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How To Bow To Ideology (Reflections from Solzhenitsyn, Part III)

“You don’t want to argue with me because you don’t know how to. None of you do, because you avoid people who think differently, and you won’t risk denting your nice, tidy ideology! So you get together, with no outsiders present, to flaunt your understanding of the Founding Fathers. Each of you borrows ideas from the others, and after a little wear they fit in nicely with his own. Anyway, outside”–lowering his voice–“with the Cheka around, who dares argue with you? But when you land in jail, here in Marfino, say”–speaking normally again–“you meet people who really can argue! And you’re like fish out of water! All you can do is yell at people and abuse them!”*

In other words, Solzhenitsyn would not be surprised by the way certain people go about engaging with those who do not bow to their ideology. Perhaps we would do well to take a lesson from history and try not to repeat it.

 

*Solzhenitsyn, In The First Circle, p. 484

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