The eleventh week of our We the Living Study Group on Facebook ended with Part II – Chapter 15, and with Gen Z’s Kira asking herself about Andrei’s suicide. While attending his state sponsored celebration of the ultimate self-sacrifice, “Kira Argounova stood without moving and listened attentively. Her eyes held a question she hoped the world could answer. She wondered whether she had killed him, or the revolution had, or both.” Yet, among the crowd there was widespread ambivalence,
The Field of Victims of the Revolution was in the heart of the city, on the shore of the Neva, a vast, white desert stretching a half mile. A bald spot on the scalp of Petrograd. A woman hissed, “What do they have to commit suicide about? Who the hell was he, anyway?”
Andrei Taganov was someone who had not yet failed the Krylenko test. Nikolai Krylenko was president of the supreme tribunal for prosecuting military trials in 1920’s Soviet Russia. As the leading enforcer of “socialist legality,” his courts determined a person’s continued existence on political whim.
Today we call it social justice, and it’s most prolific apologist is Edward R. Murrow award winner Keith Olbermann. One week after leaving Disney owned ESPN, this perfect storm of anger, ignorance, and arrogance declared on October 8th,
The task is twofold, the terrorist Trump must be destroyed, and he and his collaborators – the Williams Barr’s, the Kyle Rittenhouse’s, and the Amy Coney Barrett’s must be prosecuted, convicted, and removed from our society while we try to rebuild it!
For contrast, on October 15th, Dr. Leonard Peikoff, giant of philosophy and intellectual heir to Ayn Rand, was celebrated on the occasion of his 87th birthday as the perfect storm of reason, humor, and generosity. In a small aside during his first-ever zoom conference, he inserted independently, “I am voting for Trump, thank you.” Yet last week, the Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary committee proceeded to give Judge Barrett the Krylenko treatment, implicitly demanding she toe their Party line for approval to the US Supreme Court.
Hoping to crack her independent virtues, Judge Barrett was steel, and steel doesn’t lie. The moral corruption and hubris of these Senators was best described by Kira’s cousin Victor at Andrei’s memorial. A Soviet sellout himself,
Our only aim is the honest toil which profits no one, but all. The lesson we are to learn here today is a Party that rules by sacrificing itself to those it rules.
Today we call it servant leadership, “for a more just and caring world,” by golly. As its progenitor Robert Greenleaf explained, “The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served.” Of course, “other people” is ambiguous, and one’s highest priorities are their own, if they so choose.
Servant leadership implies we are poor, dumb slobs in the chaos of existence; desperate for benevolent dictators in a malevolent universe, or as Kira protested to Andrei in Chapter 13, “you’ve tried to tell us what we should want.” No matter, the important thing is for the independent virtues of the leader to be sacrificed for the “goodness of humanity.”
In contrast, when Kira first met Leo early in Part I, her subconscious mind immediately recognized his independence,
Kira leaned against a lamp post, looking straight at his face, and smiled. She did not think; she smiled, stunned, without realizing she was hoping he would know her as she knew him.
When Kira subsequently met Andrei, she subconsciously also recognized his independence,
She stared up into two gray eyes that looked like the eyes of a tamed tiger. For one short second, they looked at each other, silent, hostile, startled by each other’s eyes.
However, Kira did not smile at Andrei. Instead, during their second encounter, she asked, “Don’t you know that we live only for ourselves, the best of us do, those who are worthy of it? Comrade Taganov, how much you have to learn!” After Leo’s arrest by Andrei’s goons in Part II – Chapter 13, she tells him,
No, you didn’t know. But it was simple. Go where men live in your Red cities and see how many cases like this you can find. (Leo) wanted to live. You think everything that breathes can live? You’ve learned differently, I know.
For Kira, her life, and Leo’s, were primary standards of value. The alternative was to cease to exist. They were exceptional because they took ownership of their futures. “Now look at me! I was born and I knew I was alive and I knew what I wanted. Something that knows how to want, isn’t that life itself?” Regarding the State as the highest standard, she asks Andrei, “Do we want the crippled, creepy, crawling, broken monstrosities that we’re producing? Are we not castrating life in order to perpetuate it?”
In the Red cities of 2020 Democratic party teacher’s unions, their creepy monstrosities march, chant, loot, burn, and kill. These selfless “peaceful protestors” are the State heroes for Victor Dunaev’s “honest toil which profits no one.” No kidding. Yet, Kira demands Andrei recognize the ones who may be fighting for their own independence,
Aren’t those who know how to live, aren’t they too precious to be sacrificed in the name of any cause? What cause is greater than those who fight for it? And aren’t those who know how to fight, aren’t they the cause and not the means?
This amazing chain of events, masterfully crafted by Ayn Rand, begins in Chapter 10. There, Timoshenko delivers Poetic Justice to Morozov’s face when he learns that he’s the ultimate victim. In Chapter 11, Andrei exposes Pavel’s corruption to his Soviet chief, and in Chapter 12, Leo challenges Andrei’s veneer of integrity. Yet it is in Chapter 13 when Kira blows up their entire house of cards. She tells Andrei how and why she had to use him to save Leo,
There was a big commissar and I went to see him. He told me, why couldn’t one aristocrat die in the face of the USSR? I’m grateful to that commissar. He gave me permission to do what I’ve done. I don’t hate him. You should hate him. What I’m doing to you – he did it first!
Now Kira wondered if the revolution had ended Andrei’s existence, or had she? Neither, Andrei had chosen reverence for the other-worldly ideals of “others” that necessarily suffocate the human spirit.