#46. Animal Farm by George Orwell
Animal Farm is an allegorical novella by George Orwell published in England on 17 August 1945. According to Orwell, the book reflects events leading up to and during the Stalin era before the Second World War. Orwell, a democratic socialist, was a critic of Joseph Stalin and hostile to Moscow-directed Stalinism, especially after his experiences with the NKVD and the Spanish Civil War. In a letter to Yvonne Davet, Orwell described Animal Farm as his novel “contre Stalin”.
The original title was Animal Farm: A Fairy Story, but the subtitle was dropped by U.S. publishers for its 1946 publication and subsequently all but one of the translations during Orwell’s lifetime omitted the addition. Other variations in the title include: A Satire and A Contemporary Satire. Orwell suggested the title Union des républiques socialistes animales for the French translation, which recalled the French name of the Soviet Union, Union des républiques socialistes soviétiques, and which abbreviates to URSA, the Latin for “bear”, a symbol of Russia.
Time magazine chose the book as one of the 100 best English-language novels (1923 to 2005); it also places at number 31 on the Modern Library List of Best 20th-Century Novels. It won a Retrospective Hugo Award in 1996 and is also included in the Great Books of the Western World.
The novel addresses not only the corruption of the revolution by its leaders but also how wickedness, indifference, ignorance, greed and myopia corrupt the revolution. It portrays corrupt leadership as the flaw in revolution, rather than the act of revolution itself. It also shows how potential ignorance and indifference to problems within a revolution could allow horrors to happen if a smooth transition to a people’s government is not achieved.
George Orwell wrote the manuscript in 1943 and 1944 subsequent to his experiences during the Spanish Civil War, which he described in his 1938 Homage to Catalonia. In the preface of a 1947 Ukrainian edition of Animal Farm, he explained how escaping the communist purges in Spain taught him “how easily totalitarian propaganda can control the opinion of enlightened people in democratic countries.” This motivated Orwell to expose and strongly condemn what he saw as the Stalinist corruption of the original socialist ideals.
Immediately prior to his writing, the Ministry of Information had put out a booklet for propagandists with instructions on how to quell ideological fears of the Soviet Union, which included directions to claim that the Red Terror was a figment of Nazi imagination, and Orwell had quit the BBC.
In that preface, Orwell also described what gave him the idea of setting the book on a farm:
“…I saw a little boy, perhaps ten years old, driving a huge carthorse along a narrow path, whipping it whenever it tried to turn. It struck me that if only such animals became aware of their strength we should have no power over them, and that men exploit animals in much the same way as the rich exploit the proletariat.”
Orwell encountered great difficulty getting the manuscript published, as it was feared that the book might upset the alliance between the US, UK and the Soviet Union. Four publishers refused; one had initially accepted the work but declined after consulting the Ministry of Information. Eventually Secker and Warburg published the first edition in 1945.
In the Eastern Bloc both Animal Farm and later, also Nineteen Eighty-Four were on the list of forbidden books up until die Wende in 1989, and were only available via clandestine Samizdat networks.
The novel’s Battle of the Windmill is referred to by Sant Singh Bal as one “of the important episodes which constitute the essence of the plot of the novel.” Harold Bloom writes that the “Battle of the Windmill rings a special bell: the repulse of the Duke of Brunswick in 1792, following the Prussian bombardment that made the windmill of Valmy famous.” By contrast, Peter Edgerly Firchow and Peter Hobley Davison consider that in real life, with events in Animal Farm mirroring those in the Soviet Union, this fictional battle represents the Great Patriotic War (World War II), especially the Battle of Stalingrad and the Battle of Moscow. Prestwick House’s Activity Pack for Animal Farm also identifies the Battle of the Windmill as an allegory for World War II, while noting that the “catalyst for the Battle of the Windmill, though, is less clear.” During the battle, Fredrick drills a hole and places explosives inside, and it is followed by “All the animals, except Napoleon” took cover; Orwell had the publisher alter this from “All the animals, including Napoleon” in recognition of Joseph Stalin’s decision to remain in Moscow during the German advance.
The Battle of the Cowshed represents the allied invasion of the Soviet Russia in 1918, and the defeat of the White Russians in the Russian Civil War. This was the overthrow of the old Russian government based on czars (Mr. Jones). It’s important to note that the violence that was used was not condoned by Marx (old Major) or Orwell, both of which were pacifists.
There were other representations Orwell used to tie the story completely into Russian politics and society. The farmhouse represented the Kremlin, the location where leaders created a distorted view of communism and forced it down the people’s throats. Animalism was a representation of generic Marxism, as expounded upon by old Major, a symbol of Karl Marx. Despite agreeing with the overall concept of equality through socialism, Orwell thought that Marx was naïve in thinking that it would work, as he took no note of the very real thorn of jealousy and greed. Mollie was the symbol of capitalism and her ribbons and sugar represented the luxuries of life enjoyed by the old middle class under the old Russian government.
What I found to be truly interesting was the representation of Sugarcandy Mountain. Orwell uses Sugarcandy Mountain to symbolize the Christian concept of Heaven. Really the Church is criticized in Animal Farm because it is the institution that inspires the animals to work using “lies” and manipulation. Moses, the especial raven of Mr. Jones, and later Napoleon, is the vehicle from which the working class hears about this land where clover and sugar is unmeasured and free to everyone. It’s troubling to many that Orwell thought of the Church in such a cynical way. But once again this shows that Orwell wasn’t loyal or afraid of any system.
And how does this apply to the United States, you might ask? The United States has gradually degenerated from a Republic based on individual liberties to a socialized oligarchy run by an exclusive few. The country was founded upon the platform of individual rights. We declared our independence from Great Britain because of excessive regulation and taxation. Americans fought for the right to live their lives free from the subjugation of an overbearing governmental body. The Founding Fathers declared our independence with these immortal words:
We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Since the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the United States has gone from taking personal responsibility for our own lives to dependence on government to make all decisions in our lives. There are 306 million Americans and we have defaulted on our responsibility for governing this nation to 535 corrupt politicians, 10 “too big to fail” banks, a secretive Central Bank, 17,000 corporate lobbyists, and thousands of government bureaucrats. Essentially 306 million citizens are managed by a few thousand elitist rulers. George Orwell’s classic novel Animal Farm was inspired by a scene he witnessed:
“I saw a little boy, perhaps ten years old, driving a huge carthorse along a narrow path, whipping it whenever it tried to turn. It struck me that if only such animals became aware of their strength we should have no power over them, and that men exploit animals in much the same way as the rich exploit the proletariat.”
Orwell wrote the novel during World War II and published it in 1945. It was a contemptuous indictment of Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union. He recognized that propaganda and abuse of language could smoothly control the opinions of enlightened intellectuals in democratic countries. He saw through the prism of Soviet propaganda to the true evil of Stalin and his KGB Dogs. Intellectuals in Great Britain’s Ministry of Information attempted to censor his right to publish the book because it would offend their supposed ally Joseph Stalin. He knew the truth, while intellectuals were horribly wrong. Stalin murdered 700,000 Russian citizens during the Great Purge of the 1930s.
The plot of Orwell’s Animal Farm is quite simple. It follows the Russian Revolution from 1917 through 1944. Three pigs—Snowball (Leon Trotsky), Napoleon (Joseph Stalin), and Squealer (Vyacheslav Molotov) formulate Old Major’s (Vladimir Lenon) principles into a philosophy called Animalism. The animals defeat the farmer Mr. Jones (Czar Nicholas II) in a battle, running him off the land. They rename the property Animal Farm (Soviet Union). The cart-horse Boxer (Russian working class) devotes himself to the cause with particular passion, committing his great strength to the prosperity of the farm and adopting as a personal axiom the affirmation “I will work harder.” Napoleon (Stalin) and Snowball (Trotsky) increasingly argue over the future of the farm, and they begin to struggle with each other for power and influence among the other animals. After a speech, nine attack dogs (KGB) burst into the barn and chase Snowball (Trotsky) from the farm.
Napoleon (Stalin) assumes leadership of Animal Farm (Soviet Union) and declares that there will be no more meetings. From that point on, he stresses, the pigs alone will make all of the decisions for the good of every animal (Workers). Napoleon (Stalin) begins expanding his powers, rewriting history to make Snowball (Trotsky) a villain. Napoleon (Stalin) also begins to act more and more like a human being—sleeping in a bed, drinking whisky, and engaging in trade with neighboring farmers. The original Animalist principles strictly forbade such activities, but Squealer (Molotov), Napoleon’s propagandist, justifies every action to the other animals, convincing them that Napoleon (Stalin) is a great leader and is making things better for everyone despite the fact that the common animals are cold, hungry, and overworked. Looking in at the party of Pigs and Farmers through the farmhouse window, the common animals can no longer tell which are the Pigs and which are the human beings.
The perversion of founding principles is not limited to communist countries. On the farm there were the Seven Original Commandments:
1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
3. No animal shall wear clothes.
4. No animal shall sleep in a bed.
5. No animal shall drink alcohol.
6. No animal shall kill any other animal.
7. All animals are created equal.
All of the Seven Commandments are eventually broken by the pigs for their own gain. Squealer (Molotov) constantly changes the Commandments to the pigs’ benefit, taking advantage of the other animals. Through the manipulation of language, the Pigs accumulate more power and privileges:
• No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets;
• No animal shall drink alcohol to excess
• No animal shall kill any other animal without cause.
Ultimately, all the commandments are boiled down to one commandment:
All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
Could this degeneration of founding principles happen in the United States? The distressing answer is that it already has. It has accelerated at a breakneck pace since 2000. Orwell’s themes are as true today as they were in 1944.
“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. Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” – George Orwell
Our elected officials are supposed to represent the wishes of the citizens that elected them. They derive their just powers from the governed. In the early days of our Republic, citizens could freely enter the White House without hesitation. Federalist Papers 55 and 56 explicitly promised, without qualification, that there would be one Representative for every thirty-thousand inhabitants. The framers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights intended that the total population of Congressional districts never exceed 50,000 to 60,000. Currently, the average population size of the districts is nearly 700,000 and, consequently, the principle of proportionally equitable representation has been abandoned. Our elected officials no longer represent the people. They represent the 17,000 corporate lobbyists who spend $3.3 billion per year to “persuade” them what is best for their special interests. This is why a Congressperson can receive 9 to 1 calls from their constituents against a $700 billion banker bailout bill and still vote for the bill. The ideals of our fledgling Republic have been corrupted by politicians who have sold their souls to corporate and banking interests.
The corruption became more insidious with the creation of the Federal Reserve and the institution of the Federal income tax in 1913. The levers of money printing and raising taxes gave the select few (Pigs) the wherewithal to control and manipulate the working class population. Debt and taxes are the friends of a corrupt politician. The Cabal of bankers who control the Federal Reserve has been printing money for 96 years to such an extent that the U.S. dollar has lost 96% of its purchasing power versus gold. But, with Orwellian irony our government leaders proclaim a “strong dollar policy”. This is a lie. The only way out of the current colossal debt dilemma is by allowing our currency to depreciate even more so that the debt becomes less burdensome in dollar terms. The National Debt is now $11.6 trillion. The National Debt in 1913 was $2.9 billion. Therefore, the National Debt has gone up by 400,000% in 96 years. FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND PERCENT! I had to go back and check my calculation three times. The people we elected to Congress have spent $11.6 trillion more than the government has generated in revenues, with $10 trillion of it accumulated since 1981.
Despite this “investment” spending by our elected officials, the country’s infrastructure is crumbling, we import 66% of our energy supplies versus 28% in 1982, our public education system is on par with a Third World country, our healthcare system is bloated, expensive and corrupt, and we have racked up another $56 trillion of future liabilities for unfulfillable promises made by our myopic leaders. The Bills passed by Congress (written by lobbyists) exceed 1,000 pages, with payoffs and pork to constituents, corporate contributors and other influential allies. These Bills are not even read by our leaders before being passed. Hundreds of pages of amendments are added at 3:00 am. As the ruling pigs in Animal Farm are slowly corrupted, they take the spoils while the working class proletariat toil for nothing. Congress and the bankers are the ruling Pigs, we are the overworked common animals. Talk is cheap and lies are expensive.
Do as I say not as I do because
The shit so deep you can’t run away
I beg to differ on the contrary
I agree with every word that you say
Talk is cheap and lies are expensive
My wallet’s fat and so is my head
Hit and run and then I’ll hit you again
I’m a smart ass but I’m playing dumb
Standards set and broken all the time
Control the chaos behind a gun
Call it as I see it even if
I was born deaf, blind and dumb
Losers winning big on the lottery
Rehab rejects still sniffing glue
Constant refutation with myself
I’m a victim of a catch 22
(Green Day – Walking Contradiction)
If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever. – George Orwell
The American Revolution was fought for the ideals that “All men are created equal” and we had the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. The Russian Revolution of 1917 was based upon Karl Marx’ idealistic Communist Manifesto which pitted the oppressors against the oppressed. Communism was supposed to be a system in which goods were owned in common and available to all as needed. The ten conditions for a transition to Communism are:
1. Abolition of property in land application of all rents of land to public purposes.
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.
4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a National Bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
8. Equal liability of all to labor. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equal distribution of the population over the country.
10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production.
George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm were biting condemnations of the Soviet Union, its perversion of the revolution’s ideals and class tyranny that ultimately widened in its society. The American Republic was constructed upon the individual and their freedom and liberty. After reading the above list of conditions, the United States is at least 50% of the way to a perverted form of communism as our leaders have instituted a progressive income tax, restricted the right of inheritance through taxes, centralized credit in the hands of the State, allowed corporate farms to dominate agriculture along with providing tax breaks and protective tariffs, gotten into bed with the Military Industrial Complex, banking industry, and auto industry, provide free public education to the working classes while they send their privileged children to private schools. By satiating the poor working classes with bread and circuses like welfare programs, easy credit, no income taxes, cable TV, fast food, cheap liquor, and drugs, the ruling classes are able to reap obscene riches through the systematic raping of the American public through the use of inflation and taxes on the middle class.
There are some ideas so wrong that only a very intelligent person could believe in them. – George Orwell
The success of any system of government is ultimately dependent upon the integrity, honesty and honor of its leaders. If they become corrupted by power and money, the system will ultimately collapse. It may be a natural progression in all societies that intellectuals with superior intelligence will take advantage of those who perform physical labor. The intelligentsia in Animal Farm is the Pigs, who learn to walk on two legs, wear clothes, sleep in beds, drink alcohol and consider animals that walk on four legs as their inferiors. They perverted the founding principles of the revolution. The intelligentsia of the United States has perverted the founding principles that all men are created equal and we are each entitled to our individual liberty. The ruling elite constitute the 1% richest Americans and the politicians they have bought. The top 1% own 35% of all the net worth in the country. They own as much as the bottom 90% of Americans. They “earn” 22% of the income and pay 40% of the taxes in the U.S. I would contend that the majority of the intelligentsia has utilized their private education, Washington and Wall Street connections and ability to manipulate the financial and political system to further enrich themselves at the expense of the average American.
Gullible Working Class
It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it; consequently, the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using the word if it were tied down to any one meaning. – George Orwell
The definition of democracy is: government by the people. Today, the United States is democratic in name only. The political class, which supposedly represents the citizens, has perverted the original concept of a representative democracy. Our representatives were supposed to personally sacrifice by taking time off from their everyday professions to do what was best for the country. After performing this noble duty they would go back to their original vocations. Instead 40% of Congress is lawyers, their goal is to make a career in Washington DC and after leaving Congress they seek riches as lobbyists. Once elected, they utilize the power and money gained from the position to maintain that position permanently. This is why incumbents win elections 95% of the time. In 2004, incumbents spent $700 million to get re-elected, while challengers spent $200 million. These obscene sums of money have perverted the original intention of the Founders.
The combination of a permanent political class with an undereducated, uninterested, gullible, naïve electorate has permitted the few to wield immense power over the majority. In Animal Farm, the working class is represented by Boxer the workhorse. He is a hard working non-thinking animal that repeats over and over that “Napoleon (Stalin) is always right”. He is representative of those who believe everything that Barack Obama says is gospel. Ultimately, Boxer is sacrificed so that the Pigs can live more luxuriously. A highly educated involved electorate would be dangerous to those in power. An atrocious public education system is actually beneficial to the Pigs. There are 34 million Americans without a high school degree, constituting 15% of those over 18 years old. Another 112 million have graduated high school without progressing any further with their education. Many of these people are functionally illiterate, can’t add, can’t spell, don’t know when World War II happened, or who is the Vice President. Only 69% of entering 9th graders in the public school system graduate high school. The graduation rates and educational achievements of minorities are dramatically worse than these numbers. Only 26% of the population has a bachelor’s degree, with only 6% possessing a master’s degree.
The proliferation of drugs among the poor keeps them dazed and sedated. Various welfare programs and easy credit keep them from rioting as they can “purchase” luxury cars and electronic gadgets enjoyed by the upper classes. The bad debts are picked up by the taxpayers. As a further control, those in power have put 2.3 million people in prisons, most of whom are poor and 60% who are minorities. By distracting the majority of people in the country with cable TV entertainment, the internet, Twitter, cell phones, sports, movies, and shopping malls, the Pigs who run the show are able to oppress and control the masses. The highly educated use the idiocy and naïveté of the oppressed to their advantage by using the rigged financial system to generate ever more riches for themselves. The banker gods peddled fraudulent mortgage schemes throughout the world in order to enrich themselves. When it blew up in their faces, they turned to their government co-conspirators (Hank Paulson, Ben Bernanke, and most of Congress) to keep their riches. Their Congressional benefactors have obliged by stealing trillions from the taxpaying classes and redistributed it to the Pigs running Goldman Sachs, Citicorp, and Bank of America.
Abuse of Language
George Orwell’s most pointed criticism of political leaders was their misuse of language to further their wicked agendas. He exposes the outrageous abuse of words in 1984 and Animal Farm. The ruling elite manipulate the language as an instrument of control over the masses.
“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
The intelligentsia understands that the masses can be manipulated with convincing talking points and misleading slogans. Politicians never tell their constituents they are doing some pork barrel spending. Every dollar of new spending is spun as “investment spending”. We have evidently made $11.6 trillion of “investments” in our National Debt. Somehow we enacted “campaign finance reform” and still manage to spend $1.3 billion on political campaigns. Our beloved numbskull Vice President Joe Biden said last week, “We have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt”. President Bush said, “I’ve abandoned free-market principles to save the free market system”. President Obama insisted that the only way to save our country from catastrophe caused by excessive debt was to borrow $700 billion and spend it on infrastructure projects, of which only 3.5% was allocated to our crumbling infrastructure. During the Vietnam War a U.S. Major declared, “It became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it.” In 1947 the government changed the name of the Department of War to the Department of Defense, as we today have garrisons of 100,000 troops in 117 foreign countries. The Department of Homeland Security, Patriot Act, and War on Terror are all deceptive titles and slogans purposely meant to hoodwink Boobus Americanus.
“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. The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.” – George Orwell
President Obama and his cronies hammer away that 47 million Americans are uninsured. It is a lie, but that does not deter them from continuing to make the claim. The latest Census report says that within the borders of the United States as of 2007 there were 45.65 million people without health insurance. But this number included 9.73 million foreigners, leaving only 35.92 Americans who were uninsured. Among the uninsured in the United States there were also 9.1 million people making more than $75,000 per year who did not choose to purchase health insurance. Therefore, we are imposing a trillion dollar solution for 28 million people who are poor and uninsured. That is $36,000 per person while imposing a huge invasive bureaucracy on the lives of the other 278 million Americans. The masses believe the lies.
Green Extremists have convinced children and dullards that global warming is destroying the planet. They state their position as fact, when their thesis does not meet the scientific method criteria as fact. Their contentions are based on computer models. Our financial system was also based on financial models that said that worthless mortgages were really gold. We know how that worked out. The facts are that the earth has warmed prior to the industrial revolution and has cooled. The sun, water vapor, earth’s orbit, volcanoes, interstellar clouds, cosmic rays, tectonic plates, land use, CO2, sunspots, gravitational pulls, ocean currents and solar flares all impact earth. It is far too complex to declare that we know what is happening. Let’s get tomorrow’s weather forecast right first. Men plan and God laughs.
Must have been a lot of cows farting in the 1400s
The Orwellian language of Big Government turns people into pliable subjects. It lulls us into passively accepting ever-increasing taxes while encouraging our reliance on an embedded and mutating bureaucracy administered by corrupt career politicians and backed by corporate sugar daddies. Wall Street shysters have mastered the art or twisting and distorting reality to benefit themselves. Subprime loans, which triggered the worldwide financial crisis, were called “nonprime”. The billions of worthless toxic loans that still sit on the books of our biggest banks at original cost are now referred to as “legacy loans”. How quaint. The lowest rated bonds of the worst companies are referred to as “high yield debt”, not junk bonds. We describe our economy as “free market”. There is nothing further from the truth. Bailouts for corporate failures and rewarding the excess risk takers are not hallmarks of free market capitalism. Government takeovers of banks, insurance companies, and auto companies are not free market capitalism. It is a warped form of corporate fascism – the intermingling of the State and corporations for the benefit of a few. Kevin Depew from Minyanville.com described the Orwellian lies of Hank Paulson as he sat before Congress explaining his criminal actions last Fall.
Paulson asserted throughout his testimony that he, almost single-handedly, averted an “economic collapse” and, moreover, that we should actually be thanking him for it. The ugly assemblage of half-truths, obfuscations, smarmy evasiveness and prickly showboating would have embarrassed Bernie Madoff. But it wasn’t Bernie Madoff. It was a former United States Treasury Secretary.
“Enlightened people seldom or never possess a sense of responsibility.” – George Orwell
Animal Farm represents any human society whether it be capitalist, socialist, fascist, or communist. Leaders are capable of being corrupted by power within any form of government. The myopic thinking of the Pigs in Animal Farm will eventually destroy the farm. Orwell ends the novel with the animals watching the Pigs mingling with farmers through a window. They couldn’t tell the difference between the supposed revolutionaries and those
they had fought against. If he had looked into the future he would have seen that the Soviet Union would decay from the inside as the corrupt few eventually came to believe their own lies and propaganda. It collapsed 44 years later as a corrupt, bankrupt, shell of a country. The combination of myopia, greed, wickedness, ignorance and indifference are a brew that are leading the United States down the same path. As the Pigs in our society have enriched themselves, the average American has seen their real standard of living stagnate over the last 40 years. The Pigs have manipulated government inflation statistics so the masses think they are getting ahead.
The myopia of our politicians has put the country into a predicament that we can’t escape without tremendous pain and suffering. In order to keep their positions of power they have passed bills for decades that promise trillions more in goodies than we can possibly pay for. They have paid no thought to the long-term consequences of their actions because they don’t care. Future generations are of no concern to gluttonous power hungry Pigs. During the eight years of the Bush presidency the ruling class used fear tactics and propaganda to ram through laws which allow Government to monitor the movements and communications of every American. Liberties have been stripped and freedoms have been restricted. Now President Obama is attempting to take control over the few aspects of our lives that remain relatively free. The Orwellian phrase “Cap & Trade” sounds much more innocuous than an energy tax of $1,500 on every household in America that will drive manufacturers out of the country, along with millions of jobs. “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act” is the Orwellian name for a bill that will create a massive new bureaucracy, cost at least $1 trillion, cost small businesses billions more in health costs, give government the final decision on whether you are worth saving, and provide more freebies to poor Americans. This will keep the poor sedated and less likely to cause trouble for the ruling class.
Bill of Frights
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances except when the Department of Homeland Security determines that you are a domestic terrorist who is a member of the Libertarian Party and attend Tax Day Tea Parties.
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed except when the government fears you will use those arms against them.
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized unless we suspect that you are a terrorist or anti-government activist.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation unless politicians decide that a shopping mall would be a better use for your private property.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense unless we classify you as a non-combatant and put you in prison for two years without charging you or providing counsel.
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law after you wait for two years for your speedy trial.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted unless approved by Dick Cheney.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people unless activist judges determine otherwise.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people except that all these powers have been usurped by the Federal government.
“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”– George Orwell
As we look through the window at the raucous party between the Pigs and the farmers it is impossible to distinguish between the imperial monarchists who taxed the colonies to such an extreme that it caused a revolution and the revolutionaries that have adopted the same characteristics and traits of those they revolted against. The American people are like sheep being led to slaughter. Our Founding Fathers declared that the common people were in control. Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government. The time has come to abolish the corrupt system and institute a new Government.
Harmlessly passing your time in the grassland away;
Only dimly aware of a certain unease in the air.
You better watch out,
There may be dogs about
I’ve looked over Jordan, and I have seen
Things are not what they seem.
What do you get for pretending the dangers not real.
Meek and obedient you follow the leader
Down well trodden corridors into the valley of steel.
What a surprise!
A look of terminal shock in your eyes.
Now things are really what they seem.
No, this is no bad dream.
Have you heard the news?
The dogs are dead!
You better stay home
And do as you’re told.
Get out of the road if you want to grow old.
(Pink Floyd – Sheep)
Animal Farm, published in 1945, was the first hit in the famous one-two punch that closed Orwell’s career. The second, as you might already know, was 1984 (1949). Orwell’s scathing satire of the Russian Revolution, and his dark dystopian vision of a populace under complete surveillance and control, have informed generations of readers of the threat posed by tyrannical governments.
Yet there’s a catch: the thing about politically timed satires is that it’s much easier to accept them after the political moment has passed. Today, Animal Farm is a classic. Yet at the time it was written (1943-44), Orwell could hardly get it published. The Soviet Union was an ally in the fight against Nazi Germany in World War II. Though criticism of Stalin was not explicitly censored in the wartime British press, the general feeling, as Orwell himself puts it in his Preface, was that such criticism “ought not to have been published.” Orwell was seen as a bad sport. Stalin may have been bad but Hitler was worse, and as Faber & Faber (one of the publishing houses that rejected Orwell) pointed out, it was simply distasteful to depict Stalin as “a pig.”
Orwell came into direct contact with Stalin’s men while he and his wife were fighting in the 1930s the Spanish Civil War (a proxy war between the communists and the fascists). Orwell, a socialist, went to Spain to fight against the fascist takeover of the country, but he found himself nearly as disturbed by the antidemocratic tendencies of the communists he fought alongside. In the Preface to the Ukrainian edition, Orwell says that his time in Spain made him realize “how easily totalitarian propaganda can control the opinion of enlightened people in democratic countries.” He set out to write Animal Farm with this idea in mind. He wanted to pull back the curtain on Russia, to reveal the Stalinist version of communism as a brutal farce, a betrayal of the socialist values Orwell held dear. As Orwell said, “it was of the utmost importance that people in Western Europe should see the Soviet regime for what it really was” (source).
After seeing a young boy whipping a carthorse, Orwell had the idea to make his story a fable, to link it with proud tradition of Aesop and Jonathan Swift. As he puts it in his Preface, “It struck me that if only such animals became aware of their strength we should have no power over them, and that men exploit animals in much the same way as the rich exploit the proletariat.” The fable form allowed Orwell to depict the Soviet Union in simpler terms, to explain it clearly to common readers and to endow it with his own unique perspective. In short, the Soviet Union became Animal Farm.
With the onset of the Cold War, Orwell’s novel became a classic. It was the perfect criticism of communism. Yet Orwell himself was no knee-jerk anticommunist. A life-long socialist, Orwell could be just as critical of the West as he was of Soviet Russia. In the novel, Western leaders are depicted by human characters that treat the animals horribly. The major fear on Animal Farm is that things will go back to the way they were when the humans were in control. In short, Orwell’s satire is broader than just the Russian Revolution; he aims his rhetorical barbs at all forms of political tyranny, wherever it may be found. As Orwell said, “if liberty means anything at all, it means telling people what they do not want to hear”
Why Should I Care?
Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and said, “I’m going to be the President of the United States one day”? Or have you ever vied for a position of leadership at school, promising to give voice to your peers or improve the food in the cafeteria, if elected? Have you ever dreamed of leading your dance group? Or of being captain of the basketball team?
Boy, have we got the book for you. It’s a little dystopian (the opposite of utopian) novel called Animal Farm, and it is pretty much the best guidebook around, guaranteed to teach you what NOT to do when you get into power. Using barnyard animals, it provides (practically in bullet point form) over 200 years of knowledge about leadership and power, distilling all of the huge mistakes great leaders have made over time. And it does all of this in less than 200 pages. We are very earnest when we say go read this book right now. You won’t be sorry, future President.
In addition to being a guidebook, Animal Farm is a cautionary tale. At some point you might question the rules of society. At some point you might be inspired to make things better. Such inspiration might launch you into a leadership position. This novel says, “do it – enact change – but just remember to take it easy, and don’t let the power go to your head.” Animal Farm shows us how important it is to have passion when attempting to make things right and to revolutionize the world, but it also cautions us about how passion can lead to destruction when we assume a leadership role.
Many startling similarities exist between the Animal Farm society, as George Orwell present it in his book, and the American society of yesterday and today. When the author wrote the cynical short novel, published in 1945, he intended it to be a satire of the Russian Government under Stalin’s command, but it can also be applied as an allegory for some of the more corrupt aspects of the politics, government and class of the United States.
In Animal Farm, there was an obvious distinction between the “white collar” workers (ie., the pigs) and the “blue collar” workers (ie., the rest of the animals). In America there is also a definite separation between the management and the nameless workers. In the story, the pigs sleep comfortably in the farmhouse while the other farm animals labor in the fields, build the windmill or engage in other manual drudgery. The pigs, particularly Napoleon, accept the accolades when things go wonderfully, while the rest of the animals, whose hard work produced the few successful occurrences on the farm, remain unacknowledged. In the United States, the management also receives all the praise and most of the revenue if the company is profitable, while the blue collar workers, who are in fact responsible for the prosperous times, remain unknown (Think about the acclaimed corporations in America, like Microsoft and Disney, whose CEOs and leaders are rich and famous. Now think about all the people those corporations employ. Are all those people rich? Are they famous? No, but it is their hard work that makes those few CEOs wealthy.) The self-appointed leader of the farm, Napoleon, is never seen by the lowly workers, save for self-congratulatory ceremonies and parades. The blue collar animals’ one connection with the isolated white collars is through Squealer, who does very little except gush about statistics, graphs and calculations, reassuring the animals of the success of the farm. This happens in real life, too. No humble worker has contact with the “Boss;” they meet, instead, with supervisors anal overseers. They rely on corporation-produced newsletters for glowing reports on productivity. The Boss is seen as some cold, unapproachable, nonhuman, godlike entity by many employees in many companies. They fear the Bosses and their wrath (“We can’t be late for work! The Boss will Find out!” “Now, kids, don’t act up at the company picnic! The Boss will be there!”) To those people, the Bosses can figuratively buy and sell them. In Animal Farm, Napoleon, the Boss literally did buy other animals, and he also sold Boxer to the glue factory. A physical difference exists in the humans’ world: the professionals who occupy offices all day don suits and ties, while the ones who toil in factories have to wear uniforms, each announcing their respective status to everyone. Although the animals do not wear clothes (at least not in the beginning), their breed alone sets them apart from each other.
On Animal Farm, no animal ever is privy to the whole, unadulterated truth. If good news does exist they do hear about it, but it is often exaggerated and fabricated to sound even better. Negative information is kept from them or twisted around by Squealer, the propagandist, so that the problem appears to be insignificant or nonexistent. This occurs in society today. The U.S. military, for example, often keeps potentially destructive information from the public, but proudly announces any heroic act or triumph that occurs as an indirect or direct result of their actions. NASA behaves in the same manner- John Glenn’s return to space was in the headlines for a week, bolstering civic pride in the space program, but articles about the rocket launches that have been failing in the past weeks were regulated to the back pages.
The scapegoat on Animal Farm was Snowball; Napoleon and Squealer blamed every misfortune on this absent pig. Since it is easier to blame someone else than to accept fault graciously, scapegoats are often shamelessly used in the United States, too. Music and violent movies were denounced as causes for the recent school shootings. Sometimes entire social groups are pronounced culpable for the ills of society- poor people, gays, teenagers and African-Americans immediately spring to mind. During the McCarthy era it was the communist.
In Animal Farm, only the pigs got an actual education. The other animals attempted to teach themselves to read, but with mediocre results. When servitude was still allowed in America it was a crime to educate slaves; since education equals power; Napoleon was aware that if the animals learned to read then they will become more capable of overthrowing him. Also, in America only those who can afford it or earn scholarships can go to college, and only those who have enough money to pay for it can attend private primary and secondly schools.
Fortunately, circumstances are not as bad as they were on Animal Farm. There is more fairness in America, more education and more freedom. A dictator does not rule us and we can vote to change things. However, in the beginning that’s how it was on Animal Farm as well Every American should use this book as a lesson on what will happen if we decide to remain uninformed and let the government gain too much power.