August 07, 2008

Piatak on Solzhenitsyn

Over at Chronicles, Tom has a nice tribute to Solzhenitsyn. He also shows how one can learn quite a bit about the new darlings of conservatism by observing their reaction to death of the great novelist and historian:

[Solzhenitsyn] used to be a hero of American conservatives. But the sort of men who now are exalted in ?mainstream conservatism? have a somewhat different take on the Russian giant: They freely acknowledge his greatness, while forcefully denying his ideas have any relevance for us. Christopher Hitchens, in Slate, blasts the ?ayatollahlike tones of his notorious Harvard lecture? and dismisses Solzhenitsyn as a ?classic Russian Orthodox chauvinist,? takes him to task for opposing NATO?s war against Serbia, and implies he may have been anti-Semitic.  (Hitchens also describes what Solzhenitsyn opposed as a ?Stalinist system,? passing over what Solzhenitsyn proved: that Soviet Communism was evil from the beginning, and that the mass murder and terror began with Hitchens? heroes Trotsky and Lenin).

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