Monday, August 04, 2008

Solzhenitsyn on the State

Wiggy has this stuff on tap, so I'll excerpt.

[Regarding the genesis of the weakness of the West] I refer to the prevailing Western view of the world which was first born during the Renaissance and found its political expression from the period of the Enlightenment. It became the basis for government and social science and could be defined as rationalistic humanism or humanistic autonomy: the proclaimed and enforced autonomy of man from any higher force above him. It could also be called anthropocentricity, with man seen as the center of everything that exists

Eschatology counts:

...This new way of thinking, which had imposed on us its guidance, did not admit the existence of intrinsic evil in man nor did it see any higher task than the attainment of happiness on earth. It based modern Western civilization on the dangerous trend to worship man and his material needs. Everything beyond physical well-being and accumulation of material goods, all other human requirements and characteristics of a subtler and higher nature, were left outside the area of attention of state and social systems, as if human life did not have any superior sense. That provided access for evil, of which in our days there is a free and constant flow.

The gradual decline:

Two hundred or even fifty years ago, it would have seemed quite impossible, in America, that an individual could be granted boundless freedom simply for the satisfaction of his instincts or whims. Subsequently, however, all such limitations were discarded everywhere in the West; a total liberation occurred from the moral heritage of Christian centuries with their great reserves of mercy and sacrifice. State systems were becoming increasingly and totally materialistic.

Benedict XVI chose to emphasize the 'relativism' found in the West, which is a consequence of the erroneous eschatology Solzhenitsyn described; the "it's cool" reaction to belief systems which range from illogical to bizarre, including those which bless every antithesis of that self-sacrifice which Solzhenitsyn found in the heritage of the Christian centuries.

In other words, the weakness comes from indulgence in the Seven Deadlies--afforded by the West's opulent wealth-without-Ends.

MORE: Seldom do intellectuals in the West, even in the Catholic Church, understand that all of the socialist variants of Marxism breed barbarism, by virtue of their denial of the ontological substantiality of the human person and of the transcendent destiny of the human race.


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