13 November 2021

A timely quote from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

“We know that they are lying, they know that they are lying, they even know that we know they are lying, we also know that they know we know they are lying too, they of course know that we certainly know they know we know they are lying too as well, but they are still lying. In our country, the lie has become not just moral category, but the pillar industry of this country.”
Timely when Solzhenitsyn was quoted in The Observer in 1974.  And timely now.


  1. There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.
    Mark Twain
    Samuel Clemens (1835 – 1910) author & humorist

  2. I love Solzhenitsyn. Two of my favorite quotes from him are "when you are cold, don't expect sympathy from someone who is warm" (One Day in the Life of Ivan Densiovich)
    And "If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?" (Gulag archipelago)

  3. I think any indigenous society encountering a technologically advanced empire would heavily identify with this quote. As do critics of industrial society, in general. Or, as would any radical critic of capitalism--especially in its present form. From an anarcho-primitivist view, this is civilization. Great quote, applicable well beyond the Soviet context.

  4. Solzhenitsytn here made the ubiquitous category error of conflating dishonesty with performance. The distinction is significant, even where the practical consequences are essentially the same, because it comes to intent. Lies have purpose (hold that thought!) whereas performance is an end in itself. Then, the purpose of lies is not understood. They are not told for gain, but to humiliate their audience. Dishonesty is a form of violence, and therefore a manifestation of sadism, and therefore a manifestation of infantility/devolution.


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