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The Nature of the Beast

Wall Street Journal letter writer Jules Bernstein notes approvingly today that

Unlike many on the left, instead of abandoning socialism once he discovered the full horror of Stalinist rule in the Soviet Union, Orwell abandoned the Soviet Union and instead remained a socialist.

I’m no expert on Orwell, so I assume that Bernstein is correct.  If so, Orwell should have known better.

Socialism (especially as understood in Orwell’s day) is central economic planning.  Everyone must conform to the plan.  Individual disagreements with the plan – as well as individual creativity and initiative – are repressed, for these invariably upset the plan.

And with freedom of choice and action necessarily all but obliterated, freedom of thought will practically not be tolerated.

Despite his brilliance, Orwell apparently exhibited an infantile naiveté by failing to see that any government truly committed to central planning is inevitably a government exceedingly impressed with its imagined transcendent powers and sacred assignment.

Is it surprising when such a government brutalizes any and all who stand in its way?