I'm reading the obituaries of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the literary lion who exposed the Soviet regime for all its arbitrary brutality and malignant cruelty. He passed away on Sunday at age 89 in Moscow, a city he never thought he'd see again after he was expelled from the Soviet Union for writing about its ugly truths.
There were many heroes of the cold war---Lech Walesa, Vaclav Havel, Margaret Thatcher, every U.S. President from Truman to Bush 41.
But Solzhenitsyn stood alone, truly alone, in a different category. He had experienced the horrors of the Soviet prison camp system. He had seen the ruthlessness and barbarism of the Soviet communist leadership and of those apparatchiks tasked with enforcing the day-to-day humiliations and terrors of tyranny. He had been a victim of their oppression, their corruption, and their violence.
He stood alone as he wrote novel after novel excoriating the Soviet regime, but his crowning achievement was "The Gulag Archipelago," which detailed graphically the crimes against humanity of which that regime was guilty.
All of this endangered his life and got him kicked out of the Motherland. But he would not be silenced. He wanted---needed---the world to hear about the evils wrought by socialism.
Meanwhile, Barack Obama is trying to bring Socialism back. He gives a hip new face to it, but the basic principles are the ones Solzhenitsyn risked his life to condemn.
Obama wants to confiscate the profits of any sector or company he deems as too profitable. The most obvious boogeymen these days are the oil companies. Over the last few days, he's advocated confiscating huge parts of their profits in order to give $1000 checks to each U.S. household (ostensibly to offset high gas prices but really to just punish companies operating in the free market.)
I doubt Solzhenitsyn would demonize the American oil companies, which use their reasonably sized profits to explore here at home and help to enrich their millions of shareholders.
He would, however, probably turn his fire on the Russian oil companies, which have concentrated hundreds of billions of dollars in the hands of very few. And the Saudi oil princes, who also hold on to their petro-profits and turn much of it back into terrorism. Or the Venezuelan thugs, who get rich off their oil and use it to form alliances with fellow petro-villians like Russia and Iran. Not a lot of wealth-sharing going on in these countries, but I guess it's easier for Obama to make the U.S. oil companies--who are trying to compete in this sludge--the devil.
More Obama newfangled socialism: he supports massive new tax hikes to pay for his (so far) $1 trillion in new spending. He wants to move toward a nationalized health care system. He supports the Global Poverty Act, which would levy huge new ADDITIONAL taxes on Americans to alleviate poverty around the world (much of which was created by socialist governments in the first place.)
He doesn't believe in fighting wars of freedom (only getting out before they can be won). But he does believe in dousing job and wealth creation, taxing us out of prosperity, and redistributing wealth.
It is an utopian vision of equality that doesn't exist, and when attempted, has led to poverty, oppression, revolt, and violence.
It's what Solzhenitsyn risked his life to oppose. And it's what Obama would like to see updated and perfumed, just enough to mask its true agenda.
Obama likes to term his success "progress." Solzhenitsyn would beg to differ.