Warning to the West
24 January 2014
 
 
I recently finished reading the physically-small yet morally-heavyweight book Warning to the West by the famous Soviet dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

This book consists of five speeches and interviews which Solzhenitsyn gave in America and England during 1975 and 1976. Throughout these hard-hitting messages, Solzhenitsyn persistently and passionately warns the West of the grave dangers of the totalitarian ideology of Communism and the looming moral collapse of the West.

What really struck me while reading this book was how applicable his warnings and insights are to Islam in our day. In fact, I was quite astonished by this unexpected correlation. But I guess I should not have been so surprised. The totalitarian ideology of Communism and the totalitarian ideology of Islam have a lot in common: a hatred for Western democracy, a hatred for Jews, a hatred for Christianity, and the goal of world domination and subjugation.

Unfortunately for twenty-first-century humanity, Islam is a much bigger threat than communism turned out to be. Why is that? Because Islam, although a totalitarian political ideology, mixes in religion and presents itself as such. This is a very dangerous and deadly combination. One translation of Blaise Pascal's famous saying in French goes like this: "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction."

So here is what I want you to do as you read the extracts from Mr. Solzhenitsyn's book below. Whenever you come across adjectives like Communist, Soviet, and Socialist, replace them with the word Islamic. When you come across words like Communism, Soviet Union, and Socialism, replace them with the word Islam. And when you encounter the nouns Communists, Soviets, and Socialists, replace them with the word Muslims.

When making this mental substitution of Islam for Communism in the following text, I got goose bumps on my skin and shivers down my spine! Mr. Solzhenitsyn's words are eerily and astonishingly prophetic, and it would be to our own detriment to not take to heart his warning to the West. He may have been wrong about the ultimate victory of Communism, but he was right on target in foreseeing the ultimate victory of totalitarianism — for the Islamic Antichrist is coming and Islam will win.
During the thirty years [after the Second World War], more was surrendered [by the victorious Western democracies] to totalitarianism than any defeated country has ever surrendered after any war in history. There was no war, but there might as well have been.... A very dangerous state of mind can arise as a result of these thirty years of retreat: give in as quickly as possible, give up as quickly as possible, peace and quiet at any cost....

At the present time it is widely accepted among lawyers that law is higher than morality — law is something which is shaped and developed, whereas morality is something inchoate and amorphous. This is not the case. The opposite is true: morality is higher than law! Law is our human attempt to embody in rules a part of that moral sphere which is above us. We try to understand this morality, bring it down to earth, and present it in the form of law. Sometimes we are more successful, sometimes less. Sometimes we have a mere caricature of morality, but morality is always higher than law. This view must never be abandoned. We must acknowledge it with our hearts and souls.

In the twentieth century it is almost a joke in the Western world to use words like "good" and "evil." They have become old-fashioned concepts, yet they are very real and genuine. These are concepts from a sphere which is above us. And instead of getting involved in base, petty, shortsighted political calculations and games we must recognize that a concentration of evil and a tremendous force of hatred is spreading throughout the world. We must stand up against it and not hasten to give, give, give, everything that it wants to swallow....

So let us try and see how far we can go to stop this senseless and immoral process of endless concessions to the aggressor, these slick legal arguments for giving up one country after another. Why must we hand over to totalitarianism more and more technology — complex, sophisticated technology which it needs for armaments and for oppressing its own citizens?

Is it possible or impossible to transmit the experience of those who have suffered to those who have yet to suffer? Can one part of humanity learn from the bitter experience of another or can it not? Is it possible or impossible to warn someone of danger? How many witnesses have been sent to the West in the last sixty years? They tell you exactly the same thing: they warn you of what is now taking place and of what has taken place in the past.... [But those in the West] say: "It will never happen here. This will never come to us. It is not possible here."

It can happen here. It is possible. As a Russian proverb says: "When it happens to you, you'll know it's true." But do we really have to wait for the moment when the knife is at our throat? Couldn't it be possible, ahead of time, to assess soberly the worldwide menace that threatens to swallow the whole world? I was swallowed myself. I have been in the dragon's belly, in its red-hot innards. It was unable to digest me and threw me up. I have come to you as a witness to what it is like there, in the dragon's belly.

It is astonishing that Communism has been writing about itself in the most open way, in black and white, for many years, and even more openly, more candidly in the beginning. The Communist Manifesto, for instance, which everyone knows by name, and which almost no one ever takes the trouble to read, contains even more terrible things than what has actually been done. It is perfectly amazing. The whole world can read, everyone is literate, yet somehow no one wants to understand. Humanity acts as if it does not understand what Communism is, as if it does not want to understand, is not capable of understanding.

I think it is not only a question of the disguises that Communism has assumed in the last decades. It is rather that the essence of Communism is quite beyond the limits of human understanding. It is hard to believe that people could actually plan such things and carry them out. And it is precisely because its essence is beyond comprehension, perhaps, that Communism is so difficult to understand.... But it is perhaps more important to discuss with you the ideology that inspired the system, created it, and still governs it. It is much more important to understand the essence, and above all the legacy, of this ideology which has not changed at all in all these years. It has not changed since the day it was created....

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, the insane asylums with forced confinement....

Communism has never concealed the fact that it rejects all absolute concepts of morality. It scoffs at any consideration of "good" and "evil" as indisputable categories.... Depending upon circumstances and the political situation, any act, including murder, even the killing of hundreds of thousands, could be good or could be bad. It all depends upon ... ideology. And who defines this ideology? A handful of people determine what is good and what is bad.

But I must say that in this very respect Communism has been most successful. It has infected the whole world with the belief in the relativity of good and evil. Today, many people apart from the Communists are carried away by this idea. Among progressive people, it is considered rather awkward to use seriously such words as "good" and "evil." Communism has managed to persuade all of us that these concepts are old-fashioned and laughable. But if we are to be deprived of the concepts of good and evil, what will be left? Nothing but the manipulation of one another. We will sink to the status of animals.... To reject this inhuman Communist ideology is simply to be a human being. Such a rejection is more than a political act. It is a protest of our souls against those who would have us forget the concepts of good and evil....

"Dialogue with Christianity?" For Communists a dialogue with Christianity! In the Soviet Union this dialogue was a simple matter: they used machine guns and revolvers.... 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.... Lord save us from such free elections!

Lenin [wrote]: "We cannot support the slogan 'Peace' since it is a totally muddled one and a hindrance to the revolutionary struggle." This is Communism's view of war. War is necessary. War is an instrument for achieving a goal.... They started to convoke peace congresses, to circulate petitions for peace; and the Western world fell for this deceit. But the goal, the ideology, remained the same: to destroy your system, to destroy the way of life known in the West....

When an open war is impossible, oppression can continue quietly behind the scenes. Terrorism. Guerrilla warfare, violence, prisons, concentration camps. I ask you: Is this peace? The true antipode of peace is violence. And those who want peace in the world should remove not only war from the world but also violence. If there is no open war but there is still violence, that is not peace.... As long as there is no limit to the use of violence, as long as nothing restrains it over this tremendous land mass (more than half of humanity), how can you consider yourselves secure? America and Europe together are not yet an island in the ocean — I won't go so far as to say that. But America together with Europe is now a minority, and the process is still continuing....

I understand that you love freedom, but in our crowded world you have to pay a tax for freedom. You cannot love freedom for yourselves alone and quietly agree to a situation where the majority of humanity, spread over the greater part of the globe, is subjected to violence and oppression. The Communist ideology is to destroy your social order. It has been their aim for many years and it has never changed; only the methods have changed a little.

When there is détente, peaceful co-existence, and trade, they [the Communists] 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. Just as in the Roman senate a famous speaker ended every speech with the statement: "Furthermore, Carthage must be destroyed," so today, with every act — détente, trade, or whatever — the Communist press, as well as thousands of speakers at closed lectures, all repeat: "Furthermore, [Western] capitalism must be destroyed."

And the people who sign these treaties with you now — these very men and no others — simultaneously give orders for persons to be confined in mental hospitals and prisons. Why should they be different toward you? Surely not out of love for you? Why should they act honorably and nobly toward you when they crush their own people? The advocates of détente have yet to explain this.... But the Western people will have to pay heavily for these overtrusting agreements....

Even if a chess player is able to win the game on the board, he forgets to raise his eyes, carried away as he is by the game; he forgets to look at his opponent and doesn't see that he has the eyes of a killer. And if this opponent cannot win the game on the board, he will take a club from behind his back and shatter the skull of our chess player, ending the game that way. Our very calculating chess player also forgets to raise his eyes to the barometer. It has fallen. He doesn't see that it's already dark outside, that clouds are gathering, that a hurricane is rising. That's what it means to be too self-confident in chess.

In addition to the grave political situation in the world today, we are also witnessing the emergence of a crisis of unknown nature, one completely new, and entirely non-political. We are approaching a major turning point in world history, in the history of civilization. It has already been noted by specialists in various areas. I could compare it only with the turning from the Middle Ages to the modern era, a shift in our civilization. It is a juncture at which settled concepts suddenly become hazy, lose their precise contours, at which our familiar and commonly used words lose their meaning, become empty shells, and methods which have been reliable for many centuries no longer work. It's the sort of turning point where the hierarchy of values which we have venerated, and which we use to determine what is important to us and what causes our hearts to beat is starting to rock and may collapse.

These two crises, the political crisis of today's world and the oncoming spiritual crisis, are occurring at the same time. It is our generation that will have to confront them. The leadership of your country, which is entering the third century of existence as a nation, will perhaps have to bear a burden greater than ever before in American history. Your leaders will need profound intuition, spiritual foresight, high qualities of mind and soul. May God grant that in those times you will have at the helm personalities as great as those who created your country....

The men who created your country never lost sight of their moral bearings. They did not laugh at the absolute nature of the concepts of "good" and "evil." Their practical policies were checked against that moral compass. And how surprising it is that a practical policy computed on the basis of moral considerations turned out to be the most farsighted and the most salutary. This is true even though in the short term one may wonder: Why all this morality? Let's just get on with the immediate job....

Yet, when one travels in your country and sees your free and independent life, all the dangers which I talked about today seem imaginary. I've talked to people, and I see this is so. In your wide-open spaces even I get a little infected, the dangers seem somehow unreal. On this continent it is hard to believe all the things which are happening in the world. But, ladies and gentlemen, this carefree life cannot continue in your country any more than in ours. The destinies of our two countries are going to be extremely difficult, and it is better to prepare for this beforehand.

I understand, I sense that you're tired. But you have not yet really suffered the terrible trials ... which have rained down on the [rest of the world]. You're tired, but not as tired as we are, crushed for many years. You're tired, but the Communists who want to destroy your system are not; they're not tired at all.... A concentration of world evil is taking place, full of hatred for humanity. It is fully determined to destroy your society. Must you wait until it comes to smash through your borders, until the young men of America have to fall defending the borders of their continent?

I'll give you an example of the clumsiness of the Soviet economy.... All heavy equipment, all complex and delicate technology, is purchased abroad. Then it must be an agricultural country? Not at all; it also has to buy grain. What then can [the Soviets] sell? What kind of economy is it? Can it sell anything which has been created by Communism? No! Only that which God put in the Soviet ground at the very beginning, that's what they squander and that's what they sell. When all that comes to an end, there won't be anything left to sell....

Before the revolution, we had in Russia, if not a cult of terror, then a fierce defense of terrorists. People in good positions — intellectuals, professors, liberals — spent a great deal of effort, anger, and indignation in defending terrorists....

I am not a critic of the West. I am a critic of the weakness of the West....

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....

Those people who have lived in the most terrible conditions, on the border between life and death, be it people from the West or from the East, all understand that between good and evil there is an irreconcilable contradiction, that it is not one and the same thing — good or evil — that one cannot build one's life without regard to this distinction. I am surprised that pragmatic philosophy consistently scorns moral considerations; and nowadays in the Western press we read a candid declaration of the principle that moral considerations have nothing to do with politics.

I would remind you that in 1939 England thought differently. If moral considerations were not applicable to politics, then it would be incomprehensible why England went to war with Hitler's Germany. Pragmatically, you could have gotten out of the situation, but England chose the moral course, and experienced and demonstrated to the world perhaps the most brilliant and heroic period in its history.

But today we have forgotten this; today the English political leaders state quite frankly that they not only recognize any [political] power over any territory regardless of its moral character but they even hasten to recognize it, even try to be the first to do so.... Tyrants, bandits, puppets have come to power, and pragmatic philosophy says: That doesn't matter, we have to recognize them. What is more, one should not consider that the great principles of freedom end at your own borders, that as long as you have freedom, let the rest have pragmatism. No! Freedom is indivisible and one has to take a moral attitude toward it....

To fight against untruth and falsehood, to fight against myths, or to fight against an ideology which is hostile to mankind, to fight for our memory, for our memory of what things were like — that is the task of the artist. A people which no longer remembers has lost its history and its soul.... I don't attack people, but this ideology. The spiritual renaissance of our country lies in our liberation from this deadening, killing ideology....

The West is on the verge of a collapse created by its own hands.... The West has chosen the wrong path of making concessions.... The most important aspect of détente today is that there is no ideological détente. You Westerners simply cannot grasp the power of Soviet propaganda.... What does the spirit of détente mean? What seems to you to be a milder atmosphere, a milder climate, is for us the strengthening of totalitarianism.... You think that this is a respite, but this is an imaginary respite, it's a respite before destruction.... Détente becomes self-deception, that's what it is all about....

Human nature is full of riddles and contradictions; its very complexity engenders art — and by art I mean the search for something more than simple linear formulations, flat solutions, oversimplified explanations. One of these ridddles is: how is it that people who have been crushed by the sheer weight of slavery and cast to the bottom of the pit can nevertheless find the strength to rise up and free themselves, first in spirit and then in body; while those who soar unhampered over the peaks of freedom suddenly lose the taste for freedom, lose the will to defend it, and, hopelessly confused and lost, almost begin to crave slavery.

Or again: why is it that societies which have been benumbed for half a century by lies they have been forced to swallow find within themselves a certain lucidity of heart and soul which enables them to see things in their true perspective and to perceive the real meaning of events; whereas societies with access to every kind of information suddenly plunge into lethargy, into a kind of mass blindness, a kind of voluntary self-deception.

This is precisely what we have found to be the correlation between the [diseased] spiritual development of the East and that of the West. And, alas, the process of your development is five, if not ten times swifter than ours. This is what almost robs mankind of any hope of avoiding a global catastrophe.... And yet, until I came to the West myself and spent two years looking around, I could never have imagined the extreme degree to which the West actually desired to blind itself to the world situation, the extreme degree to which the West had already become a world without a will, a world gradually petrifying in the face of the danger confronting it, a world oppressed above all by the need to defend its freedom.

There is a German proverb which runs Mut verloren — alles verloren: "When courage is lost, all is lost." There is another Latin one, according to which loss of reason is the true harbinger of destruction. But what happens to a society in which both these losses — the loss of courage and the loss of reason — intersect? This is the picture which I found the West presents today.

Of course, there is a perfectly simple explanation for this process. It is not the superficial one, so fashionable in our day, that man himself is irreproachable and everything is to be blamed on a badly organized society, but a purely human one. Once, it was proclaimed and accepted that above man there was no supreme being, but instead that man was the crowning glory of the universe and the measure of all things, and that man's needs, desires, and indeed his weaknesses were taken to be the supreme imperatives of the universe.

Consequently, the only good in the world — the only thing that needed to be done — was that which satisfied our feelings. It was several centuries ago in Europe that this philosophy was born; at the time, its materialistic excesses were explained away by the previous excesses of Catholicism. But in the course of several centuries this philosophy inexorably flooded the entire Western world, and gave it confidence for its colonial conquests, for the seizure of African and Asian slaves. And all this side by side with the outward manifestations of Christianity and the flowering of personal freedom....

We endured inhuman experiences which the Western world — and this includes Britain — has no real conception of and is frightened even to think about.... We contemplate the West from what will be your future.... adults deferring to the opinion of their children; the younger generation carried away by shallow, worthless ideas; professors scared of being unfashionable; journalists refusing to take responsibility for the words they squander so easily; universal sympathy for revolutionary extremists; people with serious objections unable or unwilling to voice them; the majority passively obsessed by a feeling of doom; feeble governments; societies whose defensive reactions have become paralyzed; spiritual confusion leading to political upheaval....

Unseemly deeds are usually accompanied by high-sounding, even brilliant justifications.... [But] a moral stance, even in politics, always safeguards our spirit; sometimes, as we can see, it even protects our very existence. A moral stance can suddenly turn out to be more farsighted than any calculated pragmatism....

When those millions of Soviet citizens dared to flee from their oppressors or even to initiate national liberation movements, then our freedom-loving Western allies — and not least among them you British — treacherously disarmed them, bound them, and handed them over to the Communists to be killed.... The most remarkable thing of all was that your free, independent, incorruptible press, your famous Times, Guardian, New Statesman, etc., all wittingly shared in the cover-up of this crime, and would have kept silent to this very day had not Professor Julius Epstein from America so tactlessly started his investigation into the fascist techniques that democracies are capable of employing. The conspiracy of the British press was only too successful: indeed, there must be many people in Britain today who have not the faintest idea about this crime committed at the end of the Second World War. But it was committed, and it has left a deep and painful mark on the Russian memory.

Twice we [Russians] helped save the freedom of Western Europe. And twice you repaid us by abandoning us to our slavery. It is clear what you wanted. Once again you wanted to extricate yourselves as quickly as possible from this terrible war; you wanted to rest, you wanted to prosper....

[Under] Terrorist International, not a single family driving to an airport can be sure that it won't be gunned down by some fighter for someone or other's freedom. No one can be sure that he'll get to the end of the street safe and sound. But terrorists can be sure: public opinion guarantees that their lives will be safe, that their cause will be given publicity, and that they will be held in decent confinement — that is, until other terrorists come and rescue them. A society for the protection of terrorists indeed! Meanwhile, the crevasse grows ever wider, spreads even farther across the globe, shifts into other continents....

And the British, with their great tradition of freedom, haven't the slightest anxiety over such petty matters. Even today you are lulled into thinking that these fine islands of yours will never be split in two by that crevasse, will never be blown sky-high. And yet the abyss is already there, beneath your very feet. Every year several more countries are seized and taken over as bridgeheads for the coming world war, and the whole world stands by and does nothing.

Even the oceans are being taken over, and need one tell you British what that means or what the seas will be used for? And what of Europe today? It is nothing more than a collection of cardboard stage sets, all bargaining with each other to see how little can be spent on defense in order to leave more for the comforts of life. The continent of Europe, with its centuries-long preparation for the task of leading mankind, has of its own accord abandoned its strength and its influence on world affairs — and not just its physical influence but its intellectual influence as well. Potentially important decisions, major movements, have now begun to mature beyond the borders of Europe. How strange it all is! Since when has mighty Europe needed outside help to defend herself? At one moment she had such an abundance of strength that, while waging wars within her own boundaries and destroying herself, she was still able to seize colonies. A moment later, she suddenly found herself hopelessly weak without having lost a single major war.

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.... 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!

Great Britain, the kernel of the Western world, has experienced this sapping of its strength and will to an even greater degree, perhaps, than any other country. For some twenty years Britain's voice has not been heard in our planet; its character has gone, its freshness has faded. And Britain's position in the world today is of less significance that that of Romania, or even ... Uganda. British common sense — so lucid, so universally acknowledged — seems to have failed her now. Contemporary society in Britain is living on self-deception and illusions, born in the world of politics and in the world of ideas. People build rickety structures to convince themselves that there IS no danger and that [Communism's] irrevocable advance is nothing more than the establishment of a stable world....

All of us are standing on the brink of a great historical cataclysm, a flood that swallows up civilization and changes whole epochs. The present world situation is complicated still more by the fact that several hours have struck simultaneously on the clock of history. We all must face up to a crisis — not just a social crisis, not just a political crisis, not just a military crisis — face up to it, but also stand firm in this great upheaval.... We have become hopelessly enmeshed in our slavish worship of all that is pleasant, all that is comfortable, all that is material — we worship things, we worship products.

Will we ever succeed in shaking off this burden, in giving free rein to the spirit that was breathed into us at birth, that spirit which distinguishes us from the animal world?
Thus ends this prophetic book, and thus ends our look at Solzhenitsyn's warning to the West. Our Islamic future is on the doorstep....
You can send comments to me privately at: shahid@yourislamicfuture.com
 
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Reader Comments
On April 14, 2015, Wolfy Ghalkhani wrote:
Wow. What a brave man, Solzhenitzen was. He told it like it was, shame people still aren't listening.