Lessons From the Ever-Independent Orwell

Eric Sharp
Feb 24, 2011 at 11:53 AM

Orwell BBC

It is an uncommonly known fact that Eric Blair, better known by the pen name of George Orwell, was a socialist. This is seems astonishing in light of his extensive literature that seems to tear apart the myth of the socialist paradise.

But you see that is precisely the point -- though a socialist, Orwell never hesitated to burn bridges if he thought that his movement was going astray. His most famous works, Animal Farm and 1984, are his refutations of what he called the "stupid cult of Russia" and totalitarian socialism. As a democratic-socialist, Orwell detested the Marxist Bolsheviks, and the rest of the "cult of Russia" and the larger part of the left during his time detested him. History has shown Orwell to be quite correct, and his opponents "led into the Marsh" most ironically by Lenin himself.

So what is the point? What bearing does this have for the modern Liberty movement? Orwell teaches us an important lesson about individualism and mass movements. We should never be afraid to speak truth to power -- even at the risk of offending and enraging our friends and allies.

As a movement of individualists, as opposed to one of collectivists, we are naturally less inclined to group-think. But it would be a mistake to consider it a trait of our breed to be immune from pressures to conform!

So as we go forward on our march to change the course of history, right the wrongs, to reduce the State, to restore the Constitution, and rebuild the Republic remember this:  Always keep your independence of mind.

Cross posted from the Humble Libertarian.

I did a big research paper on Orwell last semester.

A very interesting paradox, but at the same time, understandable as to why he said what he said and believed what he believed.

And his books are great as well- I read Animal Farm in about 30 minutes, and it proved a great point in that short time.

jamesmaier93's picture

Really? You should try get that posted as a Mises Daily.

Indeed it does.

They are, I hear that his non-fiction was very good as well. Did you seriously read Animal Farm in 30 minutes?


Eric Sharp. ETF's picture