Wednesday, March 5, 2008

"The primary aim of modern warfare...

is to use up the products of the machine without raising the general standard of living."

So says George Orwell, and so repeats Driftglass in a tour de force takedown of the modern GOP. It is long, and well worth reading for anyone who, like me, has had nebulous, ill-refined ideas about the similarities between the Bush Administration and the Inner Party of Orwell's 1984. The linked post crystallizes it perfectly.

It is a long piece, but highly recommended if you come across a spare quarter-hour you need to kill sometime. Here's a couple of Orwell quotes he uses:

The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent. Even when weapons of war are not actually destroyed, their manufacture is still a convenient way of expending labour power without producing anything that can be consumed. A Floating Fortress, for example, has locked up in it the labour that would build several hundred cargo-ships. Ultimately it is scrapped as obsolete, never having brought any material benefit to anybody, and with further enormous labours another Floating Fortress is built.

For if leisure and security were enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who are normally stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to think for themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner or later realize that the privileged minority had no function, and they would sweep it away. In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and ignorance.

In his capacity as an administrator, it is often necessary for a member of the Inner Party to know that this or that item of war news is untruthful, and he may often be aware that the entire war is spurious and is either not happening or is being waged for purposes quite other than the declared ones.

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