Four Legs Good, Two Legs Bad


Cafe Hayek reminds us that today is the 60th anniversary of the publication of George Orwell's Animal Farm.

NEXT: A Menace To Society

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  1. Orwell was my first introduction to libertarianism. Cheers to the anniversery

  2. Lost In Translation, huh? How did Orwell indroduce you to libertarianism?

  3. I’m still trying to figure out how to sing “Beasts of England,” which “sounded like something between “Clementine” and “La Cucuracha.””

    I remember laughing out loud upon reading that description. “1984” may be the better novel, but this will always be the better read.

  4. Well, when reading about the progressive transition of government from free democracy to dominating totalitarianism, it taught me why we should actively fight to limit the control government can have if we wish to preserve our freedom.

    In other words, it was education of one ideal through example of the corruption of another.

  5. If we can’t be more equal than others, then Snowball has won.

  6. panurge,

    From what I’ve read, “Animal Farm” is actually more highly regarded among literary critics than “1984.” Which makes sense. Animal Farm is much more economical, and some of the romantic stuff in 1984 is a bid awkward.

  7. .. if we’re doing authors, then Robert Heinlein has to be thrown into the list .. early, consistent and vocal advocate for the free individual .. probably has influenced my ideals more than any other single person ..

    .. Hobbit

  8. Snowball would have been worse.

  9. Trying to be funny too late in the workday always has poor results. No offense, Lost.

  10. Stevo, did you read Oath of Fealty?

  11. A little while back on another board, someone put forth the proposition that there was no war at all in 1984– that was just another of Oceania’s lies. I recall that Smith saw a film depicting scenes of battle, but I do not recall any of the characters knowing anybody personally who had fought. Thoughts?

  12. Rabbit,

    It does sound roughly familiar, doesn’t it?

  13. It’s been a while since I read the book, but wasn’t there a passage in the book where captured prisoners where paraded in front of the citizens and then later executed? Where did these prisoners come from if they were not captured on from the front lines.

    On the other hand, as I remember, the war had been ongoing for decades but no progress ever seemed to be made. Perhaps there was some collabaration between the 3 powers as a way to keep controll of their respective populations.

  14. People living in Airstrip One wouldn’t have seen any progress being made, which would have consisted of changes in the front lines in Asia and Africa.

    Given the situation of a three superpowers with constantly shifting alliances, a stalemate could have continued for decades even without collaboration.

  15. This seems appropriate here.


  16. Rabbit–

    If you recall, Julia also suggested that the war was a fake, and that the bombs and missiles which fell on Oceania (but only ever seemed to land in the poor neighborhoods) were fired by the government to keep the people properly scared.

  17. Actually, now that I think of it, I always wondered how Airstrip 1 could be bombed if the frontlines were in Africa.

  18. My favorite aspect of 1984 is the way Orwell describes how the various governments describe the “ideology” of the other governments, especially the “death-cult” of Eastasia. A very English way of describing the sly Chinee…
    and oh-so-similar to the “ideology of death” talk in the US right now.

  19. alkurta, Orwell wrote 1984 shortly after World War 2. People far away from the front lines were getting their cities bombed all the time, and the city-busting nuclear arms race was the hot new thing in military strategery.

  20. Jesse Walker makes a good point. I’m not familiar with all the minutiae of Orwell’s work, so I don’t know if he criticized Trotsky in his lesser-known essays or private letters, but if the portrayls of Snowball in ANIMAL FARM and Goldstein in 1984 are any indication, he never quite seemed to realize that Trotsky was also a nasty piece of work.

  21. Matthew Hogan: Glad to hear it, even if the ISR wasn’t.

  22. Julia also suggested that the war was a fake, and that the bombs and missiles which fell on Oceania (but only ever seemed to land in the poor neighborhoods) were fired by the government to keep the people properly scared.

    It just occurred to me… Remember the passage where the proles are described as having an ability to sense when one of the missiles (described as supersonic and thus unhearable before impact, like the V2s) was about to hit? I have to wonder if that might have been meant to imply unconscious perception of a schedule of fake bombings…

    Though admittedly, it also fits with the openly stated situation of supersonic missiles being used by the enemy.

  23. And Matthew: that quote calling Animal Farm reactionary is downright heartwarming.

  24. Joe,

    I am aware of the strategic bombing of cities in WWII and when Orwell wrote 1984.

    When I read about fighting in Africa, I assumed, perhaps wrongly, that it was in the central and southern part of the continent. If your home cities are being bombed, presumably from France, Germany, and maybe Spain, why aren’t fighting there instead of Africa?

    I guess more evidence that the war was either false or being fought half heartedly.

  25. Rich Ard:

    Stevo, did you read Oath of Fealty?

    Sorry, I didn’t see this until late.

    I did start reading it, shortly after it came out, but I never finished it. This was about the time my interest in the fiction of Larry Niven and Jerry Pournell began to wane. Also, I was probably more interested in exotic aliens and space battles at the time, and since OOF didn’t have any of that, I probably got distracted and read Footfall or something instead.

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