Understanding newspeak

“I dislike big towns, noise, motor cars, the radio, tinned food, central heating, and ‘modern’ furniture,” George Orwell wrote; he disliked “celluloid, rubber, chromium-steel everywhere, arc-lamps blazing over your head, radios all playing the same time, no vegetation left, everything cemented over.”

These words came back to me via (the splendid) Ed West’s substack, in which he celebrates the seventy-fifth anniversary of the publication of Nineteen Eighty-Four. It is a reminder that “Orwell” (Mr Eric Blair) was an inner reactionary, not a defecting revolutionary at all; that he picked up socialism only to drop it violently on the ground, and smash it to pieces. He remains topical for that accomplishment, and secretly for that strategy.

While observing the Spanish Civil War, from within, he learnt that the modern “intellectual” was a creature of the Left, and in fact had been murderously so since some time before the French Revolution. He (the Leftoid) observed the world in the simplistic terms of Good versus Evil. As he matured, or aged, he might sometimes come to realize that it was his own side that is very Evil. (It does not follow that the Right is Good, however; just less Bad.) And so we will be “shifting to the Right,” without ever getting there, for ever.

It takes all sorts to fill the Allsorts bag, and despite my licorice suspicions, George Orwell has been worth reading, through the last century or so. He did provide the vocabulary for the understanding of modern politics.