It took the wisdom of a Soviet dissident to raise the consciousness of our country. Alexander I. Solzhenitsyn's
message in his famous commencement address delivered at Harvard University on June 8, 1978 still applies today, while changing into a slightly different
"The anguish of a divided world gave birth to the theory of convergence between the leading Western countries
and the Soviet Union. It is a soothing theory which overlooks the fact that these worlds are not evolving toward each other
and that neither one can be transformed into the other without violence. Besides, convergence inevitably means acceptance
of the other side's defects, too. and this can hardly suit anyone."
Convergence is a fools game when the euphoria of the 'so called' winning of the cold war has created the false
illusion of defeating that same age old despot. The overt level of imminent violence may no longer be staring ourselves in
the form of the Soviet Bear, but the ongoing crisis in America is that her direction has been suicidal - thinking that any
form of Socialism can be an acceptable way of life.
In his speech, Solzhenitsyn refers to a lessor known fellow dissenter, Igor Shafarevich that makes a definitive
case against Socialism. In his great book, The Socialist Phenomenon - Shafarevich not only exposes the cultural nihilism behind its hostility to property, hierarchy and individuality
but also emphasises the theophobia of collectivist revolutionaries and the link between their loathing for religion and their
compulsion to reduce human society to the level of an ant-hill.
Our flawed archetype, Rudy, in Shaw's drama operates under the deception that he is living the American dream.
His rise to the top is not from the fruits of a capitalist achievement but from the maneuvers within an emerging socialistic
Solzhenitsyn continues to his crimson audience:
"It is almost universally recognized that the West shows all the world the way to successful economic
development, even though in past years it has been sharply offset by chaotic inflation. However, many people living in the
West are dissatisfied with their own society. They despise it or accuse it of no longer being up to the level of maturity
by mankind. And this causes many to sway toward socialism, which is a false and dangerous current."
What we have is the perverted convergence where both the power seeker and the disaffected are seeking comfort,
fortune and relief in a failed system of social organization. It's downfall is not from a lack of mastery in practice. Most
of the world knows no other system. But its systemic fault lies in the despair that it ultimately brings to society as it’s
true nature engulfs mankind. Solzhenitsyn explains further:
"This tilt of freedom toward evil has come about gradually, but it evidently stems from a humanistic and
benevolent concept according to which man - the master of the world - does not bear any evil within himself, and all the defects
of life are caused by misguided social systems, which must therefore be corrected."
How many graduates will hear this message as they enter the world, while at the peak of their enthusiasm?
Did anyone of them ever hear this version of modern life while engrossed in their studies? And who among them will ever avoid
the shortcoming that destroyed the life of our fictional graduate, Rudy?
When we analyze the meaning of Heraclitus, we can reduce his philosophy of change down to: "You cannot
step into the same river twice, for fresh waters are ever flowing in upon you." For him the world was in a state of permanent
flux. In him are the seeds of an unstable world that opens the door to the modern day desperation that Solzhenitsyn warns.
This imaginary void is the excuse used by the misguided to embrace Socialism.
The fact that most of our reputed leaders of commerce and government are disciples of Heraclitus, wearing
a designer suit of a Rudy Jordache - does not give promise to the commencement invocations that our graduates will experience.
The assurance of a brighter future are suspect as long as society continues on its collision course of convergence. The reality
of our common condition is that the entire world has accepted some framework of Socialism as an acceptable practice.
Is this the legacy and future we want to give to our children? Don't they deserve better? As a society we
collectively failed to provide the wisdom of a classical education to the last few generations. Look at the results we now
endure and contemplate the prospect of the impending changes that will come. If Solzhenitsyn was to give his address again
in today's environment, would anyone understand what he is saying? Few of us listened and acted upon his admonition the first
time. Our graduates have been cheated and they will be left to pay the price of this deceit. Remember when you attend the
ceremonies, your children are the test of our own success . . .
SARTRE - May 29, 2002