1984 all over again

Since the surprise election victory of Donald Trump, George Orwell's 1984 has enjoyed a spike in sales.  Orwell wrote a letter in 1944 explaining his motivation for writing a novel that would become the dystopian classic.  Strangely, the Republican Party and future presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump were not among his reasons.  World War II was still being fought, and of course, the evils of Hitler's Nazi Germany were very much on his mind.  Orwell conceded that the Communist dictator Stalin was only a slightly lesser and necessary evil who had played an important role in fighting Hitler.

Many progressives and leftists take some kind of comfort in the belief that 1984 is a prophetic work that foresaw the coming of "right-wing" totalitarianism disguised as Republicans and conservatism.  Orwell, a socialist, recognized the difference between the contentious political divisions in free societies and the tyranny of true totalitarianism.  The recent hysterical rhetoric of many in media and on college campuses suggests they do not.  Without a trace of irony, millennial activists shout down and physically threaten people they disagree with in the name of free speech.

In the letter, Orwell wrote, "[T]here is the fact that the intellectuals are more totalitarian in outlook than the common people."  If they are still wondering about whom Orwell was writing, they need only to look in the mirror.

Since the surprise election victory of Donald Trump, George Orwell's 1984 has enjoyed a spike in sales.  Orwell wrote a letter in 1944 explaining his motivation for writing a novel that would become the dystopian classic.  Strangely, the Republican Party and future presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump were not among his reasons.  World War II was still being fought, and of course, the evils of Hitler's Nazi Germany were very much on his mind.  Orwell conceded that the Communist dictator Stalin was only a slightly lesser and necessary evil who had played an important role in fighting Hitler.

Many progressives and leftists take some kind of comfort in the belief that 1984 is a prophetic work that foresaw the coming of "right-wing" totalitarianism disguised as Republicans and conservatism.  Orwell, a socialist, recognized the difference between the contentious political divisions in free societies and the tyranny of true totalitarianism.  The recent hysterical rhetoric of many in media and on college campuses suggests they do not.  Without a trace of irony, millennial activists shout down and physically threaten people they disagree with in the name of free speech.

In the letter, Orwell wrote, "[T]here is the fact that the intellectuals are more totalitarian in outlook than the common people."  If they are still wondering about whom Orwell was writing, they need only to look in the mirror.