Will no one resist the new totalitarianism?

Jan 31, 2020 by

by Douglas Murray, UnHerd:

In particular, I’ve been considering two haunting observations made by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn at the outset of The Gulag Archipelago. The first is the question of why people did not resist more when they were taken away in the night. Why did they not scream, tear up the earth, scratch the eyes of the men who had come to take them? And — if they had to leave their home – why didn’t they make sure that the people who had come into their home bore the scars of having done so for the rest of their days? Why did the captured even tip-toe down the stairs, as they were asked to do by their captors, in order not to disturb their neighbours?

The answer to this lies in a question. As Solzhenitsyn puts it: “At what exact point, then, should one resist? When one’s belt is taken away? When one is ordered to face into a corner?” In part, the reason nobody resists is the same one we learned from Communism’s evil twin: if people have no conception of what is about to happen to them, then they will do whatever they think is needed to keep themselves alive to the next stage.

When people were rounded up, they still hoped that this was the beginning of a process which would be resolved or righted at some point: that the misunderstanding would cleared up, or that the indignities could not get any worse. Until the whole world knew about what could happen, almost nobody imagined the end they would endure.

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