The Left Wants to Read 1984. Good!

by Rob Roper

Many Left leaning news sites and social media are a-buzz with delight that since the election of Donald Trump Unknowncopies of George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm are flying off bookstore shelves. Sold out! There is even a report that a Broadway show based 1984 is in the works. This is great news. Both books are scathing repudiations of Big Government Leftism.

Orwell’s chilling message in both tales is that the real evil in this world comes from an over-powerful State crushing individual liberty, and the more people who are reminded of this fact the better.

Animal Farm is a parable of the rise of socialism and the Soviet Union. The leaders of the Revolution (the pigs), promise that if all the animals band together and take over the farm, all the assets of the farm will be put to use fairly for the public good, and animals will no longer be exploited by capitalist masters! Of course, once in power the pigs turn out to be far worse – brutal, greedy, deceptive, and ruthless. They use the unchecked power of the centralized State to turn the other animals on the farm into slaves. “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

1984 is even darker. Here Orwell imagines a totalitarian society where the State has taken over completely in the form of Big Brother, controlling its citizens through fake news, constant conflict, manipulation of language (New Speak), and violent repression of any nonconformity to State doctrine (The Thought Police).

Winston Smith, Orwell’s protagonist, is a party member who tries in the smallest of ways to have a life, loyalties, and love beyond duty to and love for the State. To make a 250 page story short, he is found out and tortured until thoroughly brainwashed. He betrays his love interest. (Think about cold loyalty to political ideology over the people in your lives whom you should love and care about the next time you “un-friend” someone on Facebook because of a political post.) Winston’s last thought in life is that he loves Big Brother (the government) — even as the State puts a bullet in his brain.

So much of what Orwell envisioned is today a part of the American Left’s plan and playbook – a government that controls everything in your life from your access to healthcare to the kind of light bulbs you’re allowed to buy; the Thought Police (think PC college campus speech guidelines), NewSpeak (how many new pronouns are out there?); fake news (too many examples!), and violent reaction to those who disagree (UCLA Berkley).

So, my Left leaning friends, get your copies. Read them twice. If you can’t find one because it’s sold out, you can borrow mine.

– Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute

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