Reassessing Orwell to Understand Our Times

Just two or three generations ago, most Americans understood that George Orwell’s classics Animal Farm and 1984 were written to explain how freedom is lost to totalitarianism and the intolerance that accompanies it.  “Big Brother,” a term still casually used to describe an all-knowing governing authority, comes right out of 1984. In the state that Orwell describes, all subjects are continually reminded that “Big Brother is watching you,” by way of constant surveillance through the pervasive use of “telescreens” by the ruling class.  Orwell’s warnings about totalitarianism written in novel form in Animal Farm and 1984 came shortly after Freidrich Hayek’s Road to Serfdom was published at the end of World War II.  But it took the shocking revelations from books on Nazism and Soviet Communism, by scholars like William Shirer and Robert Conquest in the 1960s, to really make Orwell relevant for teaching to the...(Read Full Article)

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