We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita. . . I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds. I suppose we all felt that, one way or another.
The atomic bomb made the prospect of future war unendurable. It has led us up those last few steps to the mountain pass; and beyond there is a different country.
The open society, the unrestricted access to knowledge, the unplanned and uninhibited association of men for its furtherance - these are what may make a vast, complex, ever growing, ever changing, ever more specialized and expert technological world, nevertheless a world of human community.
There must be no barriers for freedom of inquiry. There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any asssertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors.
A little government and a little luck are necessary in life; but only a fool trusts either of them.
Freedom is not empowerment. Empowerment is what the Serbs have in Bosnia. Anybody can grab a gun and be empowered. Its not entitlement. An entitlement is what people on welfare get, and how free are they? Its not an endlessly expanding list of rights--the right to education, the right to health care, the right to food and housing. Thats not freedom, thats dependency. Those arent rights, those are the rations of slavery--hay and a barn for human cattle. Theres only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.
Politicians are always interested in people. Not that this is always a virtue. Fleas are interested in dogs.
This is the gravest danger that today threatens civilization: State intervention; the absorption of all spontaneous social effort by the State, that is to say, of spontaneous historical action, which in the long run sustains, nourishes, and impels human destinies.
The common man, finding himself in a world so excellent, technically and socially, believes it has been produced by nature, and never thinks of the personal efforts of highly endowed individuals which the creation of this new world presupposed. Still less will he admit the notion that all these facilities still require the support of certain difficult human virtues, the least failure of which would cause the rapid disappearance of the whole magnificent edifice.
As one advances in life, one realizes more and more that the majority of men--and of women--are incapable of any other effort than that strictly imposed on them as a reaction to external compulsion. And for that reason, the few individuals we have come across who are capable of a spontaneous and joyous effort stand out isolated, monumentalized, so to speak, in our experience. These are the select men, the nobles, the only ones who are active and not merely reactive, for whom life is a perpetual striving, an incessant course of training.
In our days the State has come to be a formidable machine . . . set up in the midst of society . . . anonymous . . . a machine whose existence and maintenance depend on the vital supports around it . . . sucking out the very marrow of society.
War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it. Every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac.
Rifles, muskets, long-bows and hand-grenades are inherently democratic weapons. A complex weapon makes the strong stronger, while a simple weapon--so long as there is no answer to it--gives claws to the weak.
The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it.
Specifically, the danger lies in the structure imposed on Socialist and on liberal capitalist communities by the necessity to prepare for total war with the USSR and the new weapons, of which of course the atomic bomb is the most powerful and the most publicized. But danger also lies in the acceptance of a totalitarian outlook by intellectuals of all colours. . . . If these two great blocs [the Anglo-American Oceania and a Soviet-dominated Eurasia] line up as mortal enemies it is obvious that the Anglo-Americans will not take the name of their opponents. . . .The name suggested in 1984 is of course Ingsoc, but in practice a wide range of choices is open. In the USA the phrase American or hundred per cent American is suitable and the qualifying adjective is as totalitarian as any could wish. [from The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell, Vol. 4, p. 504]
The atomic bomb may complete the process by robbing the exploited classes and peoples of all power to revolt, and at the same time putting the possessors of the bomb on a basis of equality. Unable to conquer one another they are likely to continue ruling the world between them, and it is difficult to see how the balance can be upset except by slow and unpredictable demographic changes.
[T]he fear inspired by the atomic bomb and other weapons yet to come will be so great that everyone will refrain from using them. . . . It would mean the division of the world among two or three vast super-states, unable to conquer one another and unable to be overthrown by any internal rebellion. In all probability their structure would be hierarchic, with a semi-divine caste at the top and outright slavery at the bottom, and the crushing out of liberty would exceed anything the world has yet seen. Within each state the necessary psychological atmosphere would be kept up by complete severance from the outer world, and by a continuous phony war against rival states. Civilization of this type might remain static for thousands of years. [from "Toward European Unity," Partisan Review (July-August 1947), reprinted in from The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell, Vol. 4, pp. 37075]
The number of laws is constantly growing in all countries and, owing to this, what is called crime is very often not a crime at all, for it contains no element of violence or harm.