Published 75 years ago in 1945, George Orwell’s Animal Farm presents revolution as a thing true to its name: revolving and returning like an infernal circle to the despotic power and blind capitulation originally repulsed. It is a principle suggestive of an ingrained brutality in political animals that cannot be broken. And the political animals in the “land of the free” are not always better off than the pitifully enslaved animals of Orwell’s Animal Farm.
Animal Farm tells of a revolution that went wrong and the gradual, yet total, overthrow of the original doctrines of governance. Though this modern classic is traditionally read as a satire of Stalinism, it might also be read as a satire of our own politics. When America declared independence from foreign tyranny, it slowly yoked itself to domestic tyranny. Benighted and beset as Americans are nowadays, they are working as hard as carthorses to prove Orwell a prophet by demonstrating that mass illusion, mass intimidation, and mass indifference are the engines that produce political complacency and political corruption. Like Orwell’s animals, Americans are attesting that man is an animal doomed to the wheel of fate, ever returning to the tragedy he flees from, rendering evil inevitable and revolution pointless.
The American indifference and disregard for good government is an Orwellian capitulation. As in Animal Farm, the fears and confusions bred of a rapidly changing culture and its permeating devices may be disorienting and discouraging; but, in the end, they are mainly disarming. “What can I do?” The phrase is common. “What difference can I make?” Everyone has heard it, if not thought it or said it oneself. The answer to these questions of passivity is enacted in surrendering and succumbing to the cogs—or teeth—of the system as Americans go along with everything from the madness of same-sex “marriage” to the murder of unborn babies.
Surrender. Succumb. What can you do?
Work harder, America. This is what Americans do. Work harder, despite the lies and injustices all are subject to. Comrade Pelosi says the president somehow abused his power. Profound. Impeached. (Work harder.) Comrade Biden is a good Catholic because he is pro-choice. Hosanna. Hallelujah. (Work harder.) Comrade Jazz Jennings is a trans-hero fighting for hormone treatment and sex-reassignment surgery for kids. You go, “girl.” (Work harder.) What can we do? Do not ask questions, comrade. Put your head down and work harder, as did Comrade Boxer before his loving conquerors, Comrade Squealer and Comrade Napoleon.
In the end, whether capitalist or communist, corruption is a constant—which is to say that solving the plight of the human condition by strictly political means has a bad track record. And the United States offers just another instance of this. Democracy is not immune to the spirit of dictatorship. There is certainly nothing in America’s “democratic” common core educational system that prepares citizens for democracy. Soft tyranny has become the obvious objective, producing agents who are thoroughly thoughtless and indelibly indoctrinated and who automatically regurgitate the party lines of liberal acceptance.
Freedom is the unimpeded capacity to realize the human good. Freedom in America today is defined as mere license, which enslaves when inclinations stray from the good. This American fallacy defines liberty as getting whatever one wants—and, moreover, states that the government is there to give it. Yet we know the truth: senseless entitlement for handouts and bailouts is not freedom, but slavery and subservience.
American tyranny and slavery are bred of ten thousand luxuries that lull into a compliant inaction. It is in itself a travesty how the multitude shrugs off travesty and holds its tongue in a species of fear branded as “tolerance.”
“Revolutions,” George Orwell wrote, “only effect a radical improvement when the masses are alert.” The American masses are far from alert. They are stultified and sleepy under a host of tyrannies that define the American mindset with impunity, chief among them being the dictatorship of relativism, as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said. The apathy and autocracy so prevalent in America have toppled empires for centuries. How long will Americans labor in their oligarchic traces and trenches before they recognize that their freedom is slavery? When will the next American Revolution arise? A second and sacred Civil War? What can we do? We must work harder in the name of Truth. “Rebellion to tyrants,” as Thomas Jefferson said, “is obedience to God.” Work harder.