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Murray Rothbard on George Orwell's "1984"

When describing the current state of affairs and the encroaching police state, libertarians often compare the system we are living under to that described in George Orwell’s 1984. The neocons of their day immediately seized upon the popularity of 1984 and used it as an analogy for the Communist Soviet Union at the time.

Murray Rothbard also saw the groundbreaking novel as an analogy to modern times. In his review of the book which was published in the September 1949 edition of Analysis magazine, he describes how the ruling Party uses wars and the constant threat of wars to oppress and control the populace:

One significant method that the Party uses to remain in power is to contrive to keep its country always at war with some other country. The other countries are also run by similar parties, though each have different names. By the process of doublethink every loyal Party member believes that his part will ultimately conquer the world, yet also recognizes that all the countries tacitly engage in a war that never becomes too “hot.” Thus, each Party has an excuse to starve and terrorize its subjects in the name of military necessity, while its ruler remains secure from any wartime disaster.

Instead of simply comparing the dystopian Big Brother world of 1984 to the Communist system of the Soviet Union, Rothbard is able to look deeper, and see how the world Orwell describes is similar to our own for a different reason. Rothbard sees a more accurate comparison to how the three main superstates described in 1984 - Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia - mutually keep war going for the purposes of oppressing and controlling their own populations. This seems to be more of an analogy to the “Cold War” occurring between the United States and the Soviet Union, as opposed to simply a propaganda piece against “the Reds.”

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I happen to be rereading 1984 at the moment.

At the same time, I'm working among colleagues who are like nothing I've ever seen before. There's an "economist" from Vassar who was an advisor to the main council to the White House during the crisis (last year or so of Bush plus first year of Obama). There are various women's studies people and artsy types. Every meeting with them is like some version of the two minutes hate. They hate Christians, they hate God, they hate men, they hate white people, they hate guns. (Of course, some of them are Christian white males.)

For a few simple ideas (e.g., government is not God; taxation is a violent extraction of wealth) I was told yesterday by the art history teacher that my ideas are so "offensive" and "warped" he won't talk to me anymore.

I think Orwell's version is much more gritty and "in your face" than what we have so that people don't recognize it in the least, but what we have is still a boot stepping on a human face. In fact, these people around here are happy to put on the boot if you point out the obvious comparison.

So true

The "2 minute hate" today is sometimes subtle and hidden, but it's everywhere you look.

Liberty has a long road ahead.

Thanks for reading!

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

It's amazing how blind people can be to reality...

What do they think about the NSA scandal?

Great read

bump to start the week with some Murray!