American Future: Orwell, the Left, and 9/11

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[Hat tip to Marc Shulman at American Future. Not sure why I did not link to this sooner. American Future was one of the first blogs I frequented back in my “lurking” days. This post is from April 7, 2007.]

George Orwell was a rare individual for his time and place. Few if any of his contemporaries shared both his heartfelt commitment to socialism and his intense antipathy towards the British intellectual left. Throughout World War II and during the early years of the Cold War, Orwell forcefully and repeatedly castigated the Left for a variety of sins, including, among others, (1) a detachment from and disdain for ordinary people, (2) a lack of patriotic feeling that was manifest in its anti-British (and, relatedly, anti-American) sentiments, (3) a denial of the magnitude of the threat posed by Nazi Germany and subsequently by Soviet Russia, (4) an exaggeration of the impact of wartime measures on civil liberties, (5) a defeatist mentality, (6) a pacifism that placed fascism and communism on the same moral plane as democracy, (7) a failure to recognize the equivalence of totalitarianism and theocracy, and (8) an attachment to what would two decades later come to be known as Third-Worldism.

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One response »

  1. It really shouldn’t be amazing, but the man who actually made a principled stance for liberty and democracy, and knew an enemy of it when he saw one, is remembered as a hero today while his communist contemporaries can only hope revisionist history will absolve them.

    A lesson for activists today, if there ever was one.

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