I'd just started at IBM a few days before this address. Fresh out of college, other than a moderate level of Christian faith, a poster child for the materialist decadence Solzhenitsyn calls out.
This was the last time that Harvard allowed anyone that wasn't a "liberal in good standing", and usually an intellectual lightweight as well (this year it is Oprah) to take their "pulpit". In 1978 the "Iron Information Curtain" fell one more notch after this speech. It continued the trend from "God and Man At Yale" by Buckley in the '50s, and "The Closing of the American Mind" by Bloom documenting the '60s. The trend that would continue as religion was ever removed from the public square, and the voices of those that would stand for the necessary connection of man to God would be silenced in the academy as the once great America became ever more ruled by "The Party" (D).
This is all WELL worth the 20min it takes to read it. Solzhenitsyn was a prophet. He foresaw that the USSR was so corrupt it would not stand, and he foresaw that the west would lack the courage and conviction to deal with the terrorist/Muslim scourge. He saw the shape of our decline and suspected as I do that the odds against the recovery of civilization, at least without hundreds or thousands of years of a "Dark Age" ruled by evil were very long.
This paragraph is just a teaser. I strongly recommend reading it all!
"To such consciousness, man is the touchstone in judging and evaluating everything on earth. Imperfect man, who is never free of pride, self-interest, envy, vanity, and dozens of other defects. We are now experiencing the consequences of mistakes which had not been noticed at the beginning of the journey. On the way from the Renaissance to our days we have enriched our experience, but we have lost the concept of a Supreme Complete Entity which used to restrain our passions and our irresponsibility. We have placed too much hope in political and social reforms, only to find out that we were being deprived of our most precious possession: our spiritual life. In the East, it is destroyed by the dealings and machinations of the ruling party. In the West, commercial interests tend to suffocate it. This is the real crisis. The split in the world is less terrible than the similarity of the disease plaguing its main sections."
'via Blog this'