George Orwell wrote “Animal Farm” in 1943, but had trouble finding a publisher. Stalin’s Soviet Union was quite popular in Britain and America that year. Many British socialists even idealized the Russian Revolution.
Orwell, who had fought in Spain years earlier against Stalinists, understood the totalitarianism that rose out of communism. He had witnessed first-hand the disappearance of those who opposed the Stalinist brand of communism.
Orwell finally found a publisher for “Animal Farm” in August of 1945. Orwell was a socialist, and did not intend to harm the socialist movement. He was however a man who despised hypocrisy and could not resist being honest. He wrote about the dangers he saw in subscribing to socialism and communism.
I just finished reading “Animal Farm.” It was the first time I read it…in many junior high school classes it was assigned reading. Classes in my school read it, but it was not assigned reading for my class. Same with Orwell’s “1984.” Both are important books that shed light on the dangers that are present when “equal” societies are managed by master planners.
A few things that stuck out in “Animal Farm” for me was the changing, in the secrecy of night, of the 7 rules that all had agreed on at the start when the animals removed the tyrant human Jones and began the utopia named Animal Farm.
Some of the animals thought they remembered the rules being different…for example…”No animal shall sleep in a bed” was changed to “No animal shall sleep in a bed ‘with sheets’” That rule was mysteriously changed when some of the leadership pigs started sleeping in beds in the farmhouse, which had been prohibited. The animals accepted the change…thinking they had misremembered…
At one point in the book, the song “Beasts of England” which was beloved by all the inhabitants of Animal Farm and had become a National Anthem, was forbidden from being sung! The animals of Animal Farm obeyed, and stopped singing the song that united them. As you can guess , as time went by, the other 7 rules were also modified to suit the leadership’s desires. (All modifications were done in the dead of night, when the residents of Animal Farm were asleep.)
The self-appointed leader of Animal Farm was a boar named Napoleon. Boxer, a horse of unearthly strength of body…but no so much of mind, was a never doubting supporter of Napoleon and all Napoleon said. In fact, Boxer lived by these words he adopted for himself when things didn’t seem quite right. Boxer’s maxims were “Napoleon is always right,” and “I will work harder.”
Boxer lived faithfully by those mottos, but when he was injured, his reward after years of strenuous work was not what he had been promised by Napoleon. There would be no resting and whiling the day away in a lovely field supposedly set aside for the animals when they grew old…no, Boxer was instead, unknowingly, sent to the glue factory!
The book is a quick read, and quite chilling…especially in the age we are currently living in. The promises Napoleon made to the animals were not kept. In the end, even the new name of the farm…”Animal Farm” was changed back to its ordinal name…”Manor Farm.”
Take the time to read it, and encourage a youngster in your life to read it. I have a feeling it’s not required reading these days…it should be!
Orwell fought for the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War – the side that was supported by the Soviet Union. Not an “anti-Stalinist” side. Other than that, a good summary. I do think some U.S. schools still assign students to read this book too.
All mail-in voting is flawed (except for mail-in voting in Florida which is perfectly safe).
Yes Animal Farm is a quick read for people of our generation, but I think you will find that most college age and mid 20 somethings would find it a tough slog at best. Their attention spans, thanks to the nearly non-stop immersion of social media they are fixated with (mindless drones staring down at their phones or non-stop testing 24×7), are generally limited to a few minutes at a time. So to get through a short book, such as Animal Farm, would be a monumental effort for most of them.
They might fare better with an audio version of the book, but then you hit the larger issue involving the Millennial and Gen-Z generations. While Orwell used the concept of a typical set of farm animals as a means to convey the hypocritical principles and nature of all forms of socialism and how the ideology always progresses to the same conclusion over and over again, most young people have little to no capacity to even follow along and grasp the lessons Orwell was trying to convey. One has to be able to intelligently think and reason in order to understand all the points and dangers George Orwell was trying to convey to the public. Sadly to these generations of young Americans, who have been explicitly taught to NOT THINK, but merely conform to the socialist orthodoxy that has been spoon fed to them for their entire time in the vast majority of our public schools, they would come away with it’s just a story about some animals on a farm somewhere. They wouldn’t get any of deeper meaning of George Orwell’s work.
By the way, neither one of George Orwell’s books are mandatory reading anymore in a lot of public schools, They are counter to the ideological message being taught day in and day out. Now if you’re talking about private or charter schools, then that is a different story. Those educational facilities exist to teach children how to think, reason and prepare them for the real world that is out there. Guess which kids will grow up to be productive, successful people and which ones will grow up to be bitter, angry “victims” endlessly demanding “new rights” and “free stuff”.
I actually think young people would get something out of the book. The animals are all for equal treatment and go about setting up that society. The animals use short slogans and are fighting oppression. (Sound familiar) I believe the book would grab young people’s attention and the results would hit those who are longing for an equal society and make them think…they will see the misery of equality and learn Equal is not necessarily just.
One would hope so, wouldn’t one? From the many conversations and teaching efforts I’ve had over the years with young people in the final years of HS or attending college, that sort of simple, logical thinking is in short supply. One would hope they could simply put two and two together to realize that the socialist nonsense they’ve been spoon fed is really just societal suicide, but you would be surprised how many can’t make that simple connection. The public education system has really done an impressive job of turning out legions of “useful idiots” unable to think in a rational manner. They can however endlessly repeat the same idiotic SJW talking points they’ve memorized and they can also fly into a hysterical, emotional rage if anyone demonstrates how their equality isn’t really what they believe it is.
I would first like to commend you for your article. I was fascinated with Animal Farm when I was in high school and much of the book has remained in my memory. I refer to it often. I am retired from the USAF and one of my additional duties was that of Intelligence Officer. Part of my Intel Officer training included orientation on the USAF COIN (COunter-INsurgency) program. As I read the previous comments, I see that some of the awareness expressed is slightly dated but most of what they have said about Socialism/Communism is right on target with regard to the education system. One other part of their strategy is the “take-over” of the communications. Just listen to any “mainstream” news and you can see the success they have had there. What is missing is the “call-to-arms” for the American Citizen. If we are to be a government “for the people”, then we must, as individuals, insure that we are a government “of the people”, which require us holding our elected government officials accountable – emails, phone calls, and personal visits to their local offices – and this requires us to be active as voters – government BY THE PEOPLE. We’ve become fat and complacent! It’s our nation and we need to wake up and take it back at the ballot box before it’s too late!
Again, I commend you for your “Wake Up Call!” I am about to release a book of my own, Clouds of War, Past Present, and on the Horizon. It recounts America’s wars and is presented from the perspective of another retired USAF LTC, William H. Drumm, 96 years old, alive and well in Albuquerque, NM.
One last comment. Marxism calls for chaos. The belief is that the chaos will always resolve itself into communism. That theory is flawed on its premise – man is good by nature. Man is inherently flawed.
Again, thanks for your article. I’m re-inspired!
Sorry, Paul. My reply was meant for Diana.