A decline in courage may be the most striking feature that an outside observer notices in the West today.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn

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These are the words of the Nobel laureate from his Harvard University Commencement Address in June 1978.

If you have not read this Address, you would be wise to do so, indeed to study it. It has application today.

To those who do not know Solzhenitsyn, I say: utilize the internet to familiarize yourself with him – historian, writer, Russian Orthodox, decorated Russian military officer, intellect, moral force, prisoner in a Communist forced labor gulag for writing a personal letter to a friend that was critical of Stalin and deemed to be a criminal act against the state, expelled from the Soviet Union, exile resident in the West and in the U.S.

And, yes – witness to atrocities committed by Russian military forces during World War II – savage rapes included.

In his Harvard Address he speaks of the loss of civic courage in the West and in its political parties and governments. He notes the particular decline of courage among the ruling and intellectual elites which, he says, create an impression that an entire people in a country lack courage.

Further he notes that courageous individuals remain – but that “they have no determining influence on public life.”

He sees in the governments of the West state policies of “weakness and cowardice” that convey “a lack of manhood” and observes that, when dealing with “powerful governments and threatening forces, with aggressors and international terrorists” the West is “tongue-tied and paralyzed.”

He reminds us “that from ancient times a decline in courage has been the first symptom of the end.”

We would be wise to question not whether one love’s this land, but whether one lacks courage.  For courage is the one essential character in leadership.  Indeed, it takes courage to love – and then the questions become – Do you love? What do you love?

Do you demand courage?  It is fatal not to.

Be strong and courageous.

Deut 3:16


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