’t hear me. It can be disheartening. I don’t call myself a prophet I’m just an ordinary schmuck but still being Christian you’d think my brothers and sisters in Christ would listen.

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