Live not by Lies

Keith Miles

This is the title of a book by Rod Dreher and he took it from the title of the message that Solzhenitsyn left for the Russian people when he was forced into exile.


Rod Dreher is a distinguished American writer and senior editor at the newspaper ‘The American Conservative’. He is also an active Christian.

The book ‘Live not by Lies’ is one of those books that when you read it you know it is exposing the truth about modern society. It focuses on how identity politics have become a new religion.

The book shows that those still pursuing the Marxist culture know that they have lost the economic arguments, and they also know that the false history theory of Marx has after 100 years of experiments resulted in human misery on a truly enormous scale. The latest mess in Venezuela with its Marxist experiment has sent 4 million refugees into neighbouring South American countries. So these neo-Marxists are now trying to win a revolution through a culture war by dwelling on so-called inequality issues which they link with identity, and the use of the malign ‘critical race theory’.

Dreher notes how people are losing faith in institutions and political systems, and that there is an invasion of language by news media with the use of ‘left-wing jargon’ and ‘social justice’ words. These are the words used by ‘social justice warriors’ (SJW) in their drive for equality at all costs and to drive out discussion and contrary views. This results in exclusion of debate in universities and so-called de-platforming of visiting speakers who the SJWs consider should be censored. The equality that they are aiming for is a sort of soft totalitarianism so that they want equal outcomes through the politicisation of everything, not just equal chances and equality before the law. They also believe that justice is related to identity not to behaviour or standards. They also believe that everything can only be judged through a so-called power filter and cannot understand the Christian way of thinking that social justice is connected with responsibility, mercy and compassion. They will never understand the quotation from Psalm 72 (about a just God) over the Central Criminal Court in London‘defend the children of the poor, and punish the wrong doer.

This SJW minority, which has captured the minds of some of the militant young who are looking for something to believe in, are highly influenced by the Marxist myth of progress that effectively rejects all that is good in the past. Thus we have the destruction of historic statues but not of leftwing murderers.

Like the Marxists in the past they are driving out debate and tolerance of the views of others which are the essence of real democracy, and which in some ways are more important than voting. This is bringing back into society what Czeslaw Milosz, the Polish writer described in his famous book The Captive Mind as Ketman. This word comes from the Persian and was described by the French writer Gobineau as the state of a person being and behaving in public as the authorities or public opinion, religious or otherwise would wish, but in private holding quite different views. As we know in totalitarian societies, especially communism it is necessary to often keep quiet about ones true convictions. Milosz goes on to say that this schizophrenia can lead to a person becoming over time like the public personna that you do not believe in.

Dreher also deplores the growing loss of the family as central to social good order and sees also the growth of pornography and lack of real committed human partnerships through marriage as contributing to the decay in western society.

This attempted malign cultural revolution that seems to be sweeping through the western world will only end in disaster if we do not resist this new totalitarianism. Things are so bad that even a society has been recently formed in England called The Free Speech Union to protect open debate and opinion. Its motto is Audi alteram partem – Listen to the other side.

It is said that the attitude of Voltaire was summed up in the phrase‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. This is sometimes written as ‘Monsieur l’abbé, je déteste ce que vous écrivez, mais je donnerai ma vie pour que vous puissiez continuer à écrire’.

On the bookends on the library shelf of books about free speech on one end should be written this Voltaire quotation and Solzhenitsyn’s ‘Live not by lies’ on the other end.