Why Orwell Matters

To quote the title of Christopher Hitchens’ book on Orwell (Why Orwell Matters), the day after Christopher’s death, seems appropriate. And I do so simply because I just read what I think is a so-called Op-Ed piece in the Globe and Mail entitled Be very afraid: Stephen Harper is inventing a new Canada.

The irony and audacity of course, despite being described generally as a Left Wing publication—whatever that is—is that the Globe and Mail endorsed Harper for Prime Minister, in print, this year, April of 2011.

It’s such a racket, this mainstream media trip.

From today’s article against Harper:

The new Canada is a place where militarism is given pride of place over peacemaking. Watching Defence Minister Peter MacKay taking bows at the Grey Cup game for Canada’s part in the Libyan campaign, Globe columnist Lawrence Martin observed:

The blending of sport and the military, with the government as the marching band, is part of the new nationalism the Conservatives are trying to instill. It is another example of how the state, under Stephen Harper’s governance, is becoming all-intrusive. … State controls are now at a highpoint in our modern history. There is every indication they will extend further.

There it is: ‘the state…is becoming all-intrusive…’ Indeed, and meanwhile (and generalizing), the Left attacks the Government, while demanding more Government (bigger Government) to reign in the Government.

And from the Globe and Mail endorsement:

Only Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party have shown the leadership, the bullheadedness (let’s call it what it is) and the discipline this country needs. He has built the Conservatives into arguably the only truly national party, and during his five years in office has demonstrated strength of character, resolve and a desire to reform. Canadians take Mr. Harper’s successful stewardship of the economy for granted, which is high praise. He has not been the scary character portrayed by the opposition; with some exceptions, his government has been moderate and pragmatic.

So between our two so-called ideologic wings, is the plane these politicians (and media moguls) actually fly on, together, one pushing for a bigger state, the other a more intrusive state. The similarities are undeniable, utterly interchangeable, and have never worked out without the other.

And of course a newspaper can offer varying positions on whatever. But why not just give us the facts? And any newspaper’s outright endorsement of a leader seems to me a little troublesome. Is it? Well, this is planet earth.

It was Karl Marx who desired a complete State, nothing but the State, running everything, and then suggested such a State would somehow “…whither away.” The anarchist Bakunin chided him for such idiocy. If you like a bigger state, so be it—but the State, by definition, will not of its own accord, ever, whither away. Has it not shown its MO to be always to expand? And one would be utterly void of facts to think Republican politicians on the Big Stage down south actually prefer (and fight to create) a smaller state, as a rule. They clearly don’t. The wars alone, continued by President Obama (a Democrat, of course), show that it goes both ways.

George Orwell matters because he spoke so much truth, so brilliantly, and so many of his insights remain pertinent today.

Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper.
—George Orwell

“…the word anarchy freaks people. Yet anarchy—rule by no one—has always struck me as the same as democracy carried to its logical and reasonable conclusions. Of course those who rule—bosses and politicians, capital and the state—cannot imagine that people could rule themselves, for to admit that people can live without authority and rulers pulls out the whole underpinnings of their ideology. Once you admit that people can—and do, today, in many spheres of their lives—run things easier, better and more fairly than the corporation and the government can, there’s no justification for the boss and the premier.
Mark Leier


4 Responses to “Why Orwell Matters”

  1. Karen says:

    So what you’re saying here is that moving to Canada is not the answer, huh?

    Love to you and those you love,

  2. Hey K,

    I don’t know what the answer is, but I sure am grateful and fortunate to be in Canada! Think of so many of the countries one could be living in.

  3. AndreaCee says:

    Hey Petey –

    Don’t forget the Conservatives are spending around $28 million bucks to ‘celebrate’ the war of 1812 this year http://articles.latimes.com/2012/feb/26/nation/la-na-war-of-1812-20120226. Not sure how many Canadians know/care about that one. But I’m thinking 28 mil could buy a decent chunk of healthcare/affordable housing/whatever. Oh and there’s this oldie but goodie, the War on Drugs, Canadian-style http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1138667–international-panel-urges-stephen-harper-to-reconsider-canadian-pot-prohibition.

    Such a cornucopia to choose from.


  4. Lovely Andrea,

    What could almost be so cynical and paranoid that the Ottawa Boys are spending all the dough on The War of 1812 to get us thinking war-like things as they ramp up towards the Iranian Crisis. As for the War on Drugs, the Boss just can’t find ANY mental nuance on the subject, and what he does find is profoundly hypocritical, utterly unpragmatic (unless his agenda is pro-trafficking and pro-violent fall out and the further decimation of marginalized people) and staggeringly expensive, and complete out of step even with science.

    You rock,


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