Pacifism is objectively pro-Fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side you automatically help that of the other. Nor is there any real way of remaining outside such a war as the present one. In practice, ‘he that is not with me is against me’. The idea that you can somehow remain aloof from and superior to the struggle, while living on food which British sailors have to risk their lives to bring you, is a bourgeois illusion bred of money and security.That first sentence is famous, and widely quoted. The last sentence is neither. That's a shame, because it cuts to the heart of his argument in a long and eloquent essay. The problem with reading no further than quotes is that you often get the pithy at the cost of the profound. Like later in Orwell's j'accuse:
I pass over the money-sheltered ignorance capable of believing that literary life is still going on in, for instance, Poland, and remark merely that statements like this justify me in saying that our English pacifists are tending towards active pro-Fascism. But I don’t particularly object to that. What I object to is the intellectual cowardice of people who are objectively and to some extent emotionally pro-Fascist, but who don’t care to say so and take refuge behind the formula ‘I am just as anti-fascist as anyone, but—’. The result of this is that so-called peace propaganda is just as dishonest and intellectually disgusting as war propaganda. Like war propaganda, it concentrates on putting forward a ‘case’, obscuring the opponent’s point of view and avoiding awkward questions.There's currently a debate going on in "intellectual" circles that Orwell didn't really mean what he said in his first quote. That position quite frankly is only taken by those who have never read his essay, and the second quote given here.
There's a modern version of this intellectual cowardice, seen every day in Progressive circles. Phrasing is essentially identical to what Orwell pointed out in the second quote above, but today it's done to put a gloss on environmentalism:
The rest of Sam Robb's rant is even better, but it echoes of Orwell (in the good sense, not in the 1984 newspeak sense). Let me update Orwell:Finally, after a 12-year delay caused by opponents of genetically modified foods, so-called “golden rice” with vitamin A will be grown in the Philippines. Over those 12 years, about 8 million children worldwide died from vitamin A deficiency. Are anti-GM advocates not partly responsible?Partly responsible?Partly responsible?No, they are not "partly responsible".They are wholly responsible for each and every one of those 8 million dead children, because they actively blocked access to the food that would allow them to live.
What I object to is the intellectual cowardice of people who are objectively and to some extent emotionally pro-infant mortality, but who don’t care to say so and take refuge behind the formula ‘I am just as anti-infant mortality as anyone, but—’.Objectively, they don't mind supporting actions that lead to the deaths of (it must be said) millions of black babies. That sounds inflammatory, I know, but that's what they do. But back to the first quote above, and that final clause of the final sentence: a bourgeois illusion bred of money and security.
There's your environmentalism for you. Today we'd call that SWPL. The names change, but the instinct remains immutable. Orwell again, updated for today's cowardly SWPL environmentalists:
I am not interested inI know myself all too well that intellectual conceit that progressivism dangles before you: just mouth these platitudes, support this dogma, vote for these select people and you too can be one of the Elect. Smarter and (dare I say it) nicer than those benighted fools who refuse to genuflect.
pacifismenvironmentalism as a ‘moral phenomenon’. If Mr Savage and others imagine that one can somehow ‘overcome’
the German armythird world infant mortality by lying on one’s back, let them go on imagining it, but let them also wonder occasionally whether this is not an illusion due to security, too much money and a simple ignorance of the way in which things actually happen.
You know, looking at it put that way makes me wonder why I was once so mesmerized by that particular Siren Song. Young and foolish, I guess. But no more. I now refuse to be objectively racist, supporting (if even only passively) higher third world infant mortality because it's advocated by the Right Sort® of people. Now if I must choose between the lives of millions of children or their ridiculous, evil dogma, the choice is clear.
There's a comfort to be found in intellectual honesty, a comfort more substantial than the empty, pretty nothings of the Siren's progressive Song.