Even perceptive socialists are naive

George Orwell was a socialist, but he also saw its dark inner heart. Still, he kept the faith. Don Boudreaux comments on that in this letter:


Editor, The Wall Street Journal
1211 6th Ave.
New York, NY 10036

Dear Editor:

Jules Bernstein notes approvingly that "Unlike many on the left, instead of 
abandoning socialism once he discovered the full horror of Stalinist rule in the 
Soviet Union, Orwell abandoned the Soviet Union and instead remained a 
socialist" (Letters, Sept. 21).

Orwell should have known better.

Socialism (especially as understood in Orwell's day) is central economic 
planning.  Everyone must conform to the plan.  Individual disagreements with the 
plan - as well as individual creativity and initiative - are repressed, for 
these invariably upset the plan.

And with freedom of choice and action necessarily all but obliterated, freedom 
of thought will practically not be tolerated.

Despite his brilliance, Orwell exhibited an infantile naiveté by failing to see 
that any government truly committed to central planning is inevitably a 
government exceedingly impressed with its imagined transcendent powers and 
sacred assignment.  Is it surprising that such a government will brutalize any 
and all who stand in its way?

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
George Mason University

 

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