The road to Wigan Pier

June 19, 2017

Half a description of working-class life in northern England in the 1930s, & very grim it was; half an explanation of & plea for socialism. Orwell's prose is serviceable, his ideas sometimes wrong & often prescient, as in:
To a political climber it is sometimes an advantage not to be taken too seriously at the beginning of his career.

Is this wrong, prescient, both or neither:
The machine has got to be accepted but it is probably better to accept it rather as one accepts a drug—that is, grudgingly and suspiciously. Like a drug, the machine is useful, dangerous and habit-forming.

Other quotes from the book:
The less money you have, the less inclined you feel to spend it on wholesome food. A millionaire may enjoy breakfasting off orange juice and Ryvita biscuits; an unemployed man doesn't.

Fascism, which at its very best is Socialism with the virtues left out.

No human being ever wants to do anything in a more cumbrous way than is necessary. [on why back-to-the-land & the like will never take hold]

W.H. Auden, a sort of gutless Kipling

The truth is that to many people calling themselves Socialists, revolution does not mean a movement of the masses with which they hope to associate themselves; it means a set of reforms which "we," the clever ones, are going to impose upon "them," the Lower Orders.

As with the Christian religion, the worst advertisement for Socialism is its adherents.

I sometimes think that the price of liberty is not so much eternal vigilance as eternal dirt.

A person of bourgeois origin goes through life with some expectation of getting what he wants, within reasonable limits. Hence the fact that in times of stress “educated” people tend to come to the front; they are no more gifted than the others and their “education” is generally quite useless in itself, but they are accustomed to a certain amount of deference and consequently have the cheek necessary to a commander. That they will come to the front seems to be taken for granted, always and everywhere.