I was reading once again George Orwell’s Animal Farm. I first read it back in the early 70s and, of course, back then it was “not done” to be too pointed in discussing it in terms of the late, unlamented Soviet Union. It was one of several things that cemented in me a profoundly anti-socialist world view that time has only strengthened.
This time, I also took a detour, of sorts and read the various prefaces that Orwell wrote. I dare say few people have read them and I doubt any of the current crop of college students have. Mores the pity. His preface to the English edition is particularly interesting in view of how the Main Stream Media operates today.
|The sinister fact about literary censorship in England is that it is largely voluntary. Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without the need for any official ban. Anyone who has lived long in a foreign country will know of instances of sensational items of news – things which on their own merits would get the big headlines – being kept right out of the British press, not because the Government intervened but because of a general tacit agreement that ‘it wouldn’t do’ to mention that particular fact. So far as the daily newspapers go, this is easy to understand. The British press is extremely centralized, and most of it is owned by wealthy men who have every motive to be dishonest on certain important topics. But the same kind of veiled censorship also operates in books and periodicals, as well as in plays, films and radio. At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other, but it is ‘not done’ to say it, just as in mid-Victorian times it was ‘not done’ to mention trousers in the presence of a lady. Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals.|
Nor is it done to criticize the manifest obvious failures of progressive economics and social policies today. We are in the fix we are in today precisely for this reason; the instruments that ought to be the most critical of government we now have are the most sycophantic.
I would like to think that the alternative media that has exploded over the last 10 years can act as a counterbalance to the “official” news, must the same as the underground press operated in the mid 18th century undermining British-approved media and setting the state for the Revolution. I am not optimistic.
In the first place, social entitlement policies have created an incentive to dependency. As long as Paul has enough money to steal, Peter will be content to keep electing politicians that will rob him and hand the proceeds over under the guide of redistribution. Communism is unsustainable and no amount of bleating from the sheep will change that.
In the second place, we now have at least two generations of people bred and raised to believe that it is the job of the Government to take care of them. Individual responsibility and accountability is unknown to an ever-increasing share of the people. They have no reason to make changes so long as they can count on their welfare checks, their food stamps, their government hand outs.
And lastly, social policies that have been adopted to “help the poor” have served only to enslave them. The productive class of workers have smaller and smaller families while those who are dependents of the welfare state have ever larger broods of children born out of wedlock. We are now on the third generation of children who were born into single parent families, many who have never known both of their parents.
I fear for our way of life. We need only to read “Animal Farm” to see where we are headed. We have a President who personifies the worst excesses of the pigs while ever pursuing policies that will impoverish the rest of us. We will need a full generation of austerity to set things right. I seriously doubt we will ever be able to do it.