This is a much briefer tribute than the one yesterday but focusing on the great writer’s essential message of good and evil.
“Russians found in Solzhenitsyn, who died Sunday in Moscow at age 89, their own story told with clarity, courage and humanity. Ivan Shukhov's prison camp was, in reality, all of the Soviet Union. When "Gulag Archipelago," his monumental history of the Soviet penal system, was published in Paris in 1973, Solzhenitsyn made it impossible for serious people anywhere to excuse Stalin's crimes or the inhumanity of communist totalitarianism. His documentation showed that the commissars had the blood of 60 million victims on their hands. Communism's essence was exposed in relentless detail as slavery, terror and imperialism…
“For the rest of his life, Solzhenitsyn engaged in what he called "a struggle with falsehood," caring not a whit what his critics thought. His 1978 Harvard commencement speech solidified his reputation as a prickly recluse. But his diagnosis of threats to the West -- not least those from within -- remains bracing.
“Solzhenitsyn warned of "an atmosphere of moral mediocrity, paralyzing man's noblest impulses," and a "tilt of freedom in the direction of evil . . . evidently born primarily out of a humanistic and benevolent concept according to which there is no evil inherent to human nature." His own prison-camp experience after World War II told him evil was all too real and had to be confronted.”