Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Warning to the West gives an interesting perspective on socialism and its potential dangers. Solzhenitsyn believed that Soviet Russia and the West had many similar issues, despite the fact that socialism and liberalism/libertarianism are different ideologies. In Warning to the West, Solzhenitsyn noted that while things were never explicitly banned as they were in Russia, “in the West fashionable trends of thought and ideas are carefully separated from those which are not fashionable” (Solzhenitsyn 42), which in itself is a form of censorship which prevents free thought.
He believed that the libertarian/capitalist drive was a different approach to reaching the same goal of limiting thought, although in the West it comes with less violence than in Russia. He also believed that the press was of a great danger: the West has freedom of the press, unlike Soviet Russia, but Solzhenitsyn wondered whether they should be given so much power without having been elected and without needing to answer to anyone.There are still elements of Solzhenitsyn’s message that are relevant to the West today. The Internet and other technologies have made clear fashions and trends even more easily spread, which means that speaking out against these messages can be dangerous and limiting to free thought and creativity.
I also agree that the West needs to be careful in its ideology of anthropocentricity, particularly as there are dangers of global warming: the human race needs to be careful not to consider itself the center of the universe when we address these issues. Solzhenitsyn was also critical of advertising and television, which he believed to be equally as unsatisfying as the limited experience of Soviet Russia because humans seek higher information and knowledge. These elements of Solzhenitsyn’s message need to be considered carefully in today’s Western societies as they provide an outsiders perspective of the problems that we all face.