Wednesday, July 02, 2003


An Australian reader writes:

“It is interesting to contrast the left's desire to kick Orwell for reporting what he believed to be 38 "crypto-communists and fellow travelers" to the Foreign Office months before his 1950 death with how they seem intent on whitewashing members of the traitorous "Cambridge Four" spy-ring. The Four may have been responsible for hundreds of deaths, but are now being lauded as slightly misguided anti-Fascist idealists. Everybody seems to have forgotten that Stalin was still very much in charge in Russia in 1950. So it was bad for Orwell to betray Stalinists to the West but good for the “Cambridge Four” to betray the West to Stalin?? But of course the Leftists don't want to acknowledge that Stalin was at least as bad as Hitler.

Even the usual and rather bogus Leftist smear of "McCarthyism" is anachronistic. Joe McCarthy's career peaked 1954, less than a year after Stalin's death. And Orwell's reports were made within a year of the first Soviet atomic test, an achievement that is now known to have been made easier and faster due to extensive Soviet spying. So Soviet spying really was a problem. And Orwell, unlike Senator McCarthy, had long standing and intimate knowledge of Communist-front tactics from his career as a socialist activist and anti-Franco volunteer. It is certainly possible that Orwell may have made some mistakes in his list but how would the left today treat someone with (say) inside knowledge of a Nazi spy ring in 1939? Would they still counsel silence in deference to the civil liberties of the suspects?

One of the best retrospectives of Orwell's career comes (surprisingly) from Robert Manne. Manne is a former editor of the Rightist Quadrant who, despite involvement with anti-Communism in the 1960s has recently swapped alliegiances for the left in opposition to 'economic rationalism' and conservative government attempts to reform the welfare state.”


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