Thursday, April 24, 2003

In the last twenty years western civilization has given the intellectual security without responsibility, and in England, in particular, it has educated him in skepticism while anchoring him almost immovably in the privileged class. He has been in the position of a young man living on an allowance from a father whom he hates. The result is a deep feeling of guilt and resentment, not combined with any genuine desire to escape. But some psychological escape, some form of self-justification there must be, and one of the most satisfactory is transferred nationalism. During the 1930s the normal transference was to Soviet Russia, but there are other alternatives, and it is noticeable that pacifism and anarchism, rather then Stalinism, are now gaining ground among the young. These creeds have the advantage that they aim at the impossible and therefore in effect demand very little. If you throw in a touch of oriental mysticism and Buchmanite raptures over Gandhi, you have everything that a disaffected intellectual needs. The life of an English gentleman and the moral attitudes of a saint can be enjoyed simultaneously.--George Orwell

I never cease to be amazed at how, with a few changes of names and dates, Orwell seems to be talking about something that occurred yesterday.


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