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Sep 9th 2012 at 2:52:12 AM •••

I think this should be a No Real Life Examples page, because just looking at the Real Life section of this pissed me off and made me want to write a long angry rant about the people who voted for Bush the second time even though he was obviously making things worse and oh God I'm blithering.

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Jan 8th 2012 at 3:04:14 AM •••

Hmm, I seem to have botched the inclusion of the YKTTW thread when I launched this one. :-(

Jan 6th 2011 at 11:37:53 AM •••

Actually, I think George Orwell was misinterpreting the Stalinists thoroughly. (Keep in mind that 1984 also is a big Take That! from an ex-Communist who had sympathies for Trotzky, fighting the lost battle again on paper.) In Real Life, Stalin and many of his followers were anything but ideology-driven - they said, did and made friends with whom-/whatever they thought was useful for the moment. (Don't forget Stalin's pact with Adolf Hitler!) From the POV of an intellectual (which Orwell was) their behavior must have looked like following a completely erratic ideology, which is all about telling lies all the time, changing these lies at a whim, then acting like the new lie had been their true ideology all the time, and demanding from the followers to believe them while knowing they're nothing but lies. But from the POV of Stalin, ideology is just a tool you can use to fool the masses (and some intellectuals), and you can't survive in a rapidly changing world if you follow a strict, un-changing ideology. Especially if said ideology was thought up by ivory tower intellectuals (as Communism was).

TLDR: Stalin was a realist who wanted power and was willing to do anything to get/keep it, and ideologists like Orwell can't understand realists.

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Jan 8th 2012 at 3:03:00 AM •••

Actually, ENGSOC in 1984 can reasonably be considered to be all about using ideology - and science, and history - as nonthing more than a tool in the exact same way as you describe Stalin doing.

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