Here’s an excerpt from the fifth volume of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s magnum opus, a lengthy history of the Russian Revolution titled The Red Wheel. Note the revolutionaries’ utter disdain for the peasants, and thus the soldiers they were depending upon to keep fighting in their defense during World War I. Then too, remember Stalin’s slaughter of the kulaks, years later.

Those who love and work the land are always a grave threat to intellectuals and revolutionaries, but not the proletariat. They’re good rubes—think Teamsters and United Auto Workers. Men who work the land are normally calm. Their enemy isn’t management or society denying them their fair share, but the weather. And what are they going to do about that but read the farmer’s almanac and pray?

Moving back to a university community years ago after a decade serving farmers, the pride of the university was astounding. Thinking about it, I concluded academics not being subject to weather as farmers are had a good bit to do with it.

Also as I read, I thought of my own Scot-Irish heritage chronicled in Jim Webb’s Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America; then too, the splendid bio of Bob Childress, pastor to the people of the Blue Ridge Mountains, titled The Man Who Moved the Mountain.

America’s masters of the universe in big tech, big media, the courts, unis, government, and the chattering classes along the Eastern and Western seaboard absolutely hate Trump, but don’t take your eye off the ball. Much more intensely, they hate the peasants who put Trump in office.

They hate the Marines. It infuriates them that they have to depend upon grunts to fight their (neverending) globalist wars. It infuriates them that the peasants all have guns and know how to use them. Note Solzhenitsyn’s comment about guns.

Read Scripture and keep track of how God’s Word personalizes the land, the ground, the soil. There’s something about the land…

In general, the “soldier question” and all soldier questions and affairs aroused in Himmer a nightmarish revulsion, a langour of the spirit, as soon as anyone raised them at the Executive Committee, and they raised them every day. He actively and aggressively recognized that the soldier mass was the greatest obstacle, an extremely harmful and highly reactionary element of our revolution, although it was the army’s participation that had ensured its initial success. Its general harmfulness lay in the fact that it was a form of the peasantry’s interference, its illegitimate, deeply harmful penetration into the depths of the revolutionary process, which ought to have belonged to the proletariat alone. Although the peasantry did represent the majority of the population, unfortunately, but greedy for land alone, directing all its thoughts to boosting only its own trough, the peasantry had every opportunity to sleep through the revolution’s main drama and not get in anyone’s way. After making a little noise in its remoteness, setting fire to a certain number of neighboring estates, and ransacking landowner property—the peasantry would get its desired scraps of land and would settle down to its idiotism of rural life. But because there was a war going on and the peasantry was wearing gray greatcoats—it was standing right here, over the very cradle of the revolution, close by, a distressing mass, and all with rifles! It was easier to talk to them about an offensive than about a peace. Even here, in Petrograd, the soldier mass simply would not allow talk of peace, prepared simply to hoist anyone on their bayonets as a “traitor” or “capitulator” for such talk.

There was good reason to despise this soldiery as he watched gloomily while these ignorant men in gray greatcoats filled the Duma halls—drowning out the progressive proletarians!

And here the appeal had to be written so as not to frighten or repel all this soldiery.

This is how things went yesterday afternoon. Himmer was agonizing over his text when he was sent a prepared text from Gorky, and there was absolutely not a single quiet corner in the entire Tauride Palace where he could perch and work. A paradoxical thought occurred to him: there’s noise everywhere anyhow, so why not head for the session of the soldier section in the White Hall and there, in those alien surroundings, maybe thoughts would come even better as to how to adapt to this gray mass.

But the session, scheduled for two o’clock, was late as always, they hadn’t come to order, although the chairs were all filled, some dozing, some walking around, some smoking, some rallying in groups—a slumbering mass, it was easy to imagine what foolish words were being spoken among them and how bewildered they were by the situation!

Himmer had not come to converse with them, however, but went up to the railed-off secretary’s platform, quickly drove out a timid soldier, sat down, took Gorky’s rolled-up text and his own raggedy folded one out of his pocket—and set to work, occasionally snorting to clear the tobacco smoke from his nose. In a way, his elevated position over the assembly symbolized his role as this sea’s guide.

He started reading—and Gorky’s magnificent, eloquent words simply rolled like ocean waves! But it was evident, evident right away that this superlative appeal wouldn’t do, that it was entirely on the plane of world cultural perspectives. Insertions? Emendations? No, there was no way to save this. So he had to continue preparing this major maneuver on his own scraps of paper.

Meanwhile, the soldier section assembly had begun, but for a long time Himmer didn’t hear it, not even the gavel of the chairman, Ensign Uthof, above him, or the report by Skobelev about his trip to Helsingfors and what was there. (Nothing special; hadn’t much more blood been shed in the French Revolution?) Then they spent a long time choosing their Executive Commission—already more than eighty people, the asses!—including lots of ensigns, sergeants, and even clerks. When the debates began and Himmer started listening, he was amazed yet again at the soldiers’ idiocy. They couldn’t rise to a single major political question and kept going on about their civil rights (why did they need them? The beast had woken indeed!), and in hysterics painted the hardships of the soldier’s life, and all in turn saying the same thing, while the chairman-ensign kept spurring them on, and they got so worked up that they demanded abolishing every kind of officer there was. Right then even Himmer, though disinterested, understood that this was foolishness, and out of loyalty to the government the Executive Committee could not agree.

All this sitting around here yesterday had only convinced Himmer just how hopeless it was to try to find not just a common language with the soldiers but even a few expressions their minds could grasp.

Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr. March 1917 (The Center for Ethics and Culture Solzhenitsyn Series) (pp. 770-773). University of Notre Dame Press. Kindle Edition.


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