'-------------------------------------------------- Cascoly Books: George Orwell- Rage Against the Machine

Cascoly Books - George Orwell- Rage Against the Machine



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The distaste for" progress" and machine-civilisation which is so common among sensitive people is only defensible as an attitude of mind. It is not valid as a reason for rejecting Socialism, because it presupposes an alternative which does not exist. When you say, "I object to mechanisation and standardisation-therefore I object to Socialism," you are saying in effect, " I am free to do without the machine if I choose," which is nonsense. We are all dependent upon the machine, and if the machines stopped working most of us would die. You may hate the machine-civilisation, probably you are right to hate it, but for the present there can be no question of accepting or rejecting it. The machine¬civilisation is here, and it can only be criticised from the inside, because all of us are inside it. It is only romantic fools who flatter themselves that they have escaped, like the literary gent in his Tudor cottage with bathroom h. and c., and the he-man who goes off to live a " primitive " life in the jungle with a Mannlicher rifle and four wagon-loads of tinned food. And almost certainly the machine-civilisation will continue to triumph. There is no reason to think that it will destroy itself or stop functioning of its own accord. For some time past it has been fashionable to say that war is presently going to " wreck civiIisation " altogether; but, though the next full-sized war will certainly be horrible enough to make all previous ones seem a joke, it is immensely unlikely that it will put a stop to mechanical progress. It is true that a very vulnerable country like England, and perhaps the whole of western Europe, could be reduced to chaos by a few thousand well-placed bombs, but no war is at present thinkable which could wipe out industrialism in all countries simultaneously. We may take it that the return to a simpler, freer, less mechanised way of life, however desirable it may be, is not going to happen. This is not fatalism, it is merely acceptance of facts. It is meaningless to oppose Socialism on the ground that you object to the beehive State, for the beehive State is here. The choice is not, as yet, between a human and an inhuman world. It is simply between Socialism and Fascism, which at its very best is Socialism with the virtues left out.

 

Emphasis added

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