The Gulag Archipelago, part two: A pillar of the state
By Charlotte Cerminaro
web posted February 27, 2017
There is a common misconception now that if we knew what the future held, including the consequences of our current actions, we would do whatever was necessary to protect that future. We would modify our behavior to avert disaster, enact laws to ensure security and take great care to prevent dangerous ideologies from gaining a foothold in our governing bodies and educational system.
But this is just theoretical. Despite common phrases like, “Hindsight is always 20/20”, we clearly do not learn from our mistakes. And we most certainly do not heed the warning signs of a clear and present danger, even when these signs are confirmed by people with first-hand experience in such things. Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, in a 1978 commencement address he gave at Harvard University, stated that America was in a vulnerable position, at a dangerous crossroads where it could easily find itself in the grip of a totalitarian government in the near future, if its current path remained unchanged. He further explained to these Ivy League graduates that a considerable number of Americans were morally weak, culturally confused, completely ignorant on recent history, and skeptical of everything except what came through their televisions and newspapers. In this condition, people are much more susceptible to the ubiquitous rhetoric used for brainwashing the masses, and ripe for a smooth, easy transfer of power from a people’s republic to a dictator’s socially engineered union. In Solzhenitsyn’s 1970 nobel prize winning epic,The Gulag Archipelago, we have a first-hand, intimately detailed account of how Soviet leaders used pervasive propaganda to keep their iron grip on millions of people. Russian emigres as distant as Shanghai, free from the clutches of Stalin, were persuaded by such compelling lies that they actually returned. Told that they would get a full pardon, could settle where they wished and work in any trade they wanted, were encouraged to return home. They were told they could bring along their possessions, whatever they wanted and as much as they wanted, from automobiles to pianos. Those who survived the steamship from China had a fate that was not unexpected. Upon landing in Russia they were immediately deported to labor camps; all of their possessions were confiscated by the state.
The narrative continues as we discover all the ways in which Soviet citizens were manipulated and controlled by lies. In the middle of WWII the ministry of propaganda didn’t have to work very hard to convince the unhappy, fearful people that they should keep quiet and stay put. It was easy to make them believe that just over the Soviet border lay a fascist wasteland, a place where SS soldiers (goose-stepping to the music of Wagner) would arrest them, kill them or force them to become Nazis. They had no way of knowing that there was a flourishing Russian culture outside the USSR. That Russian emigres were writing books, reading the latest music and art critics, producing plays for theater and, most importantly, free to fight fascism (or communism). At a time when Dostoevsky’s books were anathema in Russia, universities all over the world were holding lectures on philosophical and thematic complexities in his writings.
Fast-forward about seventy-five years, to another country on a different continent. This country has just elected a new president. According to every media source across the nation, this man was not going to be elected. His opponent was going to win in a landslide so great that he (and his voters) were encouraged to resign. It was egregious enough that in the wake of the surprising election results several news agencies were forced to admit they’d engaged in deliberate and repeated yellow journalism. Throughout much of the campaign it was clear that one candidate was getting a free pass.Her negligence, resulting in many deaths and carelessly putting others in danger, was glossed over, as were her criminal acts to cover it up by destroying evidence. And while the future president was under the most intense scrutiny, undergoing the personal and financial equivalent of a full colonoscopy, his opponent and her media followers continued to lie with impunity. At any other time, in any other place and with almost any other person, this evidence of criminal behavior would be cause for imprisonment.
Realistically, though, this vast problem with media lies and political misconduct can’t be blamed on poor Hillary. Although these issues preceded the presidential elections eight years ago, many would agree they took a startling turn then. In an age where one’s personal information is nearly impossible to keep private, especially when professional investigators are involved, a man whose background was a complete mystery, was put in the highest office in the land. This man told tales every time he opened his mouth, broke almost every constitutional law and didn’t keep even one promise he made while in office. He was, and still is, a media darling. But again, there is no reasonable explanation for this unless we view the media as an extension of the government rather than as free agents. More specifically, they are an extension of the extreme left-wing, socialist/globalist part of government. Now we finally get to the real reason our current president has kept them at a distance.
When attempting to solve a problem, it is not enough to simply identify the problem. And while it’s not always easy to know where to start, it usually becomes apparent where we should or shouldn’t be standing. An interviewer for The Guardian once asked Alexandr Solzenitsyn how it happened, how so many people had been ruined during the Soviet era. He immediately responded, “In our country, the lie is not just a moral category; it is a pillar of the state!”
Charlotte B. Cerminaro is a Juilliard-trained classical musician who, in addition to being a studio and orchestral musician, enjoys writing. © 2017