George Orwell Quotes

By | 03.04.2022
orwell-quotes

Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.George Orwell Quotes

Spending the night out of doors has nothing attractive about it in London, especially for a poor, ragged, undernourished wretch. Moreover sleeping in the open is only allowed in one thoroughfare in London. If the policeman on his beat finds you asleep, it is his duty to wake you up. That is because it has been found that a sleeping man succumbs to the cold more easily than a man who is awake, and England could not let one of her sons die in the street. So you are at liberty to spend the night in the street, providing it is a sleepless night. But there is one road where the homeless are allowed to sleep. Strangely, it is the Thames Embankment, not far from the Houses of Parliament. We advise all those visitors to England who would like to see the reverse side of our apparent prosperity to go and look at those who habitually sleep on the Embankment, with their filthy tattered clothes, their bodies wasted by disease, a living reprimand to the Parliament in whose shadow they lie.

Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past. George Orwell, 1984

People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf. George Orwell

Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four.

Beggars in London”, in Le Progrès Civique (12 January 1929), translated into English by Janet Percival and Ian Willison

He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.

In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act. George Orwell

The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history. George Orwell

Freedom of speech is real.

This means no more than vae victis – woe to the creed that is not backed by machine-guns!

War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. George Orwell, Animal Farm

Oceania was at war with Eurasia; therefore Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia. George Orwell quotes

He is a slave with a semblance of liberty which is worse than the most cruel slavery.

To the well-fed it seems cowardly to complain of tight boots, because the well-fed live in a different world-a world where, if your boots are tight, you can change them; their minds are not warped by petty discomfort. But below a certain income the petty crowds the large out of existence; one’s preoccupation is not with art or religion, but with bad food, hard beds, drudgery and the sack. Serenity is impossible to a poor man in a cold country and even his active thoughts will go in more or less sterile complaint.

War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength. George Orwell, 1984

Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. George Orwell

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.

And once, in spite of the men who gripped him by each shoulder, he stepped slightly aside to avoid a puddle on the path. It is curious, but till that moment I had never realised what it means to destroy a healthy, conscious man. When I saw the prisoner step aside to avoid the puddle, I saw the mystery, the unspeakable wrongness, of cutting a life short when it is in full tide. This man was not dying, he was alive just as we were alive. All the organs of his body were working – bowels digesting food, skin renewing itself, nails growing, tissues forming – all toiling away in solemn foolery. His nails would still be growing when he stood on the drop, when he was falling through the air with a tenth of a second to live. His eyes saw the yellow gravel and the grey walls, and his brain still remembered, foresaw, reasoned – reasoned even about puddles. He and we were a party of men walking together, seeing, hearing, feeling, understanding the same world; and in two minutes, with a sudden snap, one of us would be gone – one mind less, one world less.

Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.

We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. George Orwell

In every one of those little stucco boxes, there”s some poor bastard who”s never free except when he”s fast asleep and dreaming.

In England, a century of strong government has developed what O. Henry called the stern and rugged fear of the police to a point where any public protest seems an indecency. But in France everyone can remember a certain amount of civil disturbance, and even the workmen in the bistros talk of la revolution — meaning the next revolution, not the last one. The highly socialised modern mind, which makes a kind of composite god out of the rich, the government, the police and the larger newspapers, has not been developed — at least not yet.

Looking at the whole world as a whole, the drift for many decades has been not towards anarchy but towards the reimposition of slavery.

As to a pseudonym, a name I always use when tramping etc is P. S. Burton, but if you don’t think this sounds a probable kind of name, what about Kenneth Miles, George Orwell, H. Lewis Allways. I rather favour George Orwell.

The best books… are those that tell you what you know already

The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which. George Orwell, Animal Farm

Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. George Orwell

No one can get up much enthusiasm for a Government which puts you in jail if you open your mouth

Man is not a Yahoo, but he is rather like a Yahoo and needs to be reminded of it from time to time.

If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself. George Orwell, 1984

If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever. George Orwell

The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better. 1984

Think of life as it really is, think of the details of life; and then think that there is no meaning in it, no purpose, no goal except the grave. Surely only fools or self-deceivers, or those whose lives are exceptionally fortunate, can face that thought without flinching?

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. 1984

The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history. George Orwell

Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper. George Orwell

The fallacy is to believe that under a dictatorial government you can be free inside.

It is a mysterious thing, the loss of faith-as mysterious as faith itself. Like faith, it is ultimately not rooted in logic; it is a change in the climate of the mind.

But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. George Orwell, 1984

Every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac. George Orwell

The imagination, like certain wild animals, will not breed in captivity.

There is a geographical element in all belief-saying what seem profound truths in India have a way of seeming enormous platitudes in England, and vice versa. Perhaps the fundamental difference is that beneath a tropical sun individuality seems less distinct and the loss of it less important.

If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever. George Orwell, 1984

The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it. George Orwell

There was a belief in the revolution and the future, a feeling of having suddenly emerged into an era of equality and freedom.

I am struck again by the fact that as soon as a working man gets an official post in the Trade Union or goes into Labour politics, he becomes middle-class whether he will or no. ie. by fighting against the bourgeoisie he becomes a bourgeois. The fact is that you cannot help living in the manner appropriate and developing the ideology appropriate to your income.

What is needed is the right to print what one believes to be true, without having to fear bullying or blackmail from any side.

For the dreadful thing about the kind of brutalities here described, is that they are quite unavoidable. When a subject population rises in revolt you have got to suppress it, and you can only do so by methods which make nonsense of any claim for the superiority of western civilisation. In order to rule over barbarians, you have got to become a barbarian yourself.

Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness. George Orwell, 1984

Those who ‘abjure’ violence can do so only because others are committing violence on their behalf. George Orwell

Will the man in the street ever feel that freedom of the mind is as important and as much in need of being defended as his daily bread?

In a town like London there are always plenty of not quite certifiable lunatics walking the streets, and they tend to gravitate towards bookshops, because a bookshop is one of the few places where you can hang about for a long time without spending any money.

Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. George Orwell, 1984

All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting. George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia

You are free to be a drunkard, an idler, a coward, a backbiter, a fornicator; but you are not free to think for yourself.

In addition to this there is the horrible — the really disquieting — prevalence of cranks wherever Socialists are gathered together. One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words ‘Socialism’ and ‘Communism’ draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, ‘Nature Cure’ quack, pacifist, and feminist in England.

You just got to say to yourself, “I”m a free man in here” – he tapped his forehead – “and you”re all right”.

War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.

Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence. In other words, it is war minus the shooting. George Orwell

A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors are not victims, but accomplices.

Every war, when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defence against a homicidal maniac.

Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious. George Orwell, 1984

Happiness can exist only in acceptance. George Orwell

A society becomes totalitarian when its structure becomes flagrantly artificial: that is when its ruling class has lost its function but succeeds in clinging to power by force or fraud.

The essential job is to get people to recognise war propaganda when they see it, especially when it is disguised as peace propaganda.

The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection. George Orwell, In Front of Your Nose: 1945-1950

Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me. George Orwell, 1984

Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. George Orwell

By preaching the doctrine that nothing is to be admired except the steel and concrete, one merely makes it a little surer that human beings will have no outlet for their surplus energy except in hatred and leader worship.

One is almost driven to the cynical conclusion that men are only decent when they are powerless.

Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one. George Orwell, 1984

In the face of pain there are no heroes. George Orwell, 1984

Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it. George Orwell

If there are certain pages of Mr Bertrand Russell’s book, Power, which seem rather empty, that is merely to say that we have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men. It is not merely that at present the rule of naked force obtains almost everywhere. Probably that has always been the case. Where this age differs from those immediately preceding it is that a liberal intelligentsia is lacking.

Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.

Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing. George Orwell, 1984

To survive it is often necessary to fight and to fight you have to dirty yourself. George Orwell

It is quite possible that we are descending into an age in which two plus two will make five when the Leader says so.

If you loved someone, you loved him, and when you had nothing else to give, you still gave him love.

It appears to me that one defeats the fanatic precisely by not being a fanatic oneself, but on the contrary by using one”s intelligence.

Acceptance of the Catholic position implies a certain willingness to see the present injustices of society continue… Individual salvation implies liberty, which is always extended by Catholic writers to include the right to private property. But in the stage of industrial development which we have now reached, the right to private property means the right to exploit and torture millions of one’s fellow creatures. The Socialist would argue, therefore, that one can only defend property if one is more or less indifferent to economic justice.

Being in a minority, even in a minority of one, did not make you mad. There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad. George Orwell, 1984

The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labor. George Orwell

Political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question begging and sheer cloudy vagueness.

Has it ever struck you that there’s a thin man inside every fat man, just as they say there’s a statue inside every block of stone?

Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. George Orwell, 1984

The atom bombs are piling up in the factories, the police are prowling through the cities, the lies are streaming from the loudspeakers, but the earth is still going round the sun. George Orwell

The past is a curious thing. It’s with you all the time. I suppose an hour never passes without your thinking of things that happened ten or twenty years ago, and yet most of the time it’s got no reality, it’s just a set of facts that you’ve learned, like a lot of stuff in a history book. Then some chance sight or sound or smell, especially smell, sets you going, and the past doesn’t merely come back to you, you’re actually in the past.

Big Brother is Watching You

Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. George Orwell, Animal Farm

Perhaps a man really dies when his brain stops, when he loses the power to take in a new idea.

Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. George Orwell

In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.’ All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia. George Orwell

It is not possible for any thinking person to live in such a society as our own without wanting to change it.

It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. George Orwell, 1984

Adults are only less superstitious than children in proportion as they have more power over their environment. In predicaments where everyone is powerless (eg war, gambling) everyone is superstitious

Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness. George Orwell

There is something wrong with a regime that requires a pyramid of corpses every few years.

Mr Auden’s brand of amoralism is only possible if you are the kind of person who is always somewhere else when the trigger is pulled. So much of left-wing thought is a kind of playing with fire by people who don’t even know that fire is hot.

Threats to freedom of speech, writing, and action, though often trivial in isolation, are cumulative in their effect, and unless checked, lead to a general disrespect for the rights of the citizen.

[Hitler] has grasped the falsity of the hedonistic attitude to life. Nearly all western thought since the last war, certainly all “progressive” thought, has assumed tacitly that human beings desire nothing beyond ease, security, and avoidance of pain. In such a view of life there is no room, for instance, for patriotism and the military virtues. The Socialist who finds his children playing with soldiers is usually upset, but he is never able to think of a substitute for the tin soldiers; tin pacifists somehow won’t do. Hitler, because in his own joyless mind he feels it with exceptional strength, knows that human beings don’t only want comfort, safety, short working-hours, hygiene, birth-control and, in general, common sense; they also, at least intermittently, want struggle and self-sacrifice, not to mention drums, flags and loyalty-parades. However they may be as economic theories, Fascism and Nazism are psychologically far sounder than any hedonistic conception of life. The same is probably true of Stalin’s militarised version of Socialism. All three of the great dictators have enhanced their power by imposing intolerable burdens on their peoples. Whereas Socialism, and even capitalism in a grudging way, have said to people “I offer you a good time,” Hitler has said to them “I offer you struggle, danger and death,” and as a result a whole nation flings itself at his feet.

I enjoy talking to you. Your mind appeals to me. It resembles my own mind except that you happen to be insane. George Orwell, 1984

Patriotism is usually stronger than class hatred, and always stronger than internationalism. George Orwell quotes

We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it.

I should say that it is a good rule of thumb never to mention religion if you can possibly avoid it.

For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable – what then? George Orwell, 1984

As with the Christian religion, the worst advertisement for Socialism is its adherents. George Orwell

It is all very well to be “advanced” and “enlightened,” to snigger at Colonel Blimp and proclaim your emancipation from all traditional loyalties, but a time comes when the sand of the desert is sodden red and what have I done for thee, England, my England? As I was brought up in this tradition myself I can recognise it under strange disguises, and also sympathise with it, for even at its stupidest and most sentimental it is a comelier thing than the shallow self-righteousness of the left-wing intelligentsia.

There are some ideas so wrong that only a very intelligent person could believe in them. George Orwell

A world in which it is wrong to murder an individual civilian and right to drop a thousand tons of high explosive on a residential area sometimes make me wonder whether this earth of ours is not a loony bin made use of by some other planet.

National Socialism is a form of Socialism, is emphatically revolutionary, does crush the property owner as surely as it crushes the worker. The two regimes, having started from opposite ends, are rapidly evolving towards the same system—a form of oligarchical collectivism. . . . It is Germany that is moving towards Russia, rather than the other way about. It is therefore nonsense to talk about Germany ‘going Bolshevik’ if Hitler falls. Germany is going Bolshevik because of Hitler and not in spite of him.

Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious. George Orwell

Bully-worship, under various disguises, has become a universal religion, and such truisms as that a machine-gun is still a machine-gun even when a ‘good’ man is squeezing the trigger… have turned into heresies which it is actually becoming dangerous to utter.

From the first the aim of the Nazis was to turn Germany into a war-machine, and to subordinate everything else to that purpose. But a country, and especially a poor country, which is waging or preparing for ‘total’ war must be in some sense socialistic. When the State has taken complete control of industry, when the so-called capitalist is reduced to the status of a manager, when consumption goods are so scare and strictly rationed that you cannot spend a big income even if you earn one, then the essential structure of Socialism already exists, plus the comfortless equality of war-Communism.

Orthodoxy means not thinking–not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness. George Orwell, 1984

We are in a strange period of history in which a revolutionary has to be a patriot and a patriot has to be a revolutionary.

Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull.  George Orwell, 1984

I’m fat, but I’m thin inside… there’s a thin man inside every fat man. George Orwell

In general, the greater the understanding, the greater the delusion; the more intelligent, the less sane.

Even as it stands, the Home Guard could only exist in a country where men feel themselves free. The totalitarian states can do great things, but there is one thing they cannot do: they cannot give the factory-worker a rifle and tell him to take it home and keep it in his bedroom. THAT RIFLE HANGING ON THE WALL OF THE WORKING-CLASS FLAT OR LABOURER’S COTTAGE, IS THE SYMBOL OF DEMOCRACY. IT IS OUR JOB TO SEE THAT IT STAYS THERE.

Four legs good, two legs bad. George Orwell, Animal Farm

Society has always to demand a little more from human beings than it will get in practice.

On the whole human beings want to be good, but not too good, and not quite all the time. George Orwell, All Art is Propaganda: Critical Essays

A tragic situation exists precisely when virtue does not triumph but when it is still felt that man is nobler than the forces which destroy him. George Orwell

The peculiarity of the totalitarian state is that though it controls thought, it does not fix it. It sets up unquestionable dogmas, and it alters them from day to day. It needs the dogmas, because it needs absolute obedience from its subjects, but cannot avoid the changes, which are dictated by the needs of power politics. It declared itself infallible, and at the same time it attacks the very concept of objective truth.

We do not merely destroy our enemies; we change them. George Orwell, 1984

At fifty everyone has the face he deserves. George Orwell

Civilisation rests ultimately on coercion. What holds society together is not the policeman but the goodwill of common men, and yet that goodwill is powerless unless the policeman is there to back it up. Any government which refused to use violence in its own defence would cease almost immediately to exist, because it would be overthrown by any body of men, or even any individual, that was less scrupulous.

The only good human being is a dead one. George Orwell, Animal Farm

Most people get a fair amount of fun out of their lives, but on balance life is suffering, and only the very young or the very foolish imagine otherwise. George Orwell

Since pacifists have more freedom of action in countries where traces of democracy survive, pacifism can act more effectively against democracy than for it. Objectively the pacifist is pro-Nazi.

Confession is not betrayal. What you say or do doesn’t matter; only feelings matter. If they could make me stop loving you-that would be the real betrayal. George Orwell, 1984

Whatever is funny is subversive, every joke is ultimately a custard pie… a dirty joke is a sort of mental rebellion. George Orwell

Pacifism is only a considerable force in places where people feel themselves very safe, chiefly maritime states. […] The notion that you can somehow defeat violence by submitting to it is simply a flight from fact. As I have said, it is only possible to people who have money and guns between themselves and reality.

Sanity is not statistical. George Orwell, 1984

The choice before human beings, is not, as a rule, between good and evil but between two evils. You can let the Nazis rule the world: that is evil; or you can overthrow them by war, which is also evil. There is no other choice before you, and whichever you choose you will not come out with clean hands.

A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: 1. What am I trying to say? 2. What words will express it? 3. What image or idiom will make it clearer? 4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect? George Orwell, Politics and the English Language

The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them. George Orwell

I have now been in the BBC about 6 months. Shall remain in it if the political changes I foresee come off, otherwise probably not. Its atmosphere is something halfway between a girls’ school and a lunatic asylum, and all we are doing at present is useless, or slightly worse than useless.

Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right. George Orwell, 1984

Liberal: a power worshipper without power. George Orwell

In this war we have one weapon which our enemies cannot use against us, and that is the English language. Several other languages are spoken by larger numbers of people, but there is no other that has any claim to be a world-wide lingua franca.

To die hating them, that was freedom. George Orwell, 1984

We may find in the long run that tinned food is a deadlier weapon than the machine-gun. George Orwell

The distinguishing mark of a man is the hand, the instrument with which he does all his mischief.

Everyone believes in the atrocities of the enemy and disbelieves in those of his own side, without ever bothering to examine the evidence.

A family with the wrong members in control; that, perhaps, is as near as one can come to describing England in a phrase. George Orwell

You and I both know that there can be no real solution of the Indian problem which does not also benefit Britain. Either we all live in a decent world, or nobody does. It is so obvious, is it not, that the British worker as well as the Indian peasant stands to gain by the ending of capitalist exploitation, and that Indian independence is a lost cause if the Fascist nations are allowed to dominate the world.

Several of them would have protested if they could have found the right arguments. George Orwell, Animal Farm

The existing social order is a swindle and its cherished beliefs mostly delusions.

It was thinking of people like him [William Empson] that made me rather angry about what you said of the BBC, though God knows I have the best means of judging what a mixture of whoreshop and lunatic asylum it is for the most part.

Of pain you could wish only one thing: that it should stop. Nothing in the world was so bad as physical pain. George Orwell, 1984

Progress is not an illusion, it happens, but it is slow and invariably disappointing. George Orwell

The nation is bound together by an invisible chain.

Both men were the spiritual children of Voltaire, both had an ironical, sceptical view of life, and a native pessimism overlaid by gaiety; both knew that the existing social order is a swindle and its cherished beliefs mostly delusions.

The object of terrorism is terrorism. The object of oppression is oppression. The object of torture is torture. The object of murder is murder. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me? George Orwell, 1984

War is evil, but it is often the lesser evil. George Orwell quotes

Nearly all creators of Utopia have resembled the man who has toothache, and therefore thinks happiness consists in not having toothache. They wanted to produce a perfect society by an endless continuation of something that had only been valuable because it was temporary. The wider course would be to say that there are certain lines along which humanity must move, the grand strategy is mapped out, but detailed prophecy is not our business. Whoever tries to imagine perfection simply reveals his own emptiness.

This work was strictly voluntary, but any animal who absented himself from it would have his rations reduced by half. George Orwell, Animal Farm

Myths which are believed in tend to become true. George Orwell

To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.

From Carlyle onwards, but especially in the last generation, the British intelligentsia have tended to take their ideas from Europe and have been infected by habits of thought that derive ultimately from Machiavelli.  All the cults that have been fashionable in the last dozen years, Communism, Fascism, and pacifism, are in the last analysis forms of power worship.

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns, as it were, instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink. George Orwell

We have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.

Mr Noyes remarks at the beginning of his book that one cannot cast out devils with the aid of Beelzebub, but he is also extremely angry because anti-British books can still be published in England and praised in British newspapers. Does it not occur to him that if we stop doing this kind of thing the main difference between ourselves and our enemies would have disappeared?

No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be? George Orwell, Animal Farm

No advance in wealth, no softening of manners, no reform or revolution has ever brought human equality a millimeter nearer. George Orwell

Shortly, Professor Hayek’s thesis is that Socialism inevitably leads to despotism, and that in Germany the Nazis were able to succeed because the Socialists had already done most of their work for them, especially the intellectual work of weakening the desire for liberty. By bringing the whole of life under the control of the State, Socialism necessarily gives power to an inner ring of bureaucrats, who in almost every case will be men who want power for its own sake and will stick at nothing in order to retain it. Britain, he says, is now going the same road as Germany, with the left-wing intelligentsia in the van and the Tory Party a good second. The only salvation lies in returning to an unplanned economy, free competition, and emphasis on liberty rather than on security. In the negative part of Professor Hayek’s thesis there is a great deal of truth. It cannot be said too often — at any rate, it is not being said nearly often enough — that collectivism is not inherently democratic, but, on the contrary, gives to a tyrannical minority such powers as the Spanish Inquisitors never dreamed of.

All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

Between them these two books sum up our present predicament.  Capitalism leads to dole queues, the scramble for markets, and war.  Collectivism leads to concentration camps, leader worship, and war.  There is no way out of this unless a planned economy can somehow be combined with the freedom of the intellect, which can only happen if the concept of right and wrong is restored to politics.

The masses never revolt of their own accord, and they never revolt merely because they are oppressed. Indeed, so long as they are not permitted to have standards of comparison, they never even become aware that they are oppressed. George Orwell, 1984

What can you do against the lunatic who is more intelligent than yourself, who gives your arguments a fair hearing and then simply persists in his lunacy? George Orwell

In England such concepts as justice, liberty and objective truth are still believed in. They may be illusions, but they are very powerful illusions.

Secondly there is the fact that the intellectuals are more totalitarian in outlook than the common people. On the whole the English intelligentsia have opposed Hitler, but only at the price of accepting Stalin. Most of them are perfectly ready for dictatorial methods, secret police, systematic falsification of history etc. so long as they feel that it is on ‘our’ side.

Saints should always be judged guilty until they are proved innocent. George Orwell

Intellectual honesty is a crime in any totalitarian country; but even in England it is not exactly profitable to speak and write the truth.

Of course, fanatical Communists and Russophiles generally can be respected, even if they are mistaken.  But for people like ourselves, who suspect that something has gone very wrong with the Soviet Union, I consider that willingness to criticize Russia and Stalin is the test of intellectual honesty.  It is the only thing that from a literary intellectual’s point of view is really dangerous.

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