Blogging the Bookshelf

Blogging my bookshelf – one book at a time

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Entries from October 29th, 2011

The Mentality of the English Left Wing Intelligentsia – “The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius” from “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell

October 29th, 2011 · Comments Off on The Mentality of the English Left Wing Intelligentsia – “The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius” from “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell · Australian Labor Party, Criticism, Culture, Economics, Political Communication, Politics, Progressive Politics, Socialism

The mentality of the English left-wing intelligentsia can be studied in half a dozen weekly and monthly papers. The immediately striking thing about all these papers is their generally negative, querulous attitude, their complete lack at all times of any constructive suggestion. There is little in them except the irresponsible carping of people who have […]

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Tags:ALP·Labor·progressive··The Greens·

Orwell on the English Aristocracy – “The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius” from “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell

October 28th, 2011 · Comments Off on Orwell on the English Aristocracy – “The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius” from “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell · English, History

It is important not to misunderstand their motives, or one cannot predict their actions. What is to be expected of them is not treachery, or physical cowardice, but stupidity, unconscious sabotage, an infallible instinct for doing the wrong thing. They are not wicked, or not altogether wicked; they are merely unteachable.

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“The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius” from “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell

October 28th, 2011 · Comments Off on “The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius” from “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell · Colonialism, History, Policy, War

The (British) Empire was peaceful as no area of comparable size has ever been. Throughout its vast extent, nearly a quarter of the earth, there were fewer armed men than would be found necessary by a minor Balkan state. Very droll and typically Orwellian. For a strident socialist, he was always very realistic about the […]

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Tags:british empire·violence··warfare

A Hole in the Air – “The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius” from “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell

October 28th, 2011 · Comments Off on A Hole in the Air – “The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius” from “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell · Conservative Politics, Description, Leadership, Politics, Writing

And yet somehow the ruling class decayed, lost its ability, its daring, finally even its ruthlessness, until a time came when stuffed shirts like Eden or Halifax could stand out as men of exceptional talent. As for Baldwin, one could not even dignify him with the name of stuffed shirt. He was simply a hole […]

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Tags:conservatives·insults·

English Public Schools – “The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius” from “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell

October 27th, 2011 · Comments Off on English Public Schools – “The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius” from “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell · Culture, History, Politics, War, WW2

Probably the battle of Waterloo was won on the playing-fields of Eton, but the opening battles of all subsequent wars have been lost there. One of the dominant facts in English life during the past three quarters of a century has been the decay of ability in the ruling class.

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Tags:·meritocracy·Strategy···

War and Civilisation – “The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius” from “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell

October 27th, 2011 · Comments Off on War and Civilisation – “The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius” from “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell · Civilisation, History, War, WW2

As I write, highly civilized human beings are flying overhead, trying to kill me. They do not feel any enmity against me as an individual, nor I against them. They are ‘only doing their duty’, as the saying goes. Most of them, I have no doubt, are kind-hearted law-abiding men who would never dream of […]

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Tags:Bombing·Civilisation·Duty···

The Left and the Intelligentsia – “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell

October 27th, 2011 · Comments Off on The Left and the Intelligentsia – “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell · Communism, Criticism, Culture, Ideology, Politics, Progressive Politics, Writing

Communists and near-Communists had a disproportionately large influence in the literary reviews. It was a time of labels, slogans, and evasions. At the worst moments you were expected to lock yourself up in a constipating little cage of lies; at the best a sort of voluntary censorship (‘Ought I to say this? Is it pro-Fascist?’) […]

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Tags:··political correctness··

The Most Scathing Take Down in Literary Criticism – “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell

October 26th, 2011 · Comments Off on The Most Scathing Take Down in Literary Criticism – “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell · Communism, Criticism, Electoralism, History, Means and Ends, Spanish Civil War, Totalitarianism

To people of that kind such things as purges, secret police, summary executions, imprisonment without trial etc., etc., are too remote to be terrifying. They can swallow totalitarianism BECAUSE they have no experience of anything except liberalism. Look, for instance, at this extract from Mr Auden’s poem ‘Spain’ (incidentally this poem is one of the […]

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Tags:·criticism·justification··murder·

Fading from Red to Pink – “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell

October 26th, 2011 · Comments Off on Fading from Red to Pink – “Fifty Orwell Essays” – George Orwell · Communism, Economics, Hypocrisy, Politics, Progressive Politics, UK Labour

In 1930 the English Communist Party was a tiny, barely legal organization whose main activity was libelling the Labour Party. But by 1935 the face of Europe had changed, and left-wing politics changed with it. Hitler had risen to power and begun to rearm, the Russian five-year plans had succeeded, Russia had reappeared as a […]

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Tags:·contradiction···progressive·

Port Nouveau: A distraction, or something else?

October 26th, 2011 · Comments Off on Port Nouveau: A distraction, or something else? · link

Link: Port Nouveau: A distraction, or something else? portnouveau: Fiona Simpson is the shadow minister for communities. If the LNP is elected to government, she will have responsibility for LGBT support services. From ABC News today: Opposition MP Fiona Simpson says the Mr Fraser’s push for same-sex civil unions is nothing more than a well-planned […]

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