A planet in peril and so many Big Brothers: George Orwell would have been shocked | Rebecca Solnit

24. června 2022 11:46


The writer expected climate change and surveillance but not the wreckage of the entire global system, or our willing submission to monitoringSo many of the worst things of our time would not have been particularly shocking in the time of George Orwell. After all, he and his contemporaries lived through the rise of the Third Reich, the swift corrosion of the Russian revolution into Stalinist authoritarianism, Franco's brutalisation of Spain, Mussolini's reign in Italy, and masses ready to cheer on all the villains, drink up the delusions and lies they spread, and even serve as their butchers. The kleptocratic Trump, the totalitarianism-aspiring Putin, Kim Jong-un in North Korea, Lukashenko in Belarus and the rest of the rogues' gallery of demagogues and dictators are nothing new. The invasion of Ukraine echoes the Stalinist regime's brutality there in the 1930s.Ahead of an opening lecture at the Orwell festival of political writing, I have been thinking about what his mindset might have been, and it occurs to me that two things in our time would have shocked him. One of them is climate change. That human beings had wrecked bits and pieces of the natural world was perfectly evident in the coal-mining districts that Orwell had visited in 1936 for his research for his book about the working class and their conditions, The Road to Wigan Pier. That there was much that was filthy and poisonous about industrial capitalism and fossil fuel was clear from the smogs of Pittsburgh and London, where the air quality then was more or less comparable to the air quality of New Delhi and Shanghai now, and just as deadly.Rebecca Solnit is a Guardian US columnist Continue reading...


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