Live Not By Lies Rod Dreher 268

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Remember What Solzhenitsyn Said Bless You

prison. I mean great imagine he was. He suffered horribly in prison, but he said Bless you prison because it brought him to that salvation. It brought him out of himself and there’s no necessary proof that if you undertake to suffer for the truth that you won’t pay the final price. The problem is you’re going to pay a price for the alternative too and so will everybody else hello everyone I’m here today With Rod Drear, a senior editor at the American Conservative.

Hes, A Veteran Of Three Decades Of

magazine and newspaper journalism. Rod has written two previous New York times bestsellers, The Benedict Option and the Little way of Ruthie Lemming as well as Crunchy Cons and how Dante can save your life today. We are posed to discuss his newest book live not by lies inspired not least. by the great Alexander Solzhenitsyn, author of the Gulag Archipelago. The book that helped bring down the evil Soviet Empire good to meet you Rod.

Its Been A Long Time Coming And

I’m looking forward to discussing your book Yeah thank you Jordan. It has been a long time coming because you of all people in North America are an expert on totalitarianism and so I’ve been very eager to see what your take on the book is and to have a fruitful discussion with you about it yeah so the title live not by lies. It’s a it’s a lovely phrase um a catchy phrase too for what that’s worth and i suppose that indicates some poetic genius do you want to talk a little bit about why you picked that title where it came from and and also what motivated you to write the book sure well. The title comes from an essay that Alexander Solzhenitsyn sent out to his followers just before the Soviets expelled him in 1974. and in the essay he told the people who followed him that look we can’t go out on Red square and say.

Exactly What We Think We Dont

have that option in totalitarian Russia, but what we can do is refuse to say what we do not think this is the power We have to refuse to speak lies or to refuse to ascent to lies where they are spoken around us and I I think that that is a very valuable lesson for us today living under very different conditions. You know in in the 2020s, but we are living in a time of a different kind of totalitarianism and that brings us to why the the book Why I began to write the book The genesis of the book Around 2015. I received a phone call from a man, a physician at the Mayo clinic, who said listen I have to tell somebody this I have to tell some journalist this. He said his elderly mother lives with him and. his wife there and she had immigrated to America after she was released from prison and Communist Czechoslovakia.

She Had Spent Four Years In

prison there and was tortured for being a Vatican spy. Why did they call her Vatican spy because she refused their order to stop going to church well The lady came to America. She married she started a family but now at the end of her life. She was telling her son son the things I see happening in America today remind me of what I left behind well. What was she talking about she’s talking about the fact that people are terrified to say what they really think she was talking about how people could lose their businesses or lose their jobs simply for having the quote unquote wrong opinion.

She Was Talking About How Mobs

were generated by for ideological reasons to drive people. To the margins of society, she was talking about the way language is being falsified in service of an ideological agenda, and she was talking about the way that not only the state, but also private institutions are making people think of themselves in terms of group identities not individual rights, and that all of this seemed to be part of a totalitarian mindset well. I thought Jordan that what this old lady said was kind of outrageous you know my mother is old. She watches a lot of cable news. She’s afraid of things too.

But Then I Began To Ask People Whenever

I would meet them on at conferences or when I travel if I would find out that they’re from the Soviet Bloc. They came to the west from the Soviet Bloc. I would simply ask them are the things you’re seeing happen here in North America. consonant with what you left behind Jordan every single one of them said yes and if you talk to them long enough they would be so angry that Americans wouldn’t believe them because we just don’t think it could happen here and I began the more began to talk to them. The more.

I Began To Realize That The

cause of this or the basic cause of this is that our idea of totalitarianism depends on the cold war it comes from Stalinism. It comes from George Orwell’s 1984. in which the all–powerful state forced totalitarian ideology on people by making them afraid and by inflicting pain and terror on them. But we don’t have that now we don’t have gulags. We don’t have secret police yet anyway we don’t have bread lines and all the things that we associate with the Soviet Union so why is this totalitarianism well.

To Understand That This Is A

softer form and a different form a form that has more to do with Aldous Huxley’s brave new world than with Orwell‘s 1984.. It is a totalitarianism built on comfort and status and well-being and we can’t really see it because our we’re looking to the past to tell us what totalitarianism is totalitarianism is but these people These emigrates who lived through it. They sense it they are our canaries in the coal mine and we better listen to them. So I wrote the book to not only talk about what they were seeing happening in our time and place that reminded them of totalitarianism.

But Also I Traveled To Central Europe

and to Russia to talk to people who didn’t emigrate people who stayed behind to resist and I wanted to find out from them what should we in the west do. prepare ourselves for what is to come and to live lives of integrity, rooted in the truth and rooted in courage. So I was just in eastern Europe, talking to people in Romania and Hungary and Albania and Estonia. Other Eastern European countries, and it’s clear that people there who battled the communists for years and younger. People who know of the history of communist totalitarianism in eastern Europe look at the west and think the same way that the emigres that you described are thinking that the web of ideas that increasingly possesses let’s say the radical left and is spreading into the culture at large bears an eerie and uncanny resemblance to the system of ideas that swamped the Soviet states and so much of the world During the Cold War and the Eastern Europeans are very apprehensive about that and I would say for good reason um.

I I Also So Thats Thats

an interesting commentary on the opinions of people who have actually moved to the west. The people who’ve lived through this see the same thing happening again and then on your comment about the top-down versus bottom-up model of totalitarianism might have been I wouldn’t say exactly a flaw with orwell‘s 1984 because it’s hard you’re hard-pressed to describe that book as flawed in any way, but I think also because we knew of the Pr stanford prison experiments and also we’re looking for an easy explanation for what happened in Nazi Germany that it’s comforting for people to believe that a totalitarian state is basically made up of people yearning to be free who are oppressed, um but basically honest by a small minority of people willing to use coercion and terror, and there is a small minority of people willing to use. However, in a true totalitarian state and this is social instance genius the the the totalitarian element of that is actually the willingness of every single person virtually without exception in the entire society to lie about everything all the time to absolutely everyone themselves, their wife or husband, their children, their parents, their siblings, the people they work with and so it is and this is something that reading Solzhenitsyn really convinced me of and of course part of the reason I was attracted to your book. It is the idea that p that root to totalitarianism at the individual level is the willingness to knowingly falsify your speech and perception and action to knowingly do it too not just to do it by accident, but to know it’s wrong and still do it that’s the pathway to hell Yeah, you know Jordan Cheswald Miwosch, who was a former. Communist who defected from Poland in the 1950s wrote an excellent book in the early 50s called the Captive Mind and in it he tried to describe to the west why people fell for communism, and he said that a lot of people in the west have this false idea that people did it solely because they were coerced.

He Said In Fact, There Is Among

everybody it’s part of our human nature. This deep internal longing for harmony and happiness. A lot of these people in eastern Europe Yeah they were they were invaded by the Soviets who occupied them after the war, but a lot of them were exhausted by the war, and they thought communism would give them a sense of wholeness. It would give them a sense of meaning and purpose to their lives and so they submitted to it also Ann Applebaum, who’s a historian.

Of The Iron Curtain Said That Most

people in this part of the world because I’m coming to you now from Budapest. Most people in this part of the world didn’t make a deal a conscious deal with the devil to us to embrace communism. They were just tired and worn down by constant propaganda and just wanted to have a normal life and if that meant having to submit to the lies well they were willing to do so well. So there’s another element of that that’s interesting as well, so we could go two directions on that the first is that under many conditions the human proclivity to go along with the dictates of the group is actually an admirable proclivity and so you know parents of teenagers often say to their teenagers well.

If Your Friends Jumped Off A

bridge would you jump too and the answer. to that is actually generally yes and to make it even more complicated is that that’s exactly what teenagers should be doing because they should be substituting integration in the peer group for dependence on the parents, and so whether or not they fit in is of cardinal importance to a teenager who’s developing properly and so people should go along with the crowd in some sense because that’s what it means to be civilized into a broad community. The problem with that is that sometimes the crowd is a mob and sometimes society has gone off the rails and so then what do you do and the answer to some degree is well. You develop past being a teenager into an autonomous individual who’s an autonomous contributor to the group and then hopefully you have enough what would you say moral integrity to stand for what you?

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Summary

Rod Drear has written two previous New York Times bestsellers, The Benedict Option and the Little way of Ruthie Lemming . The title comes from an essay that Alexander Solzhenitsyn sent out to his followers just before the Soviets expelled him in 1974. The title, live not by lies, is inspired not least by the great author of the Gulag Archipelago. The book that helped bring down the evil Soviet Empire helped bring the Soviet Empire down. It’s a it’s a lovely phrase um a catchy phrase too for what that’s worth and i suppose that indicates some poetic genius do you want to talk a little bit about why you picked that title where it came from and and also what motivated you to write the book sure well. It has been a long time coming because you of all people in North America are an expert on totalitarianism and so I’ve been very eager to see what your take on the book is and to have a fruitful discussion with you about it…. Click here to read more and watch the full video