article is by Kelly Cherry on The Smart Set. I have selected it because
it is about George
Orwell. It starts as follows:
A modern book
immediately recognizable as political is George Orwell’s Animal Farm. His dicey
lungs had kept him from serving in WWII. Nevertheless, he joined
England’s Home Guard, which was something like a people’s militia. He
had been writing numerous articles and reviews for journals,
newspapers, and for his broadcasts on the BBC. One of the best prose
writers ever, he wrote an essay, titled “Politics
and the English Language,” about writing — specifically, writing
clearly — that has pruned the prose in many other books and articles.
Why was the word
“politics” included in the title?
Because he worked as a
journalist and understood how important it is to write precisely what
you mean. That can be difficult to do, but if you read Orwell you will
become more aware of what truth and accuracy mean.
I don't quite agree
for I disagree with the definition of "politics" that Cherry
presumes, but let that be.
Here is more on
Orwell and specifically about his best fiction, Animal Farm:
And here I want to talk
about George Orwell’s fiction. Animal Farm, published in 1945
and still read widely, is a novel in which animals talk. A children’s
book? No. A book that serves as a metaphor for the state. What state?
Orwell makes it clear to us that he is letting us know what is wrong,
terribly wrong, with the Communist state. Published just as the Cold
War was heating up, the story takes place on a farm. It is an allegory.
Merriam-Webster defines an allegory as “the expression by means of
symbolic fictional figures and actions of truths or generalizations
about human existence.” To put it more simply, one thing is being
described as another. Or, to use his own words, he was determined “to
fuse political purpose and artistic purpose into one whole.” In Animal
Farm, the pigs hold a meeting during which they decide to carry
out a revolution. The revolution is in service to what is now called
“Animalism.” The pigs’ motto is “All animals are equal.”
but unfortunately for the majority of the animals, the pigs are a
little smarter than the other animals, and also quite egoistic, and
therefore much interested in their own power:
The pigs have begun to
look like and act like humans. The clothe themselves. They walk like
humans. They carry whips. The motto has been altered to “All animals
are equal but some animals are more equal than others.” What we have
now is a portrait-in-action of Soviet Communism. The state is more
important than the individual, and the state itself is composed of pigs.
portrait of Soviet Socialism (I would say) is there from the beginning.
Here is the last bit
that I quote from this in my opinion rather simple minded
Every writer can learn
from George Orwell. His prose was so clear that no one can
misunderstand any part of it. His sense of fairness and justice was
paramount. He wrote about politics, war, economic struggles, and how to
write. You’ll certainly want to read his essay “Politics and the
English Language.” And I suggest reading all his novels.
I have read most of Orwell, and repeatedly,
because he is indeed a quite clear and a quite honest writer,
indeed unlike the vast majority of other writers, but I do not
suggest you read "all his novels": "Animal Farm" and "1984" are enough,
for the others are less good.
What I think you should read are "The Collected
Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell", that were first
printed in 1968, and that were several times reprinted in Penguin.
these are four volumes, but if Orwell is for you (and
he is not for the stupid or the ignorant), then you will enjoy these
3. The American mind
continues to close
This article is by Jonathan Kay on Standpoint.
This article is about Allan Bloom,
whose book The
Closing of the American Mind I first read in 1989, when it was
the first book that I read about the enormous
degenerations in university education that I had been witness to since
1977, but that hardly anyone else seems to have cared about
(because in fact few people are - genuinely -
interested in knowledge and in truth).
I also did
review the book in 1989 and I have since both translated that review
and annotated it, and you can read it here: Truth and value.
Much of Bloom’s success no doubt was owed to his book’s
inspired title, The Closing of the American Mind. But the
timing was perfect, too, arriving on shelves in the fall of 1987, when
political correctness was just becoming an acute force for censorship.
I was a college student at the time. And reading Bloom’s book helped
convince me that, no, it wasn’t just me: something really was wrong
with the way my generation was being educated and politically
Bloom was especially repelled by relativism, which he described as “the
consciousness that one loves one’s own way because it is one’s own, not
because it is good.”
Yes and no, though mostly yes: I arrived in the
"University" of Amster- dam when I was 27, in 1977, and had then in
fact been reading philosophy, logic and much more since 1965,
and I knew since 1977 that almost everybody was frauded in the
"University" of Amsterdam, in considerable part because all
Dutch universities were in a unique situation between 1971 and
1995: In fact, the students had almost everything to say, and what
the students wanted was leftwing politics
much rather than real science, and this was also what they got (outside
physics, mathematics, chemistry and biology, it seems) and all
the time between 1971 and 1995.
told the story of this quite a few times in Nederlog, and if you are
interested I refer you to the
essays I wrote in 1988 and 1989.
The author died in 1992, just before the advent of the world
wide web exacerbated many of the problems he described. Social media,
in particular, has reduced attention spans — making it difficult to
teach students classic texts that are not immediately relevant to
modern forms of self-identification. At the same time, these networks
allow activists to shame heterodox ideas on a peer-to-peer
If Bloom spent a single day on Facebook or Twitter today, he would
instantly recognise the “mixture of egotism and high-mindedness” that
he detected among his own undergraduates. But he also would be shocked
by the rigid ideological conformity that now is demanded of students on
matters relating to race, gender and sexuality.
AND he would be struck by the stupidity,
the anonymity, and the totalitarianism
that characterizes billions of the clients of Facebook and
Twitter, and that also is totally new
in human history:
Billions of anonymous idiots
that can scold and offend as they please,
and who do, because none of them can be
found (other than by the secret services and Facebook etc. and
these say nothing).
the last bit that I quote from this article:
For as Bloom wrote, “The real community of man . . . is the
community of those who seek the truth, of the potential knowers . . .
of all men to the extent they desire to know . . . This, according to
Plato, is the only real friendship, the only real common good. It is
here that the contact people so desperately seek is to be found.”
I tend to agree, but my own inference is the -
very inegalitarian - fact that "the real community of man (...) the
community of those who seek the truth" is limited (at best) to the 2% of the people who have
an IQ over 130.
I am very sorry,
but these seem to be the facts. As to the "University" of Amsterdam: In
1984 the average IQ of the students was 115;
foreign languages other than English weren't read anymore; and nearly
all mathematics was excluded from nearly all studies.
Since then the IQ probably approximates 100, and
realizes Tony Blair's ideal: Everybody can get a university
degree, provided he or she is willing to accept debts of around
$100,000 or so, which he or she then has to pay off as a very
well-behaved "intellectual" in the next forty years of his or her life.
(And the rich are educated at Harvard and a few other elite
universities against special prices.)
The democracy of education! Everybody is of the
same length! Everybody has the same face! Ergo, everybody
is entitled to the same education!
Deep State’s JFK Triumph Over Trump
article is by Ray McGovern on
Consortiumnews. This is - as the title has it - about the murder of
JFK, and the still continuing difficulties about who orchestrated that
select three bits, and the first is this:
But, barring the
emergence of a courageous whistleblower-patriot like Daniel Ellsberg,
Chelsea Manning or Edward Snowden, I do not expect to live long enough
to learn precisely who orchestrated and carried out the assassination
And yet, in a sense,
those particulars seem less important than two main lessons learned:
(1) If a President can face down intense domestic pressure from the
power elite and turn toward peace with perceived foreign enemies, then
anything is possible. The darkness of Kennedy’s murder should not
obscure the light of that basic truth; and (2) There is ample evidence
pointing to a state execution of a President willing to take huge risks
I do hope to be around next April after the 180-day extension for
release of the remaining JFK documents. But – absent a gutsy
whistleblower – I wouldn’t be surprised to see in April, a Washington
Post banner headline much like the one that appeared Saturday: “JFK
files: The promise of revelations derailed by CIA, FBI.”
main point is - of course - the following: "There is ample evidence pointing to a state
execution of a President willing to take huge risks for peace".
think that is true, but if you want to know McGovern's reasons
- which are quite sound - you will have to read his article.
here is one reason:
I agree, for unless
there is much to hide there is no reason "to keep secrets about something that happened
54 years ago".
the nail on the head in pointing out that the biggest revelation
from last week’s limited release of the JFK files is “the fact that the
FBI and CIA still desperately need to keep secrets about something that
happened 54 years ago.”
What was released on Oct.
26, was a tiny fraction of what had remained undisclosed in the
One of the main persons Ray McGovern suspects is Allen Dulles.
Here is his summary judgement:
And so, the big question
remains: Did Allen Dulles and other “cloak-and-dagger” CIA operatives
have a hand in John Kennedy’s assassination and subsequent cover-up? In
my view and the view of many more knowledgeable investigators, the best
dissection of the evidence on the murder appears in James Douglass’s
2008 book, JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters.
After updating and
arraying the abundant evidence, and conducting still more interviews,
Douglass concludes that the answer to the big question is
Yes. Reading Douglass’s book today may help explain why so many
records are still withheld from release, even in redacted form, and
why, indeed, we may never see them in their entirety.
read several books about Kennedy's murder but I did not read
James Douglass's book and I also do not have Ray McGovern's
extensive knowledge of American security, but I learned to trust
McGovern and I think the above is very probably correct.
And this is a
recommended article, in which there is much more than I reviewed.
5. Stop Trying to Convince Trump Voters. Start
Trying to Win
This article is by William
Rivers Pitt on Truth-out. I select three bits from it, and the first is
You have to wonder what
Jeff Flake and Bob Corker are thinking today. I'm sure neither were
expecting their Sunday to be this quiet. These two stalwart bedrock
pillar Senate Republicans dropped a couple of building-sized bricks on
the White House last week, and all that came of the resulting DONK was
yet another hashtagged rhetorical victory lap by Donald Trump.
According to normal
political gravity, this was the sun rising in the West. Flake and
Corker took Reagan's 11th Commandment -- "Thou shalt not speak ill of
any fellow Republican" – and fed it to the bears. Two major figures
within the GOP brutally attacked a sitting Republican president on
national television, using phrases like "debasing the nation" and
"flagrant disregard for truth or decency," and in any other time in US
history, it would have been a nine-days wonder.
This is probably
correct, although I do not know. Here is more on Donald Trump:
Well... as to the first
Fact: Donald Trump is a
feckless racist catastrophe who would gladly light the world on fire
just to see his name printed in the last newspaper ever published. This
is fairly common knowledge now. Fish swimming in the eternal night of
the Marianas Trench know the president of the United States is an
exceedingly dangerous clod, and yet he rumbles on like some colossal
ball of pumpkin cobbler gone wild on hubris.
How? Why? What do you have
to do? It's the most important question in the world right now, and we
need to find a new answer, because all the ones we've come up with to
date are lying by the side of the road with truck tracks up their backs.
And as to the second paragraph:
I do not think that it is "the most important question in the world right now" "[w]hat do you have to do?", for - it
seems to me - this depends a lot on who you are.
But the following is mostly correct in my view:
I don't have all the
answers, but one is fairly self-evident: Math. About 20-30 percent of
US voters are Trump supporters to the teeth. They are comprised of one
of the strangest amalgamations in US political history -- some
evangelicals, some wealthy whites, some rural poor whites, some
underemployed blue-collar white laborers, some reality TV fans -- and
in their eyes, Trump can do no wrong. By itself, this is not a massive
coalition, but it becomes truly muscular when:
1. Half the country
doesn't vote in the general election;
2. Two-thirds of the
country doesn't vote in primaries or in the midterm elections.
That 20-30 percent becomes a
juggernaut under such circumstances, and such circumstances are exactly
what we've had here in the US for going on 50 years.
Then again, I am -
once again - missing the stupidity and
that marks many of the US voters (and indeed also the voters
from the other countries).
I have now been saying since
end of 2015 that
xs4all.nl is systematically
ruining my site by NOT updating it within a few seconds,
as it did between 1996 and 2015, but by updating it between
two to seven days later, that is, if I am lucky.
claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie.
They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.
just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my
ideas. They have behaved now for 1 1/2 years as if they are the
eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I will
from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).
two reasons I remain with xs4all is that my site has been
there since 1996, and I have no reasons whatsoever to suppose that any
other Dutch provider is any better (!!).