Quotes By Facing Unpleasant Facts: Narrative Essays

“Every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac. In our time political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting. Political language...is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidarity to pure wind. War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it. Nationalism is power hunger tempered by self-deception. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. (On the manipulation of language for political ends.) We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men. If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act.”


“As far as the mass of the people go, the extraordinary swings of opinion which occur nowadays, the emotions which can be turned on and off like a tap, are the result of newspaper and radio hypnosis.”


“Doubtless any horoscope seems "true" if it tells that you are highly attractive to the opposite sex and your worst fault is generosity.”


“3.6.40: From a letter from Lady Oxford15 to the Daily Telegraph, on the subject of war economies: "Since most London houses are deserted there is little entertaining ... in any case, most people have to part with their cooks and live in hotels." Apparently nothing will ever teach these people that the other 99% of the population exist.”


“Twenty or twenty-five years ago, contraception and enlightenment were held to be almost synonymous.”


“For a few days after getting into the water the toad concentrates on building up his strength by eating small insects. Presently he has swollen to his normal size again, and then he goes through a phase of intense sexiness.”


“Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it. It seems to me nonsense, in a period like our own, to think that one can avoid writing of such subjects. Everyone writes of them in one guise or another. It is simply a question of which side one takes and what approach one follows. And the more one is conscious of one's political bias, the more chance one has of acting politically without sacrificing one's aesthetic and intellectual integrity.”


“We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men. If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act.”