Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Алекса́ндр Солжени́цын) (1918-2008) was a tireless critic of Soviet Russia and communism. His best known novels The Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, raised international awareness of the Soviet labor camp system where dissidents were imprisoned and as often as not, worked to death. Criticism of the system brought the full power of the state on the dissident.
American Thinker posted a discussion of Solzhenitsyn’s approach to the Soviet bureaucracy and I feel that quoting from that piece and discussing it makes some sense because it applies directly to political bloggers.
Stories teach better than arguments. People may not understand the “takings clause” of the Constitution, but they will become incensed about a story of government forcing people from their homes. Teach with stories, not just with information. Stories internalize truths we recognize, but don’t fully understand. A story is accessible to anyone, regardless of education or political inclination. After all, Hollywood was built on exactly that, and we know the extent of their cultural power.1) Never underestimate the power of mockery.It is irrational and, as such, irrefutable. It allows for the bludgeon of humor to strike your opponent without drawing blood. Mockery does all its damage on the inside, unnerving your opponent and derailing his arguments.2) Learn from Solzhenitsyn’s methods.Focus on the result of a policy or initiative, and force those responsible to explain and defend it. Solzhenitsyn didn’t simply decry Communism. He illustrated the brutality, and forced Communists to explain why it must be that way.3) Know your stuff.No one can be knowledgeable about everything, so pick your battles, do your homework, and know more than your opponent. This is how you poke the bear without getting mauled. Embarrass your opponent into either admitting he knows less than he should or lying to cover up his deficiency. Either way, you have the upper hand, and he will forever be on the defensive with you.4) Always remember: volume is not a substitute for facts.A whisper will drown out the sounds of armies, if that whisper is the truth. Make them squirm as they try to defend the indefensible. Remember always: the tyrant’s greatest weakness is his belief that he has no weaknesses. Exploit that.Those who will oppress their fellow citizens are not imported from another land for the purpose. They are your neighbors already. They are your friends and family, and in some cases, they might even be you.These government employees will rationalize their assistance in the confiscation of liberty as “simply doing their jobs,” as did the members of the National Park Service when they followed the petulant orders of the president to close open-air memorials during the recent government shutdown.Even the most complicit bureaucrat often believes to the end that he is serving the people, even if that “service” results in the abrogation of liberty, or ultimately, life.While the bureaucrat may feel a vague sense of molestation as he follows orders he knows to be wrong, he will in the end side with his pension and benefits time and again, until, as Solzhenitsyn describes it, “the arrest is made.”
Our nation is in the process of a transformation from free state to collectivist state. The Federal Government just nationalized 20% of the American economy and in effect, canceled somewhere around 129 MILLION health insurance policies. The fact that they are unable to provide a portal to buy the new approved insurance policies speaks to incompetence but not to intent. The intent is clear. “In place of legitimate constitutional scholarship in our educational system, we see a systematic and unrelenting effort to overturn the original concepts of our Constitution in favor of some “living” replacement — an updated document made for a diverse and evolving population, or so we are told.”
Solzhenitsyn writes in Gulag:
At what point, then, should one resist? When one’s belt is taken away? When one is ordered to face into a corner? When the policeman illegally crosses the threshold of one’s home? The arrest consists of a series of incidental irrelevancies, of a multitude of things that alone do not matter, and there seems no point in arguing about any one of them individually…and yet all these incidental irrelevancies, taken together implacably constitute an arrest.
“Our arrest is in ObamaCare. Our arrest is in an abusive and rogue IRS, and a myriad of other government scandals ignored and unpunished. Our arrest is found in every mewling surrender our representatives negotiate with the lawlessness of anti-constitutional governance.”
It’s time to come out of the closet and be a Dissident.