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Political language -- and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists -- is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

GEORGE ORWELL, Politics and the English Language

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.

GEORGE ORWELL, preface to Animal Farm

He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.

GEORGE ORWELL, Nineteen Eighty-Four

Most people approve of capital punishment, but most people wouldn't do the hangman's job.

GEORGE ORWELL, The Road to Wigan Pier

There is only one way to make money at writing, and that is to marry a publisher's daughter.

GEORGE ORWELL, Down and Out in Paris and London

People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome.

GEORGE ORWELL, Partisan Review, Winter 1945

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns, as it were, instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink.

GEORGE ORWELL, The Lion and the Unicorn

Language ought to be the joint creation of poets and manual workers.

GEORGE ORWELL, The English People

Many people genuinely do not wish to be saints, and it is probable that some who achieve or aspire to sainthood have never felt much temptation to be human beings. If one could follow it to its psychological roots, one would, I believe, find that the main motive for "non-attachment" is a desire to escape from the pain of living, and above all from love, which, sexual or non-sexual, is hard work.

GEORGE ORWELL, Reflections on Gandhi

Nearly all creators of Utopia have resembled the man who has toothache, and therefore thinks happiness consists in not having toothache.... Whoever tries to imagine perfection simply reveals his own emptiness.

GEORGE ORWELL, Why Socialists Don't Believe in Fun

War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.

GEORGE ORWELL, Nineteen Eighty-Four

Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill-bucket.

GEORGE ORWELL, Keep the Aspidistra Flying

All animals are equal
But some animals are more equal than others.


A totalitarian society which succeeded in perpetuating itself would probably set up a schizophrenic system of thought, in which the laws of common sense held good in everyday life and in certain exact sciences, but could be disregarded by the politician, the historian, and the sociologist.

GEORGE ORWELL, Books v. Cigarettes

Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one.

GEORGE ORWELL, Nineteen Eighty-Four

Sanity is not statistical.

GEORGE ORWELL, Nineteen Eighty-Four

Prolonged, indiscriminate reviewing of books is a quite exceptionally thankless, irritating and exhausting job. It not only involves praising trash but constantly inventing reactions towards books about which one has no spontaneous feeling whatever.

GEORGE ORWELL, Confessions of a Book Reviewer


GEORGE ORWELL, Nineteen Eighty-Four

The fallacy is to believe that under a dictatorial government you can be free inside. Quite a number of people console themselves with this thought, now that totalitarianism in one form or another is visibly on the up-grade in every part of the world. Out in the street the loudspeakers bellow, the flags flutter from the rooftops, the police with their tommy-guns prowl to and fro, the face of the Leader, four feet wide, glares from every hoarding; but up in the attics the secret enemies of the regime can record their thoughts in perfect freedom -- that is the idea, more or less.

GEORGE ORWELL, "As I Please", Tribune, April 28, 1944

If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.


Liberal -- a power worshipper without power.

GEORGE ORWELL, "Politics and the English Language", Shooting an Elephant

The object of terrorism is terrorism. The object of oppression is oppression. The object of torture is torture. The object of murder is murder. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?


From the totalitarian point of view history is something to be created rather than learned.... Totalitarianism demands, in fact, the continuous alteration of the past, and in the long run probably demands a disbelief in the very existence of objective truth.

GEORGE ORWELL, Books v. Cigarettes

If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.


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

GEORGE ORWELL, The Road to Wigan Pier

In my opinion, nothing has contributed so much to the corruption of the original idea of socialism as the belief that Russia is a socialist country.

GEORGE ORWELL, preface to the Ukrainian edition, Animal Farm

Totalitarianism ... does not so much promise an age of faith as an age of schizophrenia. A society becomes totalitarian when its structure becomes flagrantly artificial: that is, when its ruling class has lost its function but succeeds in clinging to power by force or fraud. Such a society, no matter how long it persists, can never afford to become either tolerant or intellectually stable. It can never permit either the truthful recording of facts or the emotional sincerity that literary creation demands. But to be corrupted by totalitarianism one does not have to live in a totalitarian country. The mere prevalence of certain ideas can spread a kind of poison that makes one subject after another impossible for literary purposes. Wherever there is an enforced orthodoxy -- or even two orthodoxies, as often happens -- good writing stops. This was well illustrated by the Spanish civil war. To many English intellectuals the war was a deeply moving experience, but not an experience about which they could write sincerely. There were only two things that you were allowed to say, and both of them were palpable lies: as a result, the war produced acres of print but almost nothing worth reading.

GEORGE ORWELL, The Prevention of Literature

It was possible, no doubt, to imagine a society in which wealth, in the sense of personal possessions and luxuries, should be evenly distributed, while power remained in the hands of a small privileged caste. But in practice such a society could not long remain stable. For if leisure and security were enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who are normally stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to think for themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner or later realise that the privileged minority had no function, and they would sweep it away. In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and ignorance.


Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence: in other words it is war minus the shooting.

GEORGE ORWELL, "The Sporting Spirit", Tribune, December 14, 1945

The Paris slums are a gathering-place for eccentric people -- people who have fallen into solitary, half-mad grooves of life and given up trying to be normal or decent. Poverty frees them from normal standards of behaviour, just as money frees people from work. Some of the lodgers in our hotel lived lives that were curious beyond words.

GEORGE ORWELL, Down and out in Paris and London

And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed--if all records told the same tale--then the lie passed into history and became truth.


In a Society in which there is no law, and in theory no compulsion, the only arbiter of behaviour is public opinion. But public opinion, because of the tremendous urge to conformity in gregarious animals, is less tolerant than any system of law.

GEORGE ORWELL, "Politics vs. Literature: An Examination of Gulliver's Travels", Polemic, September/October 1946

A dull, decent people, cherishing and fortifying their dullness behind a quarter of a million bayonets.


All the papers that matter live off their advertisements, and the advertisers exercise an indirect censorship over news.



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