George Orwell and His Paradoxical Relationship to Socialism

By Avery Castle

8/23/2020

"Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right." 


With our current political climate of cancel culture, monument wars, and certain politicians' claims of moral superiority, these times have harkened more and more minds back to George Orwell's two most prominent dystopian works, 1984 and Animal Farm.


However, it's important to note that while many can translate and even weaponize Orwell's work into the modern political arena and interpret it as anti-socialist, Orwell himself was not and never intended for his writings to be viewed as such. In fact, his socialist ideals are reminiscent of those of the modern left. Orwell was a proponent of democratic socialism, apparently blind– as many are today– to the realistic means of socialism's implementation. And, admirably enough, was critical of the Soviet Union's socialism, believing it to be a more radical, corrupt form rather than the concepts in practice. 


Orwell's socialist ideas formed from good intentions and personal experience, as is the way many innocents are sold on its seemingly egalitarian, utopian-sounding concepts. Rarely anyone is sold through a vast study of economic theory and history, considering socialism's "egalitarian utopia" holds up in neither. Orwell said he "became pro-Socialist more out of disgust with the way the poorer section of the industrial workers were oppressed and neglected than out of any theoretical admiration for a planned society." 1 He believed, "Capitalism, as such, has no room in it for any human relationship; it has no law except that profits must always be made." 2

Though Orwell was a gifted writer capable of creating complex realities, it seemed his economic views were quite simplistic, taken at face value.


In most cases- many more than socialism- capitalism has quite a spacious room for humanity, built on natural rights to liberty, opportunity, and free will, rather than the concept of "equalizing" wealth through thievery. And as to its only law being, "profits must always be made," this is not true. While capitalism can center around profiting (which, it must be remembered is not solely the profiting of fat-cat businessmen, as many people seem to imagine, but also the profiting of your average citizen), it also promotes charity and innovation. 


Innovation is incentivized in a capitalist economy, thus allowing America to proudly claim revolutionary innovations such as the telephone, the skyscraper, the electric light bulb, the airplane, the assembly line, the supermarket, and much more as a product of their economy and industrious citizens. 3


Capitalism is a proponent of charity as it gives one "the freedom to allocate our capital as we see fit," as MCF Advisors put it. 4 Because people and businesses are more moral than given credit, many will donate excess wealth to a cause or charity with which they are passionate. The data supports this claim. In 2018, the United States donated roughly 2.1% of its own GDP. 5 According to MCF Advisors, "the amount Americans donated was more than the entire GDP of all but about 40 countries in the world." 6 Giving the USA says that "in 2019, Americans donated almost $450 billion to charity," and that despite the recent economic troubles the country has experienced due to COVID-19, a "Fidelity Charitable Survey from March showed that almost 80% of donors plan to continue or increase the size of their gifts" and "a study of thirty-two community foundations that found that donations from those organizations increased by 80% from March-May 2020 compared to that same time period in 2019." 7 In light of the recent social justice movements, this is the best time to discuss the charitableness of American corporations. Apple, Amazon, Gatorade, Glossier, Microsoft, 23andMe, Nabisco, Skillshare, McDonald's, Atlantic Records, Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Etsy, Levis, Wendy's, and many, many more have all pledged money in support of Black Lives Matter. 8


Orwell said, "Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and democratic Socialism, as I understand it." 9 So, when reading Orwell, the honor should be given to remember his intentions in writing and his personal views on the themes which he discusses in his books, yet it is also important to note the irony. Ultimately, Orwell ignorantly advocated for a system he wrote against in his work. There is no democratic socialism, only socialism, an economic system based in thievery, implemented through an overbearing government, and in nature, a ruiner of nations. 


About Avery

Twitter: @avee1791

As a contributing writer, Avery pens pieces arguing against the socialist agenda being pushed by far too many Americans today. She hopes to persuade others to defend American values and a free economy rather than fall victim to the “awful ideology of economic totalitarianism,” as Michael Knowles well puts the concept of socialism.


#Socialism #America #Capitalism

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