Live not by lies. Soviet writer Alexandr Solzenitsyn’s great clarion call shook the re-Stalinized USSR of Leonid Brezhnev to its foundation. Before there was Vlacav Havel and Lech Walesa, there was Solzenitsyn. A man who’d actually survived Stalin’s death camps and had written the internationally acclaimed “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch” narrative of prison camp life, Solzenitsyn was one of several dissidents who defied the all-powerful Soviet tyranny.

                At that point unable to simply ‘disappear’ him, the Soviet authorities threw him out of the country, fearful that he was going to publish a book that would damage their international image. And did he ever! “The Gulag Archipelago” published in 1974, shook the Evil Soviet Empire to its core, laid bare it’s crimes, and destroyed the USSR’s moral legitimacy forever.

                Before that, he wrote “Live Not By Lies.” Published furtively in the Samizdat underground network, it called the subjects of totalitarianism to regain their human dignity. You can read the full text here LIVE NOT BY LIES. –

                If you feel you are not free to speak and live the truth as you see it, you may have something in common with Mr. Solzenistsyn. I’ll just repeat his suggestions. Here they are, A “how-to:

“· Will not write, sign, nor publish in any way, a single line distorting, so far as he can see, the truth;

· Will not utter such a line in private or in public conversation, nor read it from a crib sheet, nor speak it in the role of educator, canvasser, teacher, actor;

· Will not in painting, sculpture, photograph, technology, or music depict, support, or broadcast a single false thought, a single distortion of the truth as he discerns it;

· Will not cite in writing or in speech a single “guiding” quote for gratification, insurance, for his success at work, unless he fully shares the cited thought and believes that it fits the context precisely;

· Will not be forced to a demonstration or a rally if it runs counter to his desire and his will; will not take up and raise a banner or slogan in which he does not fully believe;

· Will not raise a hand in vote for a proposal which he does not sincerely support; will not vote openly or in secret ballot for a candidate whom he deems dubious or unworthy;

· Will not be impelled to a meeting where a forced and distorted discussion is expected to take place;

· Will at once walk out from a session, meeting, lecture, play, or film as soon as he hears the speaker utter a lie, ideological drivel, or shameless propaganda;

· Will not subscribe to, nor buy in retail, a newspaper or journal that distorts or hides the underlying facts.”

            There’s more, much more. Read the whole thing. If you feel afraid to do these things, it’s understandable. But keep this in mind: a few decades ago, *everybody* lived this way in America. Nobody gave it a second thought.

            You want that world back? Then start here, start now. Or don’t. Like Solzenitsyn said “But if we shrink away, then let us cease complaining that someone does not let us draw breath—we do it to ourselves!”

            Your choice.

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