Live Not By Lies! (Dreher)

What does it look like when a country becomes more totalitarian? What should Christians do if they’re living in such a country? Those are two questions (among others) that Rod Dreher asks and answers in his very recently published book, Live Not by Lies. The title of the book is based on a paper that Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn published in Moscow on February 12, 1974. In that paper, Solzhenitsyn urged the Russian people not accept all the lies and propaganda that the government compelled the people to accept. Even if one can’t change the world, at least he or she can live by the truth rather than by lies.

Dreher’s book has two main parts: 1) Understanding Soft Totalitarianism and 2) How to Live in Truth. In this book Dreher talks about the brutality of communism in the 20th century Soviet Union, capitalism, “woke”, progressivism, the media, Social Justice, history, family, fellowship, suffering, and so on. Although I don’t agree with everything in it, I have really appreciated this book and do recommend it. This book helps us think about going forward faithfully in our situation here in the United States today. It’s a good book to get Christians thinking about how to face the future here if it becomes more and more anti-Christian and more and more totalitarian.

I’ll blog more on this book later, but here are some of my favorite quotes in it:

“…[L]iberal democracy is degenerating into something resembling the totalitarianism over which it triumphed in the Cold War” (p. xv).

“In therapeutic culture, which has everywhere triumphed, the great sin is to stand in the way of the freedom of others to find happiness as they wish” (p. 13).

“Propaganda helps change the world by creating a false impression of the way the world is” (p. 37).

“We desperately need to throw off the chains of solitude and find the freedom that awaits us in fellowship. The testimony of anti-communist dissidents is clear: Only in solidarity with others can we find the spiritual and communal strength to resist” (p. 181).

“There is always this fallacious belief: ‘It would not be the same here; here such things are impossible.’ Alas, all the evil of the twentieth century is possible everywhere on earth” (Solzhenitsyn, p. x).

Rod Dreher, Live Not by Lies, (New York City: Sentinel, 2020).

Shane Lems
Hammond, WI, 54015

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