Madison Senior Fellowships

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By George Weigel

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The James Madison Foundation’s two senior fellows, Joshua Muravchik and David Satter, are both at work on projects that we hope will be of interest to our readers.

Dr. Muravchik, a Ph.D. graduate of Georgetown University, is the author of The Uncertain Crusade: Jimmy Carter and the Dilemmas of Human Rights Policy (Hamilton Press 1986), and the former executive director of the Coalition for a Democratic Majority. His essays and reviews have appeared in Foreign Affairs, Commentary, the New Republic, the New York Times Magazine, and a host of other publications. Dr. Muravchik is currently writing a book on how American private, independent, and public-sector organizations can help build democracy in countries making the transition from dictatorial rule.

David Satter, who is currently based in Paris, was a Rhodes scholar at Balliol from 1968 to 1971, after studies at the University of Chicago. He was Moscow correspondent for the Financial Times of London from 1976 to 1982, and has been a special correspondent on Soviet affairs for the Wall Street Journal since leaving the Financial Times. He describes his Madison Fellowship project, a “book about the internal life of the Soviet Union based on the real experiences of hundreds of Soviet citizens whom I knew during the six years that I worked in Moscow,” in these terms:

“On one level, the book will be a portrait of the Soviet Union, relying on description, dialogue, and an account of my own experiences to convey the atmosphere of the Soviet Union not only in Moscow but in many other Soviet cities which I visited, including such remote and seldom-visited places as Shadrinsk, Vologda, Chernobyl, and Veliky Luky. At a deeper level, however, it will seek to make a fundamental argument about the nature of the Soviet system, specifically that the essence of the Soviet system is an attempt to create a false substitute for reality which is consistent with the precepts of the Soviet ideology, and to impose that false understanding of reality by force.”

Satter’s book will include a section on “those who retain an appreciation of genuine reality,” with attention to the situation of dissidents, intellectuals, Jews, nationalists, the unofficial peace movement, and the members of Moscow’s foreign community. In his final chapter, Satter “will argue that the greatest source of strength in the Soviet regime is the ideological mentality of the Soviet people themselves and that, as a result, the best weapon against communism is the forceful expression of an alternative idea.”

We shall keep readers of AMERICAN PURPOSE informed of the progress of the Muravchik and Satter projects, both of which will advance the debate over peace, freedom, and America’s purposes in the world.

George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. and holds EPPC’s William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies.