In One Eye

Saturday, June 07, 2003
The headline of this story is "Trained Dogs to Aid Antiterror Effort."

Before I actually read the article, which has to do with drug-sniffing dogs at points of entry in the US, I thought it had to do with something else: that attack dogs would be used in apprehending "terrorists." This use of dogs to quell rebellion led me to think of something I've been considering lately.

For the last number of months, I've been taken by the similarities of the incidents that have recently occurred in the US with George Orwell's Animal Farm.

The selection of George Bush didn't really start it, although it could have. It was the post 9/11/01 events that have really brought the similarities home.

For example, Squealer, who is able to convince the proletariat animals that up is down and black is white (and is modeled after the newspaper Pravda), is very much like Rummy, Cheney, et al, who tried and continue to try to convince the US populace that WMD really do exist in Iraq. In the novel, whenever the policies of the pigs are questioned, Squealer's invariable response is "Tactics! Tactics!" That is, the pigs know what they're doing and the other animals just wouldn't understand.

I hear this type of thing to this day: People are convinced that "the government" knows things that we in the general populace just aren't privy to and so the tactics that are being employed by higher ups are legitimate. (Yet, when someone who was in "the government" discusses those things that the populace doesn't know (see Thielman post below), the information is ignored.)

The economic situation that Krugman describes in his article of yesterday is also reminiscent of the novella. The pigs give themselves the vast majority of the material advantages of the farm while the other animals struggle to make ends meet.

My greatest fear in all of this is that the US citizenry will accept this inequitable and irrational situation by adopting the "Four legs good, two legs better" philosophy the sheep articulate in the novella.

I'll continue with this comparison in a later post.