When George Orwell wrote Animal Farm in 1945, he intended the story to be an allegory to the occurrences in the Soviet Union in the Stalin era prior to the Second World War (Orwell 23). He was referring to the fact that after an era of monarchy, Joseph Stalin emerged as a communist leader who initially promised to listen to the needs of the common people, but instead soon became a monarchical ruler of the country. Thus, Orwell believes that communism is a dangerous policy as it gives the leaders of a country such absolute power that they tend to forget their responsibilities. The United States, in certainly a democracy; in fact, it is notorious for its communism-phobia for a long time now (Levin 31). However, the question remains if the country indeed adheres to the policies of democracy. This paper attempts to analyse the United States and its political system from the point of view of Orwell’s Animal Farm.
While Orwell’s fundamental theory in the book allegorically presented communism as “two legs” and democracy as “four legs”, it is an undeniable fact that the ability of having a pair of limbs free to conduct a range of activities is a superior power. Thus, the pigs began walking two legs imitating the very humans they fought. The method used by the pigs to assure the other animals of their righteousness in converting into two-legged creatures can be termed as “third-way politics,” which has been the doctrine used in the recent past by President Clinton. The third-way is rhetoric that claims to combine the best of both worlds: capitalism and social democratism (Dale). However, it remains as fact that the doctrine tends to ignore public opinion, much like the pigs slyly ignored the opinions of the other animals in the farm (Dale).
Is pragmatism the only need when considering the development of a nation and its people’s lives (Dale)? While it is true that capitalism has a way of ignoring the needs of common people because of the intense sense of competition it creates, third-way politics are not a solution to the problem. This paper opines that in order to truly heed the welfare of the people of a nation, social democracy is the answer. Nevertheless, to reject capitalism means to reject the power of being the world’s most powerful economy, and the Clinton government was clearly of the opinion that the United States cannot afford to lose that position.
After years of being involved in various wars after decades, the Americans were again pulled into the same mire in the Bush era, when the country was caught in the throes of the 2003 war on Iraq. The question here is, did it really benefit the citizens of the United States? Did Saddam Hussein really pose a threat to the United States, or was it the government’s way of appeasing the people after the ghastly Twin Tower incident? The reason the ruling government would appease its people with such an action that in fact killed more people after the deaths in New York, is because it wanted to stay in power. Thus, in catering to the basic need of the people to act out against an unfair incident, the government actually used a ruse that further impaired the lives of even more people.
Such is the strategy used by the pigs in convincing the other animals that they had a right and need to the tastier foods in the farm. ay and night we are watching over your welfare. They persuaded the other animals into thinking that the milk and apples were meant for them (the pigs) only. This was because of the fact that as the thinkers if their society the pigs needed more energy for their minds, which could be derived from the nutrients in the mild and the apples. They also induced a fear psychology among the other animals that if the nutrients were not made available for the pigs’ superior brains, the humans would return and cause them great harm.
Similarly, we have seen (and perhaps will continue to see) instances of Orwellism in the American society. Examples of Orwellsim can be observed in the United States today when the environmental policies are considered. Regulation is being heralded as the new form of governance. There was a ban on incandescent light bulbs in the recent past to ensure that energy use is reduced within the country (Payne). “The best way for government to boost energy efficiency isn’t to micromanage by picking winners and losers, a job better suited to free-market innovation. It is to set a reasonable standard – miles per gallon or light per watt, for example – and let the market sort it out” (Payne). However, the policy being adopted by the government reeks of the power-control polices of the pigs in Animal Farm. Thus, as has been stated before, for truly governing the United States by keeping the problems of the people in mind, a socialist democracy is a far more superior manner of governance.
Dale, R. “What a ‘Third Way’ Is Really About.” The International Herald Tribune. April 4, 2000. Print.
Levin, Murray B. Political Hysteria in America: The Democratic Capacity for Repression. New York: Basic Books, 1971. Print.
Orwell, George. “Why I Write.” The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell – an Age Like This 1945–1950. Vol. 1. London: Penguin, 1990. Print.
Payne, Henry. “Orwellism of the Day: Bulb Ban Is Freedom” The Michigan National Review. February 2, 2011. Print.