Much is being written about Eric Arthur Blair these days. George Orwell, that is. Animal Farm, the first of his two most famous books, is now 67 years old, universally recognized as a classic, and read by just about everybody. It barely made it into print, however, being refused by one editor after another who don’t seem to have bothered to read the book itself before rejecting it. After being refused by a bunch of English editors, it was turned down by an American editor who said there was no demand in the US for a book about animals. (Black Beauty, Call of the Wild, My Friend Flicka, Rin Tin Tin, Lassie, Mickey Mouse, anyone?)
What the editors apparently missed
was that it was a book about
the Soviet Union.
The editors don’t appear to have bothered reading the book, because they missed something crucial, that was that it was a book not about animals, but the Soviet Union.
To refresh your memory, the animals on the farm staged a revolution and overthrew the farmer and drove him out, and began to govern themselves as equals. Orwell cast various animals as the early Soviet leaders (somehow missing Lenin, however). “All animals are equal” was the motto on the new farm. Before long, however, some of the animals began to assume privileges for themselves. Specifically, the pigs decided they were the true leaders, and therefore deserved the best there was to offer. In time, “…but some animals are more equal than others” was added to their motto. They eventually banned all other animals from the farmhouse, and began making agreements with a group of farmers. The book ends with the other animals looking in the window and seeing the pigs and farmers, engorged with food and drink, and arguing over a card game. They could see no difference between the pigs and the farmers.
Today we have a very similar condition.
This is a story about the excesses of the far left, as represented by the USSR. The select few accumulated a great deal of wealth, and the rest suffered. You remember reading about the Communist Party favorites, all of whom moved about in limousines, and owned expensive vacation homes and other perks while everyone else stood in long lines at nearly empty stores.
Ironic, isn’t it. Today we have a very similar condition. The very rich own yachts, ride limos, and have expensive vacation homes, far more than any time since the Gilded Age. But they aren’t the top Commies on the left, who were the epitome of hypocrisy and betrayal of the communist ideal. Today the very rich reside on the right, and they have betrayed the democratic ideal by allowing the glaring inequalities and diminution of democracy that are crushing the rest of us, while they accumulate more and more unusable money.