The selected fragments are from two texts by Zdziechowski: Czerwony terror [“The Red Terror”], and Tragiczna Europa. W obronie liberalizmu [“Tragic Europe. In Defence of Liberalism”], in the collection W obliczu końca [“Facing the End”], which originally appeared 1937 in Vilnius, reprinted from Biblioteka Frondy, Apostolicum: Warszawa-Ząbki 1999, pp. 77-84 and 85-94.
Bolshevism decided to eradicate from the human soul every thought of God, and hence to kill off the longing for a higher life and destroy everything in the world, starting from God’s temples, which is a visible expression of this longing. Let there be no trace that religion has ever existed, that people have ever prayed.
My late friend, prince Grigorii Trubetskoy, says in a beautiful book published posthumously that in these worst times of the first triumphs of bolshevism, “when the earth caved in under our feet and we did not know where to hide from the horror, often a blissful peace descended upon the soul with the sound of evening bells calling for prayer in those churches in Moscow which the Bolsheviks had not yet destroyed or appropriated. We forgot about life’s monstrosities; it seemed that high above the bells, somewhere in the heavens, a solemn, splendid Te Deum was played”. Vladimir Solovyov was right when he said that the “liturgy of the Eastern rite was created by angels”. Every Orthodox faithful believes and feels that angels take part in it and lead us towards the gates of eternal light. […]
Russia produced a type of pilgrim who is looking for God’s truth, endlessly wandering from one sacred place to another. […]
However, the pilgrim who roams the world driven by the desire to see the Kingdom of God is just one pole of the Russian soul and thinking. On the opposite pole we see a Bolshevik who shouts foaming at the mouth that God does not exist and cries death unto them who believe in God. The Russians are by nature maximalists: it is all or nothing with them. There is no balance in this nation – they jump from one extremity to another, from God to the devil. […]
At present Russia is the kingdom of the devil.
Tragic Europe. In Defense of Liberalism
Communism is a fundamentalist, uncompromising socialism, i.e. one that disregards reality, pushes towards its aim through revolution and destruction, because there is no other way. Revolution and destruction are the law of nature and based on this law are the cruel dogmas of Marxist materialism: “Let nine tenths of the Russian population die – Lenin used to say – just as long as one tenth see a new world, built on Marxian principles”. In Russian bolshevism the spirit of French Jacobinism was revived, but taken to extreme forms.
An international revolution, intended to embrace the entire world, must gradually conquer all other countries if it is not to perish on its own. With this aim in view bolshevism splendidly organized a pan-European or even universal propaganda. Fearing that it would be defeated in war, it proposed a vast plan for destroying Europe through flooding its markets with its own output. The so-called piatiletka (five-year plan) was to serve this purpose. In addition, bolshevism was lucky that after the dictatorship of a man of Lenin’s stature there came the equally formidable Stalin. It is a very rare, perhaps the only such case in history – and it should not be expected that after Stalin’s death a man worthy of his two predecessors will arrive.
And even if they could find such a man, he will not save bolshevism, for in the battle between life and an ideology alien to life it is always life that prevails, and bolshevism goes against life, attempting to turn man into an automaton. […]
The work of Jewish and Russian Bolsheviks, though doomed to perish, has the great advantage that it appeared, to use Gustav le Bon’s terms, in an era when the old gods left the stage. Like a ship that has lost its compass and is swept by winds in all directions, modern man is aimlessly wandering through those spaces which were once inhabited by these gods, and which have now turned into a desert. The science of nature has taught us how infinitely small a thing is man against the enormous universe, how indifferent is nature towards him, how ruthless is the selection whereby the strong, crushing the weak, produce what we call progress. Contrary to claims that science is compatible with religion, science, especially the thriving natural sciences, created an atmosphere where old beliefs were dissolved and vanished. After short bursts of enthusiasm for science with its present and future blessings, there came a skepticism murderous of will, followed by a philosophical nihilism disguised as relativism. Has anyone heard about a civilization anywhere and at any time that rested on principles regarded as being of relative value? The saddest thing is that today relativism infects the upholders of absolute principles, even Catholics. […]
Do they not see that bolshevism is a counter-religion, a “counter-Church” with its red pope in Moscow? However, if the intelligentsia can content themselves with relativism, the masses want belief. This belief, not in God, but in the divine power of magic words or formulas, is given to them by the Muscovite red pope. The French Revolution bequeathed us three causes: liberty, fraternity, and equality. Liberty is regarded as junk and laughed at; fraternity is out of the question amidst the class war now raging. What remains is equality. […]
What is man, what is his destiny, his end? There are two answers, the Christian one, that God is the end, and the humanist one, that man is the end: theocentrism and anthropocentrism, two legitimate intellectual trends. Anthropocentric humanism, conceiving God pantheistically, was essentially a rebellion against the idea of original sin. But the author admits that it would be an “unfair simplification on our part if we regarded humanism as a gradual, fatal, and unresisted descent on the lowlands of materialism”. Humanism defended itself, fought tragic battles against its own consequences, but the systems it founded, fighting and destroying each other, led to calling into doubt the existence of objective truth, led to relativism! Relativism in the moral sphere denies the absolute character of the ideals of right and wrong. Hence, in the life of an individual it means surrendering to his own nature, his primitive instincts, it is “free love, followed by the perversion of love, then sadism, then crime, various steps, but the same staircase, and on the last step there stands bolshevism, which so masterfully and methodically used the sexual instinct for the purposes of its propaganda”. In the life of society the effect of relativism is subjecting the individual to laws imposed by society; and since the political expression of society is the state wielding all the means of coercion, the priest is being supplanted with a policeman. This ideal is already being instituted; we are observing it with our own very eyes.
In a word, Europe is going through the tragedy of gradually losing the illusions that have hitherto guided its life. As its aim it took up man, that is, humanity, reason, nature, science, taking control of the material world, statehood, the well-being of the disadvantaged – noble things but only as means to the ultimate aim, to God. Today we see that man is not good, that reason is not infallible, that nature is indifferent, that science can in equal measure be employed towards right and wrong ends. Matter overwhelms the spirit, the state overwhelms the nation; classes are soulless tyrannies. Some unknown forces carry us towards unknown ends; we succumb to spiritual defeatism.
There is one solution: return to the point we started from, to God, to the Christian idea, perceiving man as a creature carrying within himself an image of God and destined for supernatural goals, and not as a biological entity. The Christian idea requires an authority standing guard to God’s Law. It is either one or the other: a spiritual authority or physical coercion. What is better: an order coming from above or this horrible organization which grips in its vise from below, “rationalizes”, “homogenizes”, threatens with killing off the spirit?
In the face of the common enemy and the common danger of the progressing dechristianization of the world, let all Christians, regardless of their denomination, make a joint effort based on the belief that without Christianity there can be no civilization.