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Thoughts: Animal Farm

25 Apr

Animal FarmAnimal Farm by George Orwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Socialism? A bad thing?!? Actually maybe not. Though George Orwell penned Animal Farm during the rise of the Soviet Union, I got the distinct impression in this political “fairy tale” that he was not bashing the political state for its ideology, as I had expected, but rather pessimistically professing its doom; its destiny to fail. What I saw was its horrid desecration, which had brought the story full circle; from oppression to oppression – leading the reader to expect another revolution against the rule of the pigs. Personally, I am flirting with the idea that the only true realization of socialism may be in anarchy.

After the first Revolution, certain basic needs were met; namely to enjoy the fruits of one’s own labor. Of course, this is a fundamental aspect of capitalism. But socialism, and Orwell, take this need to a larger scale,; for the group to enjoy the fruits of their labor as a whole. If we backtrack, however, and take this need, this ideal, back to a more primitive level of individualism, we can see the glimmer of anarchy – living off one’s own spoils without leadership or government to get in the way; no human “masters”. I think the problem with applying this ideal to a larger scope of a group or nation is that some sort of leadership is required to implement it and make sure it remains in place. This inevitably and unfortunately leads to corrupt aspirations and abuses of power. There in lies the problem of socialism; an incredibly benign and moral idea downtrodden by the heavy foot of human self glorification.

To be clear, I don’t intend to liken socialism to anarchy. But I think the goal of every person is to earn his own keep with dignity. And I think that socialism provides this idiom when the group or nation is understood as one large individual. In reality, it is not and leadership and government is needed to maintain order; as if the leadership imposes itself as the brain of the large individual.

While reading I actual thought of a story from the Bible, when the prophet, or Seer as they called him at the time, discouraged the Israelites from crowning a king – that God was their king and they needed no other. I think this might be the only way that socialism might work! A nation of people would have to abide by a law, a moral code, unenforced or imposed by any government, in order to survive as an ideal socialist state. And if this is the only way it can survive, it would kind of look like anarchy, with the absence of government, just at a national or group level.

Anyhow, I am no political theorist but this was my reaction to Animal Farm; a pleasantly simple read, with character and ideological intrigue.

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Posted by on April 25, 2012 in George Orwell

 

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