It is now 65 years since George Orwell died, and he has never been bigger. His phrases are on our lips, his ideas are in our heads, his warnings have come true. One answer to "why Orwell?" is because of his posthumous career. Five years before his death in 1950, he was, in the words of one of his biographers, D.J. Taylor, "still a faintly marginal figure" … It was only with his last two books, "Animal Farm" and "1984" (published in 1945 and 1949), that Orwell transformed his reputation as a writer. These two books would change the way we think about our lives. – Economist
Dominant Social Theme: Let's celebrate Orwell's popularity 65 years since he died. But let's not mention many of the details.
Free-Market Analysis: Reading about Orwell in The Economist magazine is a bit like reading about a celebration of the Internet in China. You can expect that a lot has been left out.
Defending its lack of substance, the article retreats into the kind of archly intellectual tone that Economist editors have all-but-perfected. The article is a good example of tone over substance.
THERE ARE MANY Orwells. The literary Orwell sits at his typewriter with a rollie dangling from his lip. The militant Orwell stands head and shoulders above his fellow anti-fascist recruits in Spain. The rural Orwell crouches down to feed a goat (he liked to lecture his less practical friends, such as V.S. Pritchett, on milking). The paternal Orwell fits a shoe on the foot of his young son, perched on his knee.
One thing we can be sure of: any representation of him will look pretty odd. Orwell was six foot four and had size-12 shoes. When he went to fight in Spain, he amazed others by bringing his own boots. In Martin Jennings's studio there are dozens of photos of Orwell on the work-table, his baggy trousers hitched above his stomach, his tweedy jacket buttoned at his chest, his dark tie fastened over a dark shirt. The biographers tell us he had piercing light-blue eyes, but the black-and-white photos catch the deep cheek-lines that run either side of his thin moustache, the sickly pallor and the cranial face. Hard to believe he was only 46 when he died. His watchful eyes are set deep in their sockets, but really any surveillance state based on Orwellian principles would focus on smell. Orwell had two of the most sensitive nostrils in English literature. He was endlessly drawn to whiffs, stinks and stenches. He once noted how Dickens recoils from sights he finds repulsive. Orwell himself moves in the opposite direction, leaning in close and inhaling foul odours as deeply as he can. His life's work was exposing "smelly little orthodoxies".
As we sift through photocopies of the photos, Jennings points out the legs that "go on for ever", "the tubercular chest" and the "skull-like" face. Sculptors like a face where the bone shows through, he tells me—much easier to capture than flabby politicians with soft folds of flesh. If there's one quality Jennings is looking to catch, it's Orwell's unease. What struck him, he says, reading "Homage to Catalonia", is how "he keeps questioning his own position". It's the contrariness and the contradictions, the resolute lack of complacency, that animate the writing. No other writer could feel safe around him. "The real test of a radical or revolutionary", wrote Christopher Hitchens, "is not the willingness to confront the orthodoxy and arrogance of the rulers, but the readiness to contest the illusions and falsehoods among close friends and allies." Whatever the statue outside the BBC looks like, it will have to be testy and unemollient. No flab anywhere; and a distinct air of restlessness. This is the patron saint of the awkward squad. He'll be wanting to get down from that plinth fast.
These excerpts give us a good idea of the emphasis of the article. It is true there are several grafs mentioning 9/11, the NSA, FBI and Snowden, etc. but the larger article is a kind of retrospective regarding Orwell, the man.
Of course, in a sense, this is as it should be – as it has been written to mark an anniversary. But given that the British government has just banned the filming of certain "pornographic" acts (including spanking), it seems to us that the subject of Orwell's writings are more pertinent than ever.
In our recent article about the British government's intent to use sex as a weapon of social control, we mentioned a number of ways in which Britain was fast succumbing to strategies that were turning it into a kind of police state.
The British government seems increasingly distrustful and manipulative when it comes to the larger body politic, British politicians lied in concert for decades about the nature of the European Union in order to gain electoral consent to join and advance British participation.
Governments, both Tory and Labour, have advanced social welfare programs that endorse global warming, alternative energy and behavior-altering transportation schemes – despite dubious evidence for their necessity. In London, for instance, there are areas where automobiles are now perpetually banned and bike riding or walking is mandatory; meanwhile Britain is said to be the repository of more public cameras than anywhere else in the world, recording citizens' every move.
Britain's national health care system is virulently socialized and there are plenty of horror stories about its inefficient delivery of services. British gun control laws are such that people have been prosecuted for confronting criminals in their own homes
One could say the same, generally, for Europe, the US and even Canada. The West is leading a kind of Orwellian resurgence. (As for the developing world, one can describe its countries as "Orwellian" going back decades or centuries.)
In a sense, the West's Orwellian degeneration is shocking not for what Orwell anticipated but for what he left out. In Orwell's world, the emphasis is on reality of totalitarianism. But what the West is living through is the PROCESS.
It is this process and the investment opportunities that they create that The Daily Bell attempts to report on via its analysis of dominant social themes. These memes, which create a kind of "directed history," expand globalism and increasingly restrict freedoms. They are deliberate, poisonous and supportive of chaos.
For those who understand what is taking place, we along with others in the alternative media offer solutions. For Orwell's characters there were few solutions. But in the 21st century there is yet a modicum of freedom available, especially to those with the wealth to seize it.
Alternative citizenships and domiciles, the purchase and delivery of precious metals, prudent diversification and hedging, exposure to farming, farmland and healthy foods, the wherewithal to have liquid assets and flexible travel arrangements – all of these and more are part of the portfolio of the sophisticated – aware – citizen in the modern day and age.
Ironically, from what we can tell, the West is doing the most to emplace and propagate Orwell's dystopia. Tellingly, Orwell left the Internet out of his narrative. Fortunately, you don't have to.