Friday, August 22, 2008



As a pacifist, I had rightly urged that the value of the free mind and the compassionate heart, that love of truth and respect for human personality, that kindliness, gentleness, compassion and mercy, are all endangered by war.

But if the Nazis had won, they would have been not merely endangered but destroyed, destroyed so completely that Europe would have entered upon a new Dark Age comparable with that which succeeded the break-up of the Roman Empire.

If there was ever again to be good and secure living in Europe, if civilized ways of thinking and behaving were ever to be restored to us, then this horrible rule of gangsters and thugs had, I felt, to be overthrown.

Could it be overthrown except by force ? Things had reached a point at which I had come to believe that it could not.

You may think that this is an old story scarcely worth the re-telling.
In this last year (1948 - Ed) it has assumed a topical significance.

For what I felt then to be true of an England over-run by the Nazis, I feel today would be true of an England over-run by the Russians; true, perhaps less drastically, true perhaps less horribly, but, so far as the suppression of free institutions, the destruction of our traditional way of life are concerned, true in substance.

My pacifism would, then, remain in abeyance if - which God forbid - such an eventuality were to threaten.

RWS NOTE 2008 - Two years later, in 1950 (5 months after Orwell's death), CEM Joad took part in an Oxford Union Debate - and won it : "THAT THIS HOUSE REGRETS THE INFLUENCE EXERCISED BY THE US, AS THE DOMINANT POWER AMONG THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONS".
So, Joad's position in 1950 was very similar to that of Orwell in 1949 : both Englishmen warned against the inherent danger of 'totalitarianism', within Right-Wing Capitalism (eg US) AND Left-Wing Communism (eg Soviet Russia).
This made Joad & Orwell very unpopular from both ends of the political spectrum...much like Chomsky today.
Their clear warnings have therefore been silenced and/or deliberately misunderstood, by propaganda, from both sides

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?