Recollecting Orwell

Walter A. McDougall, a Univ of Pennsylvania professor and Chair of the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s “Center for the Study of America and the West” (and surprisingly, with titles like that, a political conservative) posted an article over at FPR this morning which included the following:

One of my Lenten disciplines this year was to re-read the works of George Orwell. His description of the political debasement of the English language was chilling in light of the linguistic gymnastics of our present leaders. But what struck me most was that his empire of Oceania ruled by Big Brother in 1984 represented the pure Crusader State. Oceania is always at war, but for no specific reason, and against enemies that are constantly shifting, but always depicted as utterly evil. The wars are low-level affairs fought on distant fronts, but just enough terrorist strikes occur in London itself to stoke the fury and fear of the home front. Nor can the war ever be won, for the permanent Crusade is what justifies Big Brother’s rule.

I admit it, I too stumbled a bit over the whole concept of Orwell for Lent. But the summary still sounds pretty prophetic.


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