Why are Conservatives So Daft?

Needless to say, you’ve probably already seen this:

[The message of 1984 is] that centralized planning inherently leads to dictatorship, which is why having a secular socialist machine try to impose government-run health care in this country is such a significant step away from freedom and away from liberty, and towards a government-dominated society.

That shining gem is Newt Gingrich on George Orwell’s 1984.

Now, any reasonably read, thinking person will know that George Orwell was, of course, a very ardent socialist. He spent his entire life looking with scorn upon both the institution of capitalism, and the apparatus of the state. But…people who read Animal Farm and 1984 in high school, and vaguely recall the plot line won’t know that — and seeing as being reasonably well-read and thoughtful are signs of abhorrent elitism, dare I say it was a rather effective tool in riling up the “tea party” base of populist idiots voters. So, point Gingrich. While the left-wing blogosphere has taken the opportunity to score a rhetorical point…I think it mostly amounts to them chuckling amongst themselves. No point, left-wing blogosphere.

What is more important to understand (and most people do) is that real states that have existed under the banner of “socialism” were the most abhorrent practitioners of tyrannical and corrupt governance…and those that do continue to exist routinely follow terrible policy, and are generally not desirable places to live.

Orwell understood this. Point, George Orwell.

Granting that 1984 can easily be misread in their favor, perhaps conservatives shouldn’t rally behind an author who, above all else, denounced rabid nationalism of the sort that conservatives regularly peddle.

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