19 Dec 2014

“A Decline in Courage”

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Bill Kristol quotes Solzhenitsyn’s 1978 speech at Harvard.

A decline in courage may be the most striking feature which an outside observer notices in the West in our days. The Western world has lost its civil courage, both as a whole and separately, in each country, each government, each political party, and, of course, in the United Nations. Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling groups and the intellectual elite, causing an impression of loss of courage by the entire society. Of course, there are many courageous individuals, but they have no determining influence on public life.

“Political and intellectual bureaucrats show depression, passivity, and perplexity in their actions and in their statements, and even more so in theoretical reflections to explain how realistic, reasonable, as well as intellectually and even morally warranted it is to base state policies on weakness and cowardice. And decline in courage is ironically emphasized by occasional explosions of anger and inflexibility on the part of the same bureaucrats when dealing with weak governments and with countries not supported by anyone, or with currents which cannot offer any resistance. But they get tongue-tied and paralyzed when they deal with powerful governments and threatening forces, with aggressors and international terrorists.

“Should one point out that from ancient times declining courage has been considered the beginning of the end?”

2 Feedbacks on "“A Decline in Courage”"

Fred Z

It’s got nothing to do with Sony’s political courage.

It’s your fucking American laws, lawyers, judges and juries.

Based on the Cinemark case, Sony and theater owners know that if some loony Nork sympathizer attacks a theater showing the movie, they’ll get sued and it will cost them tens or hundreds of millions of dollars.


Actually, it’s more like Eastern lack of courage. Sony is Japanese


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