Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

May 22, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

1984....I mentioned yesterday that I was rereading 1984. There was no special reason for this; I just noticed it on my bookshelf the other day and realized that I hadn't read it since high school. And it's a pretty short book, after all.

I'm on to other things at the moment, but I figure I ought to make some use of this literary excursion. So here's a salutary passage:

Those whose attitude toward the war is most nearly rational are the subject peoples of the disputed territories. To these people the war is simply a continuous calamity which sweeps to and fro over their bodies like a tidal wave. Which side is winning is a matter of complete indifference to them. They are aware that a change of overlordship means simply that they will be doing the same work as before for new masters who treat them in the same manner as the old ones.

The slightly more favored workers whom we call "the proles" are only intermittently conscious of the war. When it is necessary they can be prodded into frenzies of fear and hatred, but when left to themselves they are capable of forgetting for long periods that the war is happening.

It is in the ranks of the Party, and above all of the Inner Party, that the true war enthusiasm is found. World-conquest is believed in most firmly by those who know it to be impossible. This peculiar linking-together of opposites knowledge with ignorance, cynicism with fanaticism is one of the chief distinguishing marks of ________.

In the book, of course, the blank is filled in with "Oceanic society." You, however, can fill it in with anything that comes to mind.

Kevin Drum 5:44 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly