A Warning to the West

Following is an excerpt from a speech given by Alexander Solzhenitsyn in New York City in 1975….

July 9, 1975

Is it possible or impossible to transmit the experience of those who have suffered to those who have yet to suffer? Can one part of humanity learn from the bitter experience of another or can it not? Is it possible or impossible to warn someone of danger?

How many witnesses have been sent to the West in the last 60 years? How many waves of immigrants? How many millions of persons? They are all here. You meet them every day. You know who they are: if not by their spiritual disorientation, their grief, their melancholy, then you can distinguish them by their accents or their external appearance. Coming from different countries and without consulting with one another, they have brought to you exactly the same experience; they tell you exactly the same thing: they warn you of what is now taking place and what has taken place in the past. But the proud skyscrapers stand on, jut into the sky and say: It will never happen here. This will never come to us. It’s not possible here.

It can happen. It is possible. As a Russian proverb says: “When it happens to you, you’ll know it’s true.”

But do we really have to wait for the moment when the knife is at our throat? Couldn’t it be possible, ahead of time, to assess soberly the world-wide menace that threatens to swallow the whole world? I was swallowed myself. I have been in the dragon’s belly, in its red-hot innards. He wasn’t able to digest me. He threw me up. I have come to you as a witness to what it’s like there, in the dragon’s belly.

It’s an astonishing phenomenon that communism has been writing about itself in the most open way — in black and white — for 125 years, and even more openly, more candidly in the beginning. The Communist Manifesto, for instance, which everyone knows by name, and which almost no one ever takes the trouble to read, contains even more terrible things than what has actually been done. It’s perfectly amazing. The whole world can read, everyone is literate, but somehow no one wants to understand. Humanity acts as if it does not understand what Communism is, as if it does not want to understand, is not capable of understanding.

I think it isn’t only a question of the disguises which communism has assumed in the last decades. It’s rather that the essence of communism is quite beyond the limits of human understanding. It is hard to believe that people could actually plan such things and carry them out. And precisely because its essence is beyond comprehension, communism is so difficult to understand.

In my last address in Washington I spoke a great deal about the Soviet state system, how it was created and what it is today. But it’s perhaps more important to discuss with you the ideology that inspired the system, that created it, and that still governs it. It’s much more important to understand the essence of this ideology, and above all its legacy which hasn’t changed at all in 125 years. It hasn’t changed since the day it was born.

That Marxism is not a science is something which is entirely clear to intelligent people in the Soviet Union. One would feel awkward to refer to it as a science. Leaving aside the exact sciences, such as physics, mathematics, and the natural sciences, even the social sciences can predict an event — when, in what way, and how an event might occur. Communism has never made any such forecasts. It has never said where, when, and precisely what is going to happen. Nothing but declamations. Rhetoric to the effect that the world proletariat will overthrow the world bourgeoisie and the most happy and radiant society will then arise. The fantasies of Marx, Engels, and Lenin break off at this point, not one of them goes any further to describe what this society would be like. They simply said: the most radiant, most happy society. Everything for the sake of man.

~Excerpt taken from Warning to the West, by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 1976, pg 52-55

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Fatherlessness and the Rise of the Shaving Industry

This is one of the best advertisements out there…

The ad is obviously directed at the post-generation X crowd, whose chances of growing up in a fatherless home are about 33% in the USA.

If these young guys had decent fathers, they would be told, “Don’t waste time and money on all these shaving companies’ gimmicks where you have to buy their overly priced replacement blades. Just buy yourself a quality safety razor (if you don’t know how to use it, watch a couple of Youtube videos), a big box of double edge razor blades, and you’re pretty much set for life.

Happy shaving…

IC1101

ic1101

I’m always amazed when I think of IC1101, the largest galaxy known.

Whereas our own, Milky Way, galaxy is about 100 thousand light years across and contains about 200 to 400 billion stars, IC1101 is 6 million light years across and may contain up to 100 trillion stars.

The galaxy is made up of mostly old reddish yellow stars, in contrast to the Milky Way’s young bluish stars. There are not many new stars being created in IC1101, and it most likely grew to its size by several galaxies colliding into each other over the ages.

I wonder what the night sky would look like if Earth were a part of IC1101 rather that the Milky Way. Would there always be a reddish yellow glow, even at midnight? Would our telescopes be able to penetrate the trillions of stars to reveal the universe beyond? Would we even know there were other galaxies?

Here are a couple of good videos featuring IC1101….

 

Related reading: The Largest Galaxy in the Known Universe – Futurism

This is What It’s Like to be a Race Baiter in Alberta

edmonton-skylineHaving grown up in Edmonton Alberta, I could write a pretty informed article on the racism you might find there. I’d start by providing real and explicit examples of racism which I have seen with my own eyes, such as the time I saw a white man yell at a Pakistani 7-11 clerk, “Go back to where you f&%king came from!”

And after I listed off the real and explicit examples of racism which I have seen with my own eyes, I would then go on to explain that Edmonton, with its population of over 900 000 people, is not a racist city. In fact most Edmontonians are good and welcoming people. And while the population is predominately white (to be expected in any North American city) there are many different nationalities living there.

But that kind of article (you know – an honest one) is not what you’re going to get from the Huffington Post. No, you will get an article which begins like this:

The world looks at Canada as a culturally neutral country. But the so called “melting pot of the North” is really… just Toronto. Western Canada is nowhere near the pot…

When I landed at Edmonton International Airport, it felt like I moved to Texas. There were retail stores that sold cowboy hats, hunting gear and some white people looked at me as if I were a ghost. It was only the beginning of the culture shock.

Those asinine words were written by the author, Malia Waterman, of a HuffPo article entitled This is What It’s Like to Be Black in Alberta. Cowboy hats are racist! And if someone perceives you looking at them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable, that’s racist too! Got it?

The idiocy continues…

It was my first week in the city, and a long list of job interviews was lined up. I went to a print shop to print a resume, and there were a lot of customers with only one cashier. My computer timed out, and I went to the front desk to add money on my card while other customers were waiting for assistance. As I waited, a white man smirked and asked me “What happened? Did you run out of money?” I was stunned and noticed an Asian man had an embarrassed look on his face as if he felt bad about what happened because of the stereotypical racist comment. I replied, “Don’t you see me waiting to refill my card?” His face turned red, and he kept quiet.

So, some guy makes an ambiguous comment and… he’s a racist! And, good thing she was able to read that Asian man’s mind, because how else would she be able to back up her story? Also, I’m surprised she was able to get herself a long list of job interviews, you know, being black and all.

I think this is my favourite part of the article…

I am naturally a confident person, and a pep in my step is a part of my personality. There are times when I run errands in downtown Edmonton, and some white people will look at me like “Who does she think she is?” REALLY! Are all black people supposed to look down at their shoes and say “Yes Sir” like it is the 1920s?

So, people are yelling racial slurs at her? Are they trying to run her down with their cars? Are they angry that she’s walking to fast? Are they calling her the “N” word? Or telling her to move back to Toronto because her kind ain’t welcome here? I don’t get. I wonder if this woman is schizophrenic, and is just seeing these things in her mind. Because unless she can come up with some real examples of racism, rather than these “felt-attacks” she claims to be experiencing, I can’t take her seriously.

Edmontonians, like most Canadian city dwellers, will only get passionate about hockey. Other than that, they just want work their jobs, go home, open a beer, and relax. Sorry Malia Waterman, nobody in Edmonton cares enough about you to persecute you. Try wiping that huge chip off your shoulder and being friendly with people. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how welcoming Edmonton will be towards you.

In the meantime, please watch this video of a sketch performed by the Kids in the Hall back when Canadians still had a sense of humour…

The Friendly Forest by Edwin H. Friedman

“The Liberal Party believes that terrorists should get to keep their Canadian citizenship … because I do. And I’m willing to take on anyone who disagrees with that.”
~Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, July 4, 2015

The Friendly Forest

Once upon a time in the Friendly Forest there lived a lamb who loved to graze and frolic about. One day a tiger came to the forest and said to the animals, “I would like to live among you.” They were delighted. For, unlike some of the other forests, they had no tiger in their woods. The lamb, however, had some apprehensions, which, being a lamb, she sheepishly expressed to her friends. But, they said, “Do not worry, we will talk to the tiger and explain that one of the conditions for living in this forest is that you must also let the other animals live in the forest.”

So the lamb went about her life as usual. But it was not long before the tiger began to growl and make threatening gestures and menacing motions. Each time the frightened lamb went to her friends and said, “It is very uncomfortable for me here in the forest.” But her friends reassured her, “Do not worry; that’s just the way tigers behave.”

Every day, as she went about her life, the lamb tried to remember this advice, hoping that the tiger would find someone else to growl at. And it is probably correct to say that the tiger did not really spend all or even most of its time stalking the lamb. Still, the lamb found it increasingly difficult to remove the tiger from her thoughts. Sometimes she would just catch it out of the corner of her eye, but that seemed enough to disconcert her for the day, even if the cat were asleep. Soon the lamb found that she was actually looking for the tiger. Sometimes days or even weeks went by between its intrusive actions, yet, somehow, the tiger had succeeded in always being there. Eventually the tiger’s existence became a part of the lamb’s existence. When she tried to explain this to her friends, however, they pointed out that no harm had really befallen her and that perhaps she was just being too sensitive.

So the lamb again tried to put the tiger out of her mind. “Why,” she said to herself, “should I let my relationship with just one member of the forest ruin my relationships with all the others?” But every now and then, usually when she was least prepared, the tiger would give her another start.

Finally the lamb could not take it anymore. She decided that much as she loved the forest and her friends, more than she had ever loved any other forest were friends, the cost was too great. So she went to the other animals in the woods and said goodbye.

Her friends would not hear of it. “This is silly,” they said. “Nothing has happened. You’re still in one piece. You must remember the tiger is a tiger,” they repeated. “Surely this is the nicest forest in the world. We really like you very much and we would be very sad if you left.” (Though it must be admitted that several of the animals were wondering what the lamb might be doing to contribute to the tiger’s aggressiveness.”

Then, said two of the animals in the friendly forest, “Surely this whole thing can be worked out. We’re all reasonable here. Stay calm. There is probably just some misunderstanding that can easily be resolved if we all sit down together and communicate.” The lamb, however, had several misgivings about such a meeting. First of all, if her friends had explained away the tiger’s behavior by saying it was simply a tiger’s nature to behave that way, why did they now think that as result of communication the tiger would be able to change that nature? Second, thought the lamb, such meetings, well-intentioned as they might be, usually try to resolve problems through compromise. Now, while the tiger might agree to growl less, and indeed might succeed in reducing some of its aggressive behavior, what would she, the lamb, be expected to give up in return? Be more accepting of the tiger’s growling? There was something wrong, thought the lamb, with the notion that an agreement is equal if the invasive creature agrees to be less invasive and the invaded one agrees to tolerate some invasiveness. She tried to explain this to her friends but, being reasonable animals, they assured her that the important thing was to keep communicating. Perhaps the tiger didn’t understand the ways of the lamb. “Don’t be so sheepish,” they said. “Speak up strongly when it does these things.”

Though one of the less subtle animals in the forest, more uncouth in expression and unconcerned about just who remained, was overheard to remark, “I never heard of anything so ridiculous. If you want a lamb and a tiger to live in the same forest, you don’t try to make them communicate. You cage the bloody tiger.”

~Edwin Friedman (Friedman’s Fables, The Guilford Press, 1990) page 25-28