"Man serves the interest of no creature except himself."
Old Major, an award winning pig, has an idea. He wants a world where all animals live together without humans to control them. They will live as one being, each serving the other without complaint, adding to the community what they can add and accepting those who cannot add, again without complaint.
"All men are enemies. All animals are comrades."
Old Major describes his vision to the other animals and they agree to give his ideas a try. They make up a song called "Beasts of England" where his vision is put to song and serves to unify the other animals. Unfortunately, Old Major dies just a few days after he has described his dream of unity.
"There is the answer to all our problems. It is summed up in a single word--Man."
Three little piglets, Snowball, Squealer, and Napoleon take Old Major's dream and create a new philosophy. They call it Animalism. They take their new idea and use it as a basis to attack Farmer Jones and run him off the land. The animals, bound together in victory, call their new home Animal Farm.
Animal Farm prospers and the little ones are taught the 7 principles of Animalism. Napoleon takes on the puppies and educates them about their duties, protectionism. Snowball sees himself as the adjudicator of all things good. Education flourishes and so does the farm. Farmer Jones tries to take back his farm but once again the animals succeed in holding him off. This time, they take the old farmer's gun as a trophy, a sign of victory.
"At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question."
Napoleon and Snowball argue over the windmill. Snowball wants one and Napoleon doesn't. The argument escalates and Napoleon calls in the dogs and they chase Snowball from Animal Farm. Napoleon decides that from now on only pigs will make the decisions.
Napoleon decides to build the windmill but one morning discovers it has been ruined. He blames Snowball while the local farmers blame the animals. Napoleon purges all the animals from Animal Farm that were in any way associated with Snowball. Napoleon starts creating his own reality. Snowball is now a villain and the Animalistic philosophy that once created a great farm is now under the thumb of a tyrannical Napoleon.
"If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."
The story ends with the pigs in control of the farm and Napoleon allying himself with a human, Mr. Pilkington. Together they will free the oppressed laboring human and animal kingdom. Napoleon eventually changes the name of Animal Farm back into the original Manor Farm and the last scene is with the common animals peeking in the window of the farmhouse, unable to tell the difference between the pigs and the humans.
The Abuse of Power
According to Orwell, Animal Farm is an allegorical novella based on the Russian Revolution of 1917 and extending into Stalinist era.
There is an old saying that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Corruption started in Animal Farm when Snowball was evicted by Napoleon. The bottom line in Animal Farm is that people and in this case, animals, are easily manipulated and they want to believe everything they are told even when it is not the truth.
A healthy society looks at all social strata and takes into account all belief systems, but that rarely happens. We are all prone to confirmation bias. Believing an authoritative figure is easier than questioning the belief system itself. Leaving one's decisions to an authority figure or to a political or humanitarian bias/party is not healthy and in the long run will only serve to destroy the very society it serves. At least according to Orwell and Animal Farm.
Perhaps he is right. #politics #George Orwell