Imperceptibly, through decades of gradual erosion, the meaning of life in the West has ceased to be seen as anything more lofty than the 'pursuit of happiness,' a goal that has even been solemnly guaranteed by constitutions. The concepts of good and; evil have been ridiculed for several centuries; banished from common use, they have been replaced by political or class considerations of short-lived value.
It has become embarrassing to appeal to eternal concepts, embarrassing to state that evil makes its home in the individual human heart before it enters a political system. Yet it is not considered shameful to make daily concessions to an integral evil. Judging by the continuing landslide of concessions made before the eyes of our own generation alone, the West is ineluctably slipping toward the abyss. Western societies are losing more and more of their religious essence as they thoughtlessly yield up their younger generation to atheism.
(Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Templetion Lecture, May 10, 1983)