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View Diary: Open thread for night owls. Thomas Frank: Talk about squelching inequality can't be left to elites (67 comments)

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  •  Orwell On Endless War And Inequality (4+ / 0-)

    George Orwell on the importance of war to create poverty and class (1984)

    The primary aim of modern warfare... is to use up the products of the machine without raising the general standard of living. Ever since the end of the nineteenth century, the problem of what to do with the surplus of consumption goods.....when the machine first made its appearance it was clear to all thinking people that the need for human drudgery, and therefore to a great extent for human inequality, had disappeared. If the machine were used deliberately for that end, hunger, overwork, dirt, illiteracy, and disease could be eliminated within a few generations....But it was also clear that an all-round increase in wealth threatened the destruction--indeed, in some sense was the destruction--of a hierarchical society....wealth would confer no distinction... 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.

    Goods must be produced, but they must not be distributed. And in practice the only way of achieving this was by continuous warfare......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......War, it will be seen, accomplishes the necessary destruction, but accomplishes it in a psychologically acceptable way. In principle it would be quite simple to waste the surplus labour of the world by building temples and pyramids, by digging holes and filling them up again, or even by producing vast quantities of goods and then setting fire to them. But this would provide only the economic and not the emotional basis for a hierarchical society. What is concerned here is not the morale of masses, whose attitude is unimportant so long as they are kept steadily at work, but the morale of the Party itself. Even the humblest Party member is expected to be competent, industrious, and even intelligent within narrow limits, but it is also necessary that he should be a credulous and ignorant fanatic whose prevailing moods are fear, hatred, adulation, and orgiastic triumph. In other words it is necessary that he should have the mentality appropriate to a state of war. It does not matter whether the war is actually happening, and, since no decisive victory is possible, it does not matter whether the war is going well or badly. All that is needed isthat a state of war should exist. ....It is precisely in the Inner Party that war hysteria and hatred of the enemy are strongest. 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: but such knowledge is easily neutralized by the technique of DOUBLETHINK. Meanwhile no Inner Party member wavers for an instant in his mystical belief that the war is real, and that it is bound to end victoriously, with Oceania the undisputed master of the entire world.

    Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

    by bernardpliers on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 11:09:23 PM PST

    •  FRONT PAGE Material (2+ / 0-)
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      a2nite, bygorry

      I think the statistic is the U.S. has been involved in some sort of war, large or small, once every fifteen years.

      of course now we're (maybe) pulling out of afghanistan, a conflict which itself is going on fifteen years long.

      the Trillions of dollars we've spent on war and armaments is money not being spent on ventures which employ significantly more people. so the M.I.C. is just one more way enormous wealth is robbed from the poor and middle class and given to the wealthy class.

      "We are beyond law, which is not unusual for an empire; unfortunately, we are also beyond common sense." Gore Vidal

      by Superpole on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 03:54:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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