Rhyme of the Day

Various meanderings with a rhyme in there somewhere.

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Orwell Your Orwell by David Ramsay Steele
john_j_enright
I heard David Ramsay Steele talking about his new book, Orwell Your Orwell: A Worldview on the Slab. I bought a copy, too, but have just read the preface so far.

This was a real labor of love for Ramsay Steele, who has been working on this book, off and on, for twenty years. It sounds like it's the most careful delineation of what Orwell actually thought and believed. Of course, his political views changed over time. At least once, in the case of whether it was a good idea to go to war with the NAZIs, they changed overnight.

Ramsay Steele thinks that Orwell ws never really controversial, as such, in the sense that Orwell's views generally mapped to views that were held by a large part of the British Left, at any given time. He's not saying that Orwell always followed the majority views of the British Left, but that his views were at least in line, at any given time, with some substantial minority.

He thinks Orwell's lasting legacy is his attack on totalitarianism, which had a real impact over time.

Orwell, himself, remained a socialist, but an anti-totalitarian. He thought the government should own everything, but that there should be freedom throughout the land. I know, somehow that never seems to work out compatibly.

Ramsay Steele aims to dissect
Orwell's worldly views
Which did indeed change to reflect
Evolving world news.

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Yeah, reading his letters, he comes across as naive. Boots are a problem with capitalism because you can't get them without a profit motive but in socialism? The government just orders them! He really thought it would be that simple. (Mind you, he realizes the government can't just order writing. . . .)

He was much greater as an anti-totalitarian than as a socialist.

Right, his discipline needs to be free! Ramsay Steele did mention that Orwell knew very little about economics.

Oh, yeah. He actually asked, during the war, why new typewriters cost less, before the war, than used ones during it. It didn't occur to him that the supply had been greatly curtailed.

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