‘Live Not By Lies’ News
What are you doing today at 1pm Eastern? I’d like to invite you to join the online seminar sponsored by the Victims Of Communism Memorial Foundation, in which the scholar Flagg Taylor and I will be discussing Live Not By Lies, and the meaning of the European dissident movement generally. Flagg is close to the Benda family, whom I’ve celebrated in two books now, and is the editor of The Long Night of the Watchman, the English language edition of the late Vaclav Benda’s essays. It’s free to watch it online, but you need to register here.
I’m happy to report that last week, we crossed the 100,000 threshold in the numbers of Live Not By Lies copies sold. Thank you all so much for your support. This book has sold so well — better than any of my previous books by far — without coverage in the mainstream media. It is moving primarily by word of mouth. I keep hearing from people that they encountered the book, realized how true and how urgently important its message was, and told everybody they know that they need to get this book. The best advocate for Live Not By Lies has been the news cycle, as it becomes impossible for people to deny the advance of soft totalitarianism.
But some still are. Yesterday I had two separate conversations with Evangelical friends who report running into a wall of denial in their respective churches. One is dealing with his own congregation, and the other is dealing with a broader church body, but both report that too many people are still wanting to believe that everything is normal, and will work out fine if we just sit still and wait. One of my friends said church leaders he’s talking to want to avoid talking about any of this, because it feels too controversial. Fear of controversy is going to be fatal for traditional Christians. The wolves really are at the door.
In the book, I talk about how Slovak Catholic bishops chastised Father Tomislav Kolakovic, and told him to stop alarming the laity in the 1943-46 period, with his talk about how the Communists were going to take power in that country, and persecute the Church. It can’t happen here, they said. Thankfully, Father Kolakovic did not listen to them, and continued his work building the rudiments of an underground church. When the Iron Curtain fell over Czechoslovakia, and the persecution began, some Slovak Catholics were ready for it because they listened to Father Kolakovic, and not the don’t worry, be happy bromides of their bishops.
So it is with us.
I have other news. I wanted to pass along an exciting update, and an invitation to get involved.
I have just partnered with like-minded film producers based in Los Angeles to develop video content and a documentary project inspired by Live Not By Lies. The book has struck a resonant chord with Christians and others who recognize that some form of left-wing totalitarianism — that is, an ideological attempt to impose conformity on the population, and to suppress, even persecute, dissenters, especially religious ones — is emerging now. We want to make a documentary about the experiences of the dissidents I feature in the book, and others. We want to let them tell their stories, to issue their warnings to the West, and to share their advice for how to prepare. But we want it to be much broader than just a movie.
This spring we will launch Phase One of the content campaign, which involves the creation of an online community of people who have lived under totalitarian regimes around the world. We will be building out this online presence with unique videos, interviews, Q&As, and live streamed events featuring me and other significant cultural voices on the subject of soft totalitarianism, free speech, and invasive technologies.
Concurrently, Phase Two will involve the development of a feature-length documentary film, further exploring the themes and storylines found in the book with a specific additional focus on things like the Christian church in contemporary China and its sphere of influence. In Live Not By Lies, I limited my focus to the churches of the Soviet bloc, because that is where my experience and contacts were. Of course there is a wealth of testimonies from Christians and other anti-communist dissidents from China and other Asian nations, and also from Cuba and now, Venezuela. We want to empower those voices to warn the contemporary West, and the Western churches. In fact, it might even be more important to hear from Chinese Christians, because they are having to live through a persecution aided by modern surveillance technology. What we are going to be dealing with in America is in some ways more like what Chinese Christians and other anti-communist dissidents are dealing with than what the Soviet-bloc believers did.
If you have any interest in participating in these efforts, please reach out and the producers will be in touch about the details: livenotbyliesproject – at – gmail.com.
Again, I thank you all for your interest and support. I deeply believe in the importance of this work, and in its urgency. If you are able to help get the message out, please join us.