by EDWARD CLINE
September 12, 2013
Reading many of George Orwell's essays leaves one with the impression that he was an integrated man, that is, his mind was steadfastly anchored to reason and reality. It wasn't. His prescient essays on totalitarianism may lead one to believe that he was 100% rational and had no chinks in his intellectual armor. He wasn't, and the chinks are evident.
The most visible chink in Orwell's intellectual armor was his steadfast belief in the beneficent advantages of socialism, while at the same time he detested communism. Communism, he wrote, is but totalitarianism by another name. Totalitarianism, or Communism, embraces the totality of an individual's existence, from what he pays for necessities to his social relationships to what goes on in his mind. Orwell observed this totality in Stalin's Russia, also in Hitler's Nazi Germany, and, to a lesser extent, in Mussolini's Fascist Italy.
Stalin and Hitler were the inevitable heirs to every wistful vision from time immemorial that men could be organized into benign collectives, communes, or "cooperatives" to corral and control the selfish nature of men to live their own lives for their own reasons. We could begin with the ethics of St. Augustine or Marcus Aurelius, but would need to go back to Plato. Among the minor contributors to the ideal of a collectivist paradise were Auguste Comte and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. Along came Karl Marx who distilled all those wishes into a system which reduced individuals into mere insensate atoms of an impersonal evolution towards perfect, stateless, selfless socialism. Or, stateless communism.
Orwell never grasped that his ideal, "stateless socialism," is a contradiction in terms. Socialism cannot be imposed on men except by force. And whether the force compels men to accept socialized medicine, or the redistribution of their private wealth to alleviate state-caused poverty, or mandated florescent light bulbs, or any other altruistic scheme that shackles men together and compels them to become dependent on fiat law and legislated extortion, it must be employed by the agency of a state. A "mixed economy" of economic and even social controls, must, if not opposed and corrected, lead to total regulation and control.
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