Orwell

“Power-worship blurs political judgment because it leads, almost unavoidably, to the belief that present trends will continue. Whoever is winning at the moment will always seem to be invincible.”

–George Orwell

Eric Arthur Blair, best known as the English author, essayist, and critic, George Orwell, was born in India in 1903 and died in 1950 of complications from tuberculosis. Orwell was best known for the novels “Animal Farm” (one of my all time favorite dystopian books), and the deeply disturbing “Nineteen Eighty-four”.

The quote above came from a critique that Orwell had written in 1946 of James Burnham’s books “The Managerial Revolution” and “The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom”. His observation was that Burnham made the mistake that many of us make when predicting outcomes – we assume that is now will always be. When we make our decisions based on that logical misstep, we fail to plan sufficiently for alternatives.

I think that, when caught in this view, we also frequently fail to act because we do not see the potential for change. When I’d first posted this quote last year, I asked whether this type of defeatism a problem today in the US? I think it very much is, and that it is is one of the factors that has played into the rise of Donald Trump as a serious presidential contender over the course of the past 12 months. These are scary times, indeed.

 

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