Douglas Andrews / February 12, 2021

The American Animal Farm

George Orwell’s tiny little book has never packed a more powerful wallop than it does here and now.

Eric Blair warned us, but we didn’t listen. And today, we’re seeing his nightmarish allegory played out before our eyes. Blair is better known by his pen name, George Orwell, and his Animal Farm, which was published in 1945, has never seemed more relevant.

If you haven’t yet read Orwell’s little masterpiece but are still planning to, you might want to set this article aside. It contains, unavoidably, one spoiler after another.

As historian and classicist Victor Davis Hanson writes, Orwell’s little short little novel uses farm animals to replay “the transition of supposedly 1917 revolutionary Bolsheviks into cynical 1930s Stalinists. Thereby, they remind us that leftist totalitarianism inevitably becomes far worse than the supposed parasitical capitalists they once toppled.”

That’s the gist of Hanson’s article — to say that today’s American Left, or the New New Left, as he calls it, has taken on the role of those decades-old Stalinists, completing their final Animal Farm transformation from pigs to men and finishing their long march through our American institutions. What were once young and idealistic ‘60s revolutionaries are today’s reactionaries. Those who once championed free expression are now stomping it out.

As Hanson writes, “The First Amendment was said by them to be sacred, even as the 'free speech movement’ transitioned to the ‘filthy speech movement.’ Leftists sued to mainstream nudity in film. They wanted easy access to pornography. They mainstreamed crude profanity. The supposed right-wingers were repressed. They were the ‘control freaks’ who sought to stop the further ‘liberation’ of the common culture. In those days, the ACLU still defined the right of free expression as protecting the odious, whether the unhinged Nazis, the pathetic old-Left Communists, or nihilistic Weather Underground terrorists. ‘Censorship’ was a dirty word.”

Hanson notes that professors began dropping F-bombs in class, dressing like their students, getting to know them on a first-name basis, and encouraging them to do their own thing. The point of the 1960s, he writes, “was to tear down the rules, the traditions and customs, the hierarchies of the old guys.” He adds, “The targets were supposedly the uptight, short-hair, square-tie, adult generation who grew up in the Depression, won World War II, and were fighting to defeat Cold War Soviet Union.”

Today, however, the downtrodden farm animals have finally ousted Farmer Jones from our Animal Farm, and they’ve absorbed all the institutions of American power: Wall Street, Big Tech, Big Media, Big Business, the academies, K-12 education, pro sports, and entertainment.

“We are now finally witnessing the logical fruition of their radical utopia,” Hanson writes. “Censorship, electronic surveillance, internal spying, monopolies, cartels, conspiracy theories, weaponization of the intelligence agencies, pouring billions of dollars into campaigns, changing voting laws by fiat, a woke revolutionary military, book banning, bleeding the First Amendment, canceling careers, blacklisting, separate-but-equal racial segregation and separatism.”

The term “Orwellian” is made for today. All of us may indeed be created equal, but some of us — those on the Left — are clearly more equal than others. As Hanson writes, “The Left demands not free-speech areas anymore, but no-speech ‘safe spaces’ and ‘theme houses — euphemisms for racially segregated, 'separate-but-equal’ zones. ‘Microaggressions’ are tantamount to thought crimes. … No one is spared from the new racists, not Honest Abe, not Tom Jefferson, not you, not me.”

In today’s Animal Farm, 74 million Trump voters need to be deprogrammed, the “new and improved” ACLU fights against “hate speech” rather than for free speech, our nation’s capital is militarized, and our federal law enforcement and intelligence services are now embraced by a Left that once hated them.

Who’d have imagined it? Orwell.

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