Ran across a post a little while ago in which a friend’s observation that “the ‘radical left’ just wants everyone to have food, shelter, healthcare, education and a living wage” was met with a stern rebuke by an obvious Trump supporter who states that such ideals are “the same ideals that Vladimir Lenin used and ended up killing 60 million. Same views as the Nazis.”
(An aside: This right-wing tendency to lump Nazism and Communism together always makes me chuckle; the fact is that there are many differences between these two ideologies, as anyone who has actually done any serious study of the two can attest, and in fact experts place them on two extremes of a scale from left to right.)
Anyway, the learned individual who equates Communism with Nazism then exhorts my friend to “Read Animal Farm by George Orwell. You're the sheep. The depth of your understanding is "orange man bad"..... its truly sad to see adults this blind.”
Well, now that got me to thinking…
I've actually read Animal Farm, not once but several times. The first time was in my Freshman English class at Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School in the fall of 1977. And while it is generally (and, for the most part, rightfully) viewed as a fable about the dangers of Communism, it occurred to me even in that very first reading at the tender age of 14 that Animal Farm is more than simply a warning about Communism but, in fact, a commentary on ALL political revolutions and an examination of how revolutionary ideals of justice, equality, and fraternity can become shattered and cast aside like a used chewing gum wrapper after the fact by those in power if the people who grant them said power fail to remain diligent.
For example:
In Trump’s America it has been Trump, his followers and his enablers who - like the pigs in Orwell's novel - have been attempting to hoodwink the “ignorant peasants” by creating the illusion of a supposed "perfect state" for those who pledge their loyalty. And the sad thing is that the ignorant peasants are falling for it.
In Orwell’s fable, betrayal of trust occurs as the pigs usurp the power entrusted them to the detriment of the other animals - just as Trump and his minions have been doing for the past four years. “Animalism” is an illusion used by the pigs as a means of satisfying their greed and lust for power - just as the extreme right-wing notions today of "Nationalism" and "Americanism" are being used by Trump and his merry band of thugs to justify what they are doing.
So long as the animals of Orwell's imaginary farm - or the right-wingers march-stepping behind Trump - cannot remember the past (because it is being continually altered or dismissed as "fake news"), they will have no control over the present and hence over the future.
As Lord Acton wrote: "Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely." Donald Trump is the living embodiment of the truth of Acton's observation.
The individual who advised my friend to read Animal Farm was right about one thing: It truly is quite sad indeed to see so many people , still even now, so blindly following the likes of Donald Trump.