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Animal Farm

by Bill Osler / July 26, 2009 11:51 AM PDT

This weekend I finally got around to reading Animal Farm. Quite an interesting book. And to think that Orwell considered himself a socialist!

"All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others." Indeed.

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Remember when...
by J. Vega / July 26, 2009 12:32 PM PDT
In reply to: Animal Farm

Remember when Napoleon changed the 7 commandments written on the barn wall? Such trouble, having to mess with paint.
Now, it would be easier, just change the official web page, and poof!.

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Yep. History is apparently malleable ...
by Bill Osler / July 26, 2009 8:09 PM PDT
In reply to: Remember when...

Napoleon apparently figured out just how malleable the past is much faster than most of us do.

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Putting a personal stamp on the historical record
by Ziks511 / July 30, 2009 1:07 AM PDT

has been a fact of history for millennia. Check out the Dead Sea Scrolls for example.

What an historian is supposed to do is remove the propaganda and get to the truth of the situation, or at least to base his own work on the best evidence available. Everybody's thought processes are infused with their own experiences and personal leanings, but with historians, as well as judges for example, there are rules that have to be adhered to and evidence is crucial. And you can't cherry-pick the evidence, you have to formulate a thesis that makes sense of as much of the evidence as possible, and the items which remain inexplicable must be acknowledged.

It is those engaged in politics or religion who are inclined to chop and change. The insertion of the term "filioque" into the Nicene Creed by some monk in Spain, and its spreading through the Western part of the Orthodox world, and led to the schism of the Catholic Church from the other elements of the Orthodox Church. That and the desire of Rome to assert primacy where there had been centuries of rough equality between Byzantium Alexandria Antioch and other centres.

Rob

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(NT) Always taught that history is written by the winners
by Diana Forum moderator / July 30, 2009 9:57 AM PDT
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Frequently it is ...
by Bill Osler / July 30, 2009 11:17 AM PDT

Or at least it is written by the survivors. In a lot of cases that comes down to the same thing.

I suspect, though, that each side has its own version. The winners have a bigger audience for theirs. Sometimes the only thing the versions have in common is that they both supposedly happened in the same general place at the same general time. Witness the very different perspectives in and around Palestine.

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An example of how difficult it is to come up with truth,
by Ziks511 / July 30, 2009 6:07 AM PDT

even with hard science added into the mix.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/07/060721-england.html

But on the same page there is another article which asserts that there has been little change in the British genome since the end of the Ice Age and the first hunter gatherers. (See "British have changed little since the Ice Age, Gene Study says" in the section labelled Related.)

I can testify that redheads are very common in Britain.

Rob

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As a kid I thought the object of the story
by Diana Forum moderator / July 26, 2009 11:30 PM PDT
In reply to: Animal Farm

was showing that communism didn't really work because of the greed of people.

Diana

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That and the desire for power
by Josh K / July 27, 2009 5:37 AM PDT

If you're interested in a non-satirical look at Orwell's politics, read The Road to Wigan Pier.

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(NT) Excellent choice, Josh. Rob
by Ziks511 / July 30, 2009 4:18 AM PDT
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He was a Socialist,
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / July 28, 2009 9:18 PM PDT
In reply to: Animal Farm

and he fought against Franco's nationalists in the Spanish Civil War in the 1930's.

I found the following, brief, comment about his time in Spain, quoted below, and that might explain his stance against communism;

"In Homage to Catalonia he described his admiration for the apparent absence of a class structure in the revolutionary areas of Spain he visited. He also depicted what he saw as the betrayal of that workers' revolution in Spain by the Spanish Communist Party, abetted by the Soviet Union and its secret police, after its militia attacked the anarchists and the POUM in Barcelona in May 1937."

http://www.george-orwell.org/l_biography.html

I read Animal Farm when I was a lad. Chilling for me, at that time.

Mark

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Especially the poor horse
by Diana Forum moderator / July 28, 2009 11:44 PM PDT
In reply to: He was a Socialist,

Taught my boys to question everything - drove their teaches crazy. Wink

Diana

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Orwell was a very disillusioned Socialist, having served
by Ziks511 / July 30, 2009 12:35 AM PDT
In reply to: Animal Farm

with the company raised by the Independent Labour Party in Britain, rather like the Abraham Lincoln Brigade from the US. A very good account of his service and his coming up against the propaganda machine of the Communists who became more and more dominant in the fight of the Republicans against the Fascists is contained in his book "Homage to Catalonia" which is an account of his service. It is very good, and very depressing for those of us who would have liked the Spanish Civil War turn out differently.

The Communists became dominant by betraying anybody else fighting near them on the same side, the Anarchists and Trades Unionists and the moderate Socialists of various stripes. That was the problem of the Republicans versus the Francos Nationalists, the Republic's support came from a vast but not homogenous group of individual factions, from the Anarchists through regular democrats (the Republic was legitimately elected in a fair election) mild through extreme socialists and the Communists. As the Soviets became more involved, sent arms and aircraft and munitions, all paid for with the gold reserves of Spain. Then they started supplying "advisors" in the form of political commissars to maintain the ideological purity of the forces.

So the Republican forces were not merely fighting Franco's Fascists, but at the same time they were being eviscerated by the commissars who were conducting witch hunts and trials ending in mass executions. Since Nazi Germany was supplying large numbers of guns planes munitions and troops (viewing it as training for the war to come) and the richest and most conservative elements and the Spanish military were intent on removing this new idea of democracy. Spain had been a monarchy and an oligarchy until the 1920's.

One thing that should be remembered was that Franco conducted his own witch hunt after his victory, and executed almost as many people as were killed in the Civil War. A great deal of these trials and executions were caused by neighbours informing on neighbours in order to take over their lands, or to settle old vendettas.

Rob

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