George Orwell–at TIC

This morning, the wonderful editors at The Imaginative Conservative posted a piece I wrote on George Orwell.

Despite his blistering attacks on all forms of socialism in his fiction, many scholars have considered Orwell a socialist. Yet, as Kirk rightly argued, his leftism is merely “by accident,” a reaction against the “commercialism and crassness” of the Western world of his day.2 If a socialist, his socialism was the craft, genteel, and communal socialism of nineteenth-century gentlemen-idealists such as William Morris. In his preface to the Ukrainian edition of Animal Farm, he explained: “I became pro-Socialist more out of disgust with the way the poorer section of the industrial workers were oppressed and neglected than out of any theoretical admiration for a planned society.”3 In a study of both Russell Kirk and George Orwell, John Rodden concluded that the two men had so much in common, as each “was an intellectual outsider who scrutinized his own side just as vigorously as he attacked his ideological foes.”4

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