When I proposed writing about Orwell’s birthday I knew it would be a thing. Today I’m having to limit my social media because so many people misconstrue what this great literary giant stood for.
There are self-proclaimed socialists or “democratic socialists” all heralding the fact that George Orwell was a socialist. They are not entirely wrong, but they’re leaving out important facts and telling a half-truth to feel better about themselves. Which is something Orwell warned about.
Yes, he was a socialist for a short time in his youth. He was also an anarchist before that and a fan of British Imperialism before that. But after fighting in 2 wars and witnessing the utter ruin wrought by totalitarianism, communism, and yes, socialism, THEN he wrote his famous titles: Animal farm and 1984.
By the time he wrote these books he was a conservative who rejected all government control. Socialists and “democratic socialists” and modern communists who promote government run health care, education, jobs etc, are all heralding the very thing Orwell warned us against: big governments that are involved in every aspect of our lives.
Half truths are worse than lies because they dress up like honest thoughts and parade around pretending to be noble. They’re more misleading than blatant lies.
Orwell was not the end all be all on politics but he drew many great conclusions. How we utilize them is up to us. No matter where you stand, anyone who goes too far left or right comes back to the same terrors that “Orwellian Nightmares” were created to caution us against. There is no political party that is better than another because each hosts extremists and within those extremes there will always be someone wishing to limit, control, or define others based on their own bias.
The individual is always the most important minority and if we forget that for movements or political parties we forget the entire point of freedom and expression.