Orwell hated his fellow intellectuals, whom he accused of a range of sins: a lack of patriotism, resentment of money and physical vigor, concealed sexual frustration, pretension, and dishonesty. He loved “the ordinary person” and the lives led by those “not especially blessed by material goods, people who work in ordinary jobs, who don’t have much of an education, who won’t achieve greatness, and who nevertheless love, care for others, work, have fun, raise children, and have large thoughts about the deepest questions in ways Orwell thought especially admirable.
His novels, “1984” and “Animal Farm” were written out of disdain for his fellow intellectuals, reflecting his shortcomings in life. Here are 10 quotes that are still relevant today, more than a half a century after his works were published.
“Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness.”
“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
“Pacifism is objectively pro-fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side, you automatically help out that of the other. Nor is there any real way of remaining outside such a war as the present one. In practice, ‘he that is not with me is against me.”
“Speaking the Truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act.”
“All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.”
“Political language. . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”
“Liberal: a power worshiper without power.”
“We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.”
“Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.”
“War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent.”
“The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous. Hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. This new version is the past and no different past can ever have existed. In principle the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation. The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects and its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or East Asia, but to keep the very structure of society intact.”