Tuesday night Orwell

This comes from Michalis’ always excellent “Monday links” series:

There was a deep difference, though, between Burnham and Orwell, which Menand mentions but doesn’t make enough of. They were both notably tough-minded; that is, they shared an intense dislike of cant and wishful thinking. But Burnham was a thoroughgoing nihilist: he thought that all ideals were sentimental rubbish, that lasting peace was a pipedream, and that power was the only reality in politics. Orwell, on the other hand—though in Nineteen Eighty-Four he portrayed nihilism more brilliantly than anyone else ever has or, probably, ever will—was nevertheless the most idealistic of men, with solidarity and generosity seemingly written into his source code. 

This is from George Scialabba, a noted and popular American critic. Good find, Michalis, and the Cold War era is crazy. We’re just starting to scratch the surface of the details, but it seems like Cold War-era politics were way more divisive than they were today (Scialabba, for example, can’t help but insult his political enemies in this piece). Which is strange, because today’s pundits and politicians are always harping on and on about how we need to come together and stop being so divisive…

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