Animal Farm – the 1% of the 99%

My wife and I just walked past the 5 tents of the #OccupyEdinburgh “encampment” in St. Andrew’s Square, about 6 blocks from our flat…pretty weak.

I was thinking about these pathetic souls in light of my Atlas Shrugged post and how how life truly imitates art – and how we are seemingly doomed to repeat history.

It is almost if the world has a bad case of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) that prevents us from focusing long enough to remember anything beyond the past 20-30 years. I guess we need to forget fluoride in the water supply and start dumping Adderall in there by the tankerload.

Instapundit points to this:

On Sunday, October 23, a meeting was held at 60 Wall Street. Six leaders discussed what to do with the half-million dollars that had been donated to their organization, since, in their estimation, the organization was incapable of making sound financial decisions. The proposed solution was not to spend the money educating their co-workers or stimulating more active participation by improving the organization’s structures and tactics. Instead, those present discussed how they could commandeer the $500,000 for their new, more exclusive organization. No, this was not the meeting of any traditional influence on Wall Street. These were six of the leaders of Occupy Wall Street (OWS).

Occupy Wall Street’s Structure Working Group (WG) has created a new organization called the Spokes Council. “Teach-ins” were held to workshop and promote the Spokes Council throughout the week of October 22-28. I attended the teach-in on Sunday the 23rd.

According to Marisa Holmes, one of the most outspoken and influential leaders of OWS, the NYC-GA started receiving donations from around the world when OWS began on September 17. Because the NYC-GA was not an official organization, and therefore could not legally receive thousands of dollars in donations, the nonprofit Alliance for Global Justice helped OWS create Friends of Liberty Plaza, which receives tax-free donations for OWS. Since then, Friends of Liberty Plaza has received over $500,000. Until October 28, anybody who wanted to receive more than $100 from Friends of Liberty Plaza had to go through the often arduous modified consensus process (90% majority) of the NYC-GA—which, despite its well-documented inefficiencies, granted $25,740 to the Media WG for live-stream equipment on October 12, and $1,400 to the Food and Medical WGs for herbal tonics on October 18.

$500K??? Corrupting the incorruptible? I thought only corporations and banks did this sort of thing. I guess these 6 are the 1% of the 99%. No honor among thieves…or slackers for that matter, I guess.

This is all playing out just like Orwell’s book, Animal Farm…proving once again that Lord Acton was correct when he said:

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

An excerpt from the Animal Farm summary on CliffsNotes:

One night, all the animals at Mr. Jones’ Manor Farm assemble in a barn to hear old Major, a pig, describe a dream he had about a world where all animals live free from the tyranny of their human masters. Old Major dies soon after the meeting, but the animals — inspired by his philosophy of Animalism — plot a rebellion against Jones. Two pigs, Snowball and Napoleon, prove themselves important figures and planners of this dangerous enterprise. When Jones forgets to feed the animals, the revolution occurs, and Jones and his men are chased off the farm. Manor Farm is renamed Animal Farm, and the Seven Commandments of Animalism are painted on the barn wall.

Initially, the rebellion is a success: The animals complete the harvest and meet every Sunday to debate farm policy. The pigs, because of their intelligence, become the supervisors of the farm. Napoleon, however, proves to be a power-hungry leader who steals the cows’ milk and a number of apples to feed himself and the other pigs. He also enlists the services of Squealer, a pig with the ability to persuade the other animals that the pigs are always moral and correct in their decisions.

Later that fall, Jones and his men return to Animal Farm and attempt to retake it. Thanks to the tactics of Snowball, the animals defeat Jones in what thereafter becomes known as The Battle of the Cowshed. Winter arrives, and Mollie, a vain horse concerned only with ribbons and sugar, is lured off the farm by another human. Snowball begins drawing plans for a windmill, which will provide electricity and thereby give the animals more leisure time, but Napoleon vehemently opposes such a plan on the grounds that building the windmill will allow them less time for producing food. On the Sunday that the pigs offer the windmill to the animals for a vote, Napoleon summons a pack of ferocious dogs, who chase Snowball off the farm forever. Napoleon announces that there will be no further debates; he also tells them that the windmill will be built after all and lies that it was his own idea, stolen by Snowball. For the rest of the novel, Napoleon uses Snowball as a scapegoat on whom he blames all of the animals’ hardships.

Much of the next year is spent building the windmill. Boxer, an incredibly strong horse, proves himself to be the most valuable animal in this endeavor. Jones, meanwhile, forsakes the farm and moves to another part of the county. Contrary to the principles of Animalism, Napoleon hires a solicitor and begins trading with neighboring farms. When a storm topples the half-finished windmill, Napoleon predictably blames Snowball and orders the animals to begin rebuilding it.

Napoleon’s lust for power increases to the point where he becomes a totalitarian dictator, forcing “confessions” from innocent animals and having the dogs kill them in front of the entire farm. He and the pigs move into Jones’ house and begin sleeping in beds (which Squealer excuses with his brand of twisted logic). The animals receive less and less food, while the pigs grow fatter. After the windmill is completed in August, Napoleon sells a pile of timber to Frederick, a neighboring farmer who pays for it with forged banknotes. Frederick and his men attack the farm and explode the windmill but are eventually defeated. As more of the Seven Commandments of Animalism are broken by the pigs, the language of the Commandments is revised: For example, after the pigs become drunk one night, the Commandment, “No animals shall drink alcohol” is changed to, “No animal shall drink alcohol to excess.”

18 thoughts on “Animal Farm – the 1% of the 99%

  1. I had to read this book in junior high. Brave New World was required in high school. I don’t know why I read Atlas Shrugged, but I preferred Fountainhead. Wonder what they must read now in their Race to the Top…..

  2. And the most famous of the changed commandments was “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

    I would have to say that Orwell is the better writer. Not having read Ayn Rand, I base this only on ,the fact that Ayn’s books are cited by the conservatives and libertarians of the right, while Orwell’s books, are cited by both sides to warn about each other’s other’s goals. An author who can produce a work that is accepted by two such diametrically opposed groups, 60 years after it was written, is a master.

    But I think Rand’s book has had more actual effect on the world, at least recently, as she influenced the side that is in ascendancy now.

    Wasn’t Fountainhead made into a movie decades ago? I think I saw it as a kid.

    • Orwell (real name Eric Arthur Blair) was a socialist who condemned communism because he saw how the process of “socialism” led to totalitarianism. His positions on social justice appeal to the Left, his hatred of dictatorships to the Right…

    • Orwell’s Animal Farm may be cited by both sides, but he is seldom cited by the left in regards to 1984.

      As for Rand’s writing, it is better in the sense that the very drudgery of the repetitive method by which the govt. encroaches upon the private sector on behalf of “the People” becomes its own metaphor for how this process chips away at resistance in reality. In this sense, her book is nothing short of brilliant. She is also dead on target in how things happen and why.

      Had she admitted to the necessity for a Creator, she would be hailed as a prophet. As it is now, that was her single greatest failing: by not allowing for the duty to others that comes from the notion of judgment, she opened the door to the majority of the left’s charges of heartlessness against those who embrace Rand’s philosophy.

      • Back in Air America days, black, the midnight talking head read 1984 on the air, a chapter a night. The parallels in the book to the Bush regime’s actions were notable.

    • G,

      I would say the parallels to ANY dictatorial regime, not just Bush’s (Obama could be substituted for “W” in much of what the left didn’t like in the early 2000’s and the story would read the same today 😉 )

  3. Yes. I saw that show. Wasn’t it Patricia O ‘ Neal. I think she’s the lady who played Gloria.(a kick-ass chick who protects a child) Am I remembering right?

    Nice, Utah…….. that’s called timing. “You either got it or you ain’t. And Babe, you’ve got it!” …Mama Rose

  4. Just a note to let you know that we aren’t crazy about dictatorships, either. I am sure that you agree with me, Utah, that we have too often supported bad leaders with the ‘he’s our bastard’ excuse. Maybe sometimes it is a choice of the lesser of two evils, and we can’t save the world, but when we actively work to support Somozas and Pahlavis and Karimov’s, we are not making the world a better place.

  5. What the hello did you just say, Greg? I mean, I’ll support Mimosas any day of the week, but I don’t know about all these other concoctions…..(truly I don’t)

    Seriously, what does that mean? You may hereby refer to me as Kindergarten Kells

  6. lol, kell

    They were dictators, Kells, in order Nicaragua, Iran, Uzbekistan. We actually put Somoza’s family in power, and the Shah. We rendition prisoners to Uzbekistan for in-depth inhumanitarian activities.

  7. Costa Rica is a democracy. I lived in the Canal Zone; when Torrijos took a census, all Zonians had to be in the Zone, and all citizens had to be in their homes or face jail time. It was efficient, I have to admit, and the people were happy for the most part happy, more so in the country than in Ciudad de Panama.

    The US Marines were sent to Nicaragua in the twenties and, with their usual efficiency, seized control of the country. Agosto Sandino fought against the Americans, and became a national hero. He was killed by a Somoza, who went on to overthrow the government set up before the Americans left. and become a dictator.

    The Sandinistas took their name from his. Somoza killed after seeking asylum in Paraguay when he was overthrown. The Sandinistas may have been commies and lousy at governing, but they won my admiration for taking out Somoza, not letting that slime live in comfortable retirement.

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