From 1945 to 2022

George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four is packed with parallels to 2022 such as the Thought Police, Hate Week, alteration of the past, and so forth. For more fearful symmetry on the current scene, dial back to 1945, when Orwell’s Animal Farm hit the bookstores. As in Nineteen Eighty-Four, Orwell was writing about the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. 

The prize boar Old Major is Karl Marx, Snowball is Leon Trotsky, and Napoleon is Josef Stalin. Inspired by the Old Major’s dream, the revolutionary animals evict the exploiter Jones and take over his farm. Though supposedly run on an egalitarian basis, it quickly emerges that some animals are more equal than others. Consider, for example, the distribution of food on the animal farm. 

“Milk and apples (this has been proved by Science, comrades) contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig. We pigs are brainworkers. The whole management and organization of this farm depend on us. Day and night we are watching over your welfare.”

In reality, the “brainworker” pigs watched while horses Boxer and Clover did the heavy lifting. Another parallel is the pretension of Marxism-Leninism to represent “science.” 

During the Communist crackdown on the Solidarity movement in Poland, for example, Soviet bosses lamented the “lack of training in Marxist-Leninist sciences in secondary school.” What actual science Lenin might have advanced remains unclear. The same goes for Marx, only more so. 

Marx was a true believer in the quackery of phrenology, which extrapolated character from the shape of the skull. Consider Marx’s 1862 letter to Engels about socialist Ferdinand Lassalle, a man Marx called a “Jewish nigger.” 

“As the shape of his head and the way his hair grows also testify—that he is descended from the negroes who accompanied Moses’ flight from Egypt (unless his mother or paternal grandmother interbred with a nigger).” In addition, “the fellow’s importunity is also nigger-like.” Plenty more where that came from, but Marx’s inherent bias seldom if ever shows up in books on racism and white supremacy. 

The Marxist-Leninists vanguard somehow escaped the repressive condition that afflicts everybody else, and in power, they always know best. As the Marxist-Leninists have it, the state will wither away, but in the meantime, they must build the most repressive state in history. For all but the willfully blind, it’s old-fashioned dictatorship taken to new depths of depravity.

After overthrowing Jones, the revolutionary animals face a decision on wild critters such as rats. The animals take a vote “and it was agreed by an overwhelming majority that rats were comrades.” This finds a broad application, then and now.

In the Marxist view, criminals are victims of an unjust society. As comrades in the revolutionary struggle, criminals are more willing to deprive others of life and property, and thus prove useful. Stalin was an actual criminal, so the progression to mass murderer was entirely natural. In the winter of 1932-33, Stalin planned a famine that killed millions of Ukrainians, a slaughter that Walter Duranty of the New York Times claimed never happened. 

In America, Black Lives Matter makes a hero of Assata Shakur, a.k.a. Joanne Chesimard. As a member of the Black Liberation Army (BLA), which collaborated with the Weather Underground, Chesimard robbed banks and murdered a police officer. Just so you know, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin is named after Chesimard. 

The “rats are comrades” equation was evident in massive arson, theft, and murder across America in 2020. Those are all crimes but the FBI, Justice Department, and local authorities showed little interest in prosecuting them. Politicians seeking to defund the police tacitly agree that rats are comrades. They help demolish a free society to make way for the arrangements the Left really wants. 

Down on the Animal Farm, the ruling pigs kept the working animals down by warning that Jones would return. Then it turns out that the pigs are hanging out with the oppressive humans. As the tale concludes: “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.” That, too, has broad application today. 

Contrast the addled Joe Biden with the outlook of Rip Van Winkle socialist Bernie Sanders and the AOC squad. Most days it’s hard to tell which is which. 

North of the border, it’s hard to tell the difference between Justin Trudeau and Fidel Castro, for both political and biological reasons. Probably too late for a DNA test, but when it comes to ideology, the two clearly produce the same shit. 

Animal Farm is a tough act to follow but Orwell pulled it off in Nineteen Eighty-Four, about oppressive conditions now being replicated in America. In the end, Winston Smith must face what for him is the worst thing in the world, which varies from person to person. And for societies as well.

In North America, porcine politburos are transforming free, prosperous nations into something like Sino-Soviet Covidistans. In a society based on hatred and fear, some people are much more equal than others, and only the Thought Police are efficient. 

In the United States and Canada, the pigs are in power and the clocks are all striking 13. If the people called it the worst thing in the world it would be hard to blame them.

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About Lloyd Billingsley

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Hollywood Party and other books including Bill of Writes and Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation. His journalism has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Spectator (London) and many other publications. Billingsley serves as a policy fellow with the Independent Institute.

Photo: Boris Roessler/picture alliance via Getty Images