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Moral Relativism and Fall: Solzhenitsyn's Forgotten Warning to America

Moral Relativism and Fall: Solzhenitsyn's Forgotten Warning to America

by D.L. Adams
June 1, 2011

It is not understood definitively anywhere when the decline came. What is understood and easily seen is that we are a culture and society in deep trouble. There are proofs and evidence everywhere for those who care to look for such things.

We were warned by one of the greatest men of the 20th century that our civilization would fall if we lost our core beliefs and our identity.

Description: http://bigpeace.com/files/2011/05/alexander-solzhenitsyn.jpg Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Soviet prisoner of conscience, author of Gulag Archipelago, and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch, a titan of moral clarity warned us about the coming failure of our society back in 1978 in a speech given at Harvard University. We didn't listen.

Equivalence is the essence of moral relativism; the jihad murders at Fort Hood were allowed to occur because Hasan's expressions of jihad intent, intolerance, and hate were viewed by his superiors and colleagues as simply "his opinion." No action was taken against Hasan to prevent the atrocities because to do so was considered politically incorrect by his military superiors. Fort Hood is a devastating failure of understanding and demonstrates our deep inability to respond to oppositional definitiveness even when that absolutism means treason and murderous intent.

There seems little doubt that the attack at Fort Hood by the traitor, killer, jihadist Hasan was preventable. The fact that it was not shows a great confusion on the part of those whose positions require moral and ethical certainty, clarity, and courage. Their apparent confusion (and subsequent failure to act) stems from the dark influence of moral relativism and its fraudulent affiliated concepts, multiculturalism and political correctness.

If we have no standards of belief, no accepted concepts of truth and value, then any new ideology that reaches our shores is considered by moral relativists to be as valid as the host culture and perhaps even superior simply because it is "different". The radical acceptance of all as equal which is foundational to practically applied moral relativism means that moral relativists have no basis upon which to make moral or ethical judgments.

Cultural and societal decline is certain when fundamental concepts of value and importance are abandoned, and the conflicts that arise from better/worse, good/rotten, intelligent/ignorant, victim/oppressor, right/wrong dichotomies can no longer be resolved .

The fact that moral relativism, multiculturalism, and political correctness are failures hasn't prevented us from adopting these self-destructive concepts as the basis upon which we interact with others, at home and abroad. The failure to prevent the jihad treason murders at Fort Hood is perhaps the most obscene and obvious culmination of the damage that moral relativism has done to us all.

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines moral relativism as something that one accuses another of, rather than something to which one proudly admits. Reasonable people know that some cultures, ideologies, and political systems are better than others, but most now lack the courage and clarity to declare it.

Most often it is associated with an empirical thesis that there are deep and widespread moral disagreements and a metaethical thesis that the truth or justification of moral judgments is not absolute, but relative to some group of persons. Sometimes 'Moral Relativism' is connected with a normative position about how we ought to think about or act towards those with whom we morally disagree, most commonly that we should tolerate them. (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Solzhenitsyn's 1978 "A World Split Apart" speech at Harvard was both an appreciation of and a warning to the West that rejection of definitive truths will lead to our decline and eventual fall. He identified the abandonment of the concept of evil and the rise of "humanism" that today is moral relativism and post-modernism as the cracked egg from which failed cultures are born.

Such a tilt of freedom in the direction of evil has come about gradually but it was evidently born primarily out of a humanistic and benevolent concept according to which there is no evil inherent to human nature; the world belongs to mankind and all the defects of life are caused by wrong social systems which must be corrected. (Solzhenitsyn, "A World Split Apart," 1978)

Without a firm concept of identity and a clear understanding of and belief in concepts of right and wrong, good and evil and the ability to resolve similar dichotomies our society will fall to more absolutist ideas. We will fall because we lack the moral willpower to resist.

And yet - no weapons, no matter how powerful, can help the West until it overcomes its loss of willpower. In a state of psychological weakness, weapons become a burden for the capitulating side. To defend oneself, one must also be ready to die; there is little such readiness in a society raised in the cult of material well-being. Nothing is left, then, but concessions, attempts to gain time and betrayal. (Solzhenitsyn, "A World Split Apart," 1978)

We saw with great pride a rush of enlistments after the jihad attacks of 9/11. Concomitantly, the greatest surge of conversions to Islam in the United States occurred immediately in the wake of the 9/11 atrocities.

Facing such a danger, with such historical values in your past, at such a high level of realization of freedom and apparently of devotion to freedom, how is it possible to lose to such an extent the will to defend oneself? (Solzhenitsyn, "A World Split Apart," 1978)

Solzhenitsyn believed that moral growth was imperative for any healthy society. The existence of and adherence to a legal system is insufficient; the law is not itself the source of meaning and value. As a former prisoner of the Soviet Gulags Solzhenitsyn knew well of what he spoke.

Societies require laws because of the imperfection of humanity; if we were perfect would laws be necessary? We are not perfect, but adherence to law alone is insufficient to sustain a society and is no foundation upon which societal health and growth can be constructed. Materialism and legality is not enough especially if the laws themselves are founded upon morally and ethically flawed concepts (as they were in the Soviet system).

We must have a firm foundation in morality and ethics - a foundation that has been, in large part, abandoned. We cannot say that we were not warned.

It has to be the fulfillment of a permanent, earnest duty so that one's life journey may become an experience of moral growth; so that one may leave life a better human being than one started it. It is imperative to review the table of widespread human values. Its present incorrectness is astounding.

A society which is based on the letter of the law and never reaches any higher is taking very scarce advantage of the high level of human possibilities. The letter of the law is too cold and formal to have a beneficial influence on society. Whenever the tissue of life is woven of legalistic relations, there is an atmosphere of moral mediocrity, paralyzing man's noblest impulses.

And it will be simply impossible to stand through the trials of this threatening century with only the support of a legalistic structure. (Solzhenitsyn, "A World Split Apart," 1978)

The rise of moral relativism whereby equivalence and mediocrity (or outright evil) trumps value and quality continues to be the grim reaper of our national life. It will soon eat us whole.

Every country, culture, religion and ideology are all the same to moral relativists who have no moral core, no concept of what it means to be an American and why it is important to defend America and the concepts of freedom and tolerance and liberty upon which it was founded.

We do not now see our own value in comparison to other cultures (and ideologies) because to make such a comparison that states that we are better is considered wrong, intolerant, and bigoted. Such comparisons are not allowed (in our politically correct self-censoring society) due to our embrace of multiculturalism and moral relativism. If we are then no better, and no worse, than any other country, culture, or ideology what can be the basis for defending ourselves from them?

We no longer can identify right/wrong, good/evil, etc. We can only embrace the concept of total inclusiveness; though this is an extraordinarily radical counter-historical and anti-human concept.

Our culture appears to have accepted the false premise that if we are but radically inclusive and uber-tolerant than all of our adversaries will love us because of our inclusiveness and tolerance. This ridiculous idea is a negation of the nature and history of humanity. We have constructed a broken Utopian fantasy-world based upon the denial of the nature of humanity.

Our legitimization of multiculturalism and moral relativism and acceptance of politically correct self-censorship that allows these fraudulent theories to flourish have had disastrous results - most particularly the death of innocents at places like Fort Hood (and on 9/11), and the ongoing decline of the greatest country ever seen on this planet, the United States of America. Though national leaders in Germany, France, and the United Kingdom have publicly stated that multiculturalism is a failure American leadership has been conspicuously silent.

We must aspire to greater things than the adherence to law alone (this is the core of Solzhenitsyn's warning). Our country with its freedoms, openness, and justice has long been the last safe haven in an often cruel and savage world. Where do those fleeing brutality and injustice, like Solzhenitsyn, go if the flame of liberty here is extinguished - where would we go?

Certainly, there must always be a place to go for succor and life for those who flee the horrors of the world - a place of decency, opportunity, and justice. We have the privilege to live in this place.

After the 1787 ratification of the Constitution Benjamin Franklin is said to have been approached by a woman who asked, ""Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?" Franklin replied, "A Republic, if you can keep it." We must make good the promise of Lincoln at Gettysburg that this nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal shall not perish from the earth.

We cannot say that our current difficulties are without context, impossible to understand, or cannot be resolved. Nobody can say that we haven't been warned. If we can accept that our failure to appreciate ourselves, and our country - and to appreciate the extraordinary character of America inherently and certainly as it is in comparison to other countries, cultures, and systems - has had disastrous consequences (and take action to repair the damage) then we can turn an important corner.

If, somehow, we cannot accept the truth; if we are no longer allowed to discuss evil and brutality and condemn them and those who live by such concepts, and we cannot any longer discriminate between what is good and what is not then Solzhenitsyn's warning will have failed, and so will we.


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