Live Not By Lies

Monument to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in Vladivostok, Russia; Photo 76706347 © Anna Krivitskaia |

A generation born since Sept. 11, 2001, has never known a world where armed guards did not search the innocent when they enter airports and other public places. They think it’s normal and proper to confirm you’re not a terrorist before boarding a plane or attending a concert.

A generation born since the 1980s has never thought of measles, chicken pox and mumps as mostly benign childhood diseases everyone had and recovered from. They think of these diseases as deadly threats that require vaccination.

Will the generation born in the last two years grow up to think it’s normal for a government to order citizens to undergo prescribed medical procedures and punish anyone who refuses?

When the Soviet government arrested Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, he released an essay called “Live Not By Lies.” 

“Our way must be: Never knowingly support lies! Having understood where the lies begin (and many see this line differently)—step back from that gangrenous edge! Let us not glue back the flaking scales of the Ideology, not gather back its crumbling bones, nor patch together its decomposing garb, and we will be amazed how swiftly and helplessly the lies will fall away, and that which is destined to be naked will be exposed as such to the world.”

Solzhenitsyn’s essay resonates in the face of the changes that have occurred in this country and the world these past two years. It’s shocking that a call to action aimed at Soviet citizens has such relevance for the people of the United States of America.

I’d like to think that the generation born in the last two years will grow up to think it’s normal to question authority and think for themselves. But it’s up to us to create that new normal, if I may borrow a phrase.

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