Doubleplusungood News for Orwell’s Fake Fans

Following the law enforcement-hosted picnic at the Capitol on January 6, Profa members shelled out tens of dollars to purchase their first ever book: 1984 by George Orwell. For anyone too busy to read 1984, Orwell also wrote Animal Farm, a 112-page novella1 that has been instrumental in teaching children the fundamental tenet of “American” “Conservatism”: communism bad! After carefully skimming the back cover, pro-fascists flew to the ex-president’s rescue on Twitter, using their freedom of speech to express disdain for this “Orwellian” censorship that resulted in the Trump Twitter ban. 

“Absolutely disgusting. It’s like you can’t even yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theater anymore,” whined the 55-year-old manager of a fast food chain. “What’s next? Biden’s gonna take my hard-earned wealth and use it to fix the roads?! This country is becoming an Orwellian nightmare!”

To be fair to Profa, we do live in an Orwellian society, but this is largely due to the fact that we live in a society. Fascism, like communism, like socialism2, is an ideology that lives in the minds of individuals. Orwell had the (mis)fortune3 of living through one of the most tumultuous periods in history, during which he experienced totalitarianism from both the fascists (Nazi Germany) and communists (Russia and Spain).

The science of ideology

For those who had a small stroke reading that, “totalitarianism” characterizes both fascism and communism; they are both on the top part of the graph that pops up when you type “political compass for dummies” into Google images. Here’s the kicker, Orwell was an anti-fascist, anti-communist, democratic socialist. Don’t believe me? I hope you like apples because, “Every line of serious work I’ve written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism” (“Why I Write” 1946).  How about them apples? 

Pro-fascists might be shocked to learn that George Orwell was a snowflake of the militant variety: he was rather casually shot in the throat by a fascist sniper in the trenches of the Spanish Civil War. Even before war broke out, Orwell was hyper-aware of his own economic privilege as a “lower-upper-middle class” citizen in imperialist Britain. 

“For five years I was part of an oppressive system and it had left me with a bad conscience…I was in the police, which is to say, part of the machinery of despotism.”

“The Road to Wigan Pier,” 1937.

While following orders to execute unruly natives in Imperial Burma, Orwell became disillusioned with the glorious image of Britain, leading him to resign from the police force rather than further participate in colonial oppression. Do you see where this is going? 

George Orwell further cultivated his aggressive anti-fascism during WWII, asserting that:

“Pacifism is objectively pro-fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort on one side, you automatically help out that of the other… The idea that one can somehow remain aloof from human fallacies and superior to the struggle… is a bourgeois illusion bred of money and security.”

“Pacifism and the War,” 1942.

They may have missed the point entirely, but Profa is right when they say “oppression government Orwell free speech America,” and that is certainly something. 

If nothing else, Profascists can take this one out of context, free of charge:

“Despotic governments can stand ‘moral force’ till the cows come home. What they fear is physical force.”

“Pacifism and the War,” 1942.

For the rest of us, I will end with some moving words delivered by Orwell to The Home Guard in 1941:

“We’ve got to fight against privilege…We have got to break the grip of the moneyed class as a whole. There will be a political struggle. At some point or other, it may be necessary to use violence… We shall have to fight against bribery, ignorance, snobbery. The bankers and large businessmen, the landowners and dividend-drawers, the officials with their prehensile bottoms will obstruct for all they are worth. But the chances are the will of the majority will prevail. We are in a strange period of history, in which a patriot has to be a revolutionary, and a revolutionary has to be a patriot” 

“The Lion and the Unicorn,” 1941.

1 For comparison, the second best pig-related book of all time, Charlotte’s Web, is a whopping 192 pages.
2 If reading this word caused a visceral reaction, this article is dedicated to you.
3 Most people would consider this an all-out misfortune, but Mr. Orwell thrived on negativity.