Animal Farm by George Orwell, a review and application of ch.2

Posted on April 19, 2009. Filed under: Book Reviews |

With the death of Old Major at the beginning of ch.2 we have the birth of Animalism as Napoleon, Snowball and Squealer, the three main pigs, begin teaching the other animals and putting together a plan in secret. Napoleon is aptly named for he eventually will gain all power and be more or less the dictator as was his namesake. Squealer is also appropriately named for he becomes the spokesman of the Revolution and as such is in charge of all propaganda. “He was a brilliant talker, and when he was arguing some difficult point he had a way of skipping side to side and whisking his tail which was somehow very persuasive.” (p.10). And isn’t this way of propagandists of all ages? They skip side to side, avoiding the cold hard facts, making truth relative and temporary. Style over substance is the way of the propagandist.

The delicate Mollie asks the stupidest questions as she is focused on maintaining her privileged position and benefits of ribbons and sugar. Snowball tells her there will be no more sugar and ribbons. Though he says it will be because they cannot produce sugar on the farm, they will eventually be able to trade for some and sugar is later used in a plot involving Mollie. The application is that Communism does not produce much in the way of consumer goods. When the state of California, in 2009, is seriously banning the sale of big screen TVs in order to save on energy during the Super Bowl, you see what the statists do best, limit freedom and choice. Statism, Stalinism is impoverishing.

Moses, the raven, representing religion in Stalinist Russia is considered to be a spy and tale-bearer, untrustworthy and never contributing any work. Yet, he too was considered to be a clever talker, offering up tales of Sugar Candy Mountain (heaven) where all animals go when they die. “The pigs had to argue very hard to persuade them that there was no such place.” (p.11). The war on religion is clear from the start as the statists, the Stalinists, want the State to be the worker’s paradise.

Mr. Jones, the Master as some of the animals were in the habit of calling him, and his men are portrayed in the most negative terms. Jones is a drunk and his men were idle and dishonest. That sums up what statists think about capitalists.

The Rebellion is carried out to the neglect of the animals Jones and his men had shown. It was a spontaneous outburst that was the result of cruel treatment by man. When Jones and his men flee, Mrs. Jones packs up and leaves too. Moses the Raven (religion) follows Mrs. Jones. So in the end Religion is shown to be no help for the oppressed poor. Religion follows the money, the evil, lazy Capitalists.

“In a very little while the animals had destroyed everything that reminded them of Mr. Jones.” Most revolutions go through this destructive phase of ridding the land of anything of the former regime. This is followed by a feast of celebration.

The animals take a tour through Jones’ house and agree that “no animal must ever live there.” (p.15). This will shortly be forgotten. When flush with victory over their oppressors Revolutionaries are quick to claim they will never be like those they threw out. The Republicans took over Congress in 1994 but by the 2006 elections were in disgrace as being corrupt and big spenders. The Demoncrats took the house and Senate and then in 2008 the Presidency. But in the confirmation process of the appointees of the Obama administration many nominees were found to be tax cheats and frauds. And the cycle continues.

To finalize their revolution the pigs come up with the 7 Commandments of Animalism:

1) Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.

2) Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.

3) No animal shall wear clothes.

4) No animal shall sleep in a bed.

5) No animal shall drink alcohol.

6) No animal shall kill any other animal.

7) All animals are equal.

Every one of these commandments will be altered and ignored by the end of the book as the Pigs gradually become dictators and become just like Man. The Stalinists, according to Orwell, cannot keep their own flawed rules and become every bit as oppressive as the Czars were before the Revolution. It is worth noting that President Obama’s appointed Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, who is also in charge of the IRS, had substantial, gross errors in his taxes over the previous few years that came to light in the confirmation hearings. He who could not, who did not keep the IRS rules is now in charge of the IRS. With the numerous examples of corporate CEOs who, even though their companies were bringing in record losses, still took huge bonuses, it is no wonder the statists are thriving. Even the union workers of the big 3 auto companies are guilty of plundering their own companies into bankruptcy.

God has given us the Ten Commandments and we have proven for millenia that we are incapable of keeping them. To fail to grasp that man is always a corrupt, power hungry sinner, and to fail to make your social-economic system account for that, is always fatal. Only a civilzation built upon the Christian faith and a strong sense of honor can hope to endure. Otherwise, all “commandments” will become very flexible and meaningless as man’s greed takes over.

The cows began to low loudly due to their full udders after the successful running off of all men in the Revolution. The pigs successfully milk the cows, but the milk disappears while the animals are working in the hay field. The milk’s absence was noticed, Orwell writes. The stupid masses of workers, the proletariat, are not all that stupid after all. Things are noticed, like the missing milk. Have the pigs kept the mik? Of course!

The cream of the society, even in a revolutionary society, will always keep the cream for itself. It is the nature of man, or in this case, pigs.

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