It's time for Part Seven of my latest Tale for Our Time: Animal Farm, a tale that is almost too timely. Rachel Aranoff, a New York member of The Mark Steyn Club, writes:
Dear Mark –
I am loving your reading of Animal Farm! The line that blew me away in Part Three was, 'It's science!'
There is nothing new under the sun.
Indeed, Rachel. Totalitarianism masquerading as technocracy is the whole trick of modern government. Orwell grasped that early on.
Of course, it helps to have impressionable types who can sell that to the wider world - as Napoleon well understands in tonight's episode:
Napoleon was well aware of the bad results that might follow if the real facts of the food situation were known, and he decided to make use of Mr. Whymper to spread a contrary impression. Hitherto the animals had had little or no contact with Whymper on his weekly visits: now, however, a few selected animals, mostly sheep, were instructed to remark casually in his hearing that rations had been increased. In addition, Napoleon ordered the almost empty bins in the store-shed to be filled nearly to the brim with sand, which was then covered up with what remained of the grain and meal. On some suitable pretext Whymper was led through the store-shed and allowed to catch a glimpse of the bins. He was deceived, and continued to report to the outside world that there was no food shortage on Animal Farm.
Orwell is being rather generous there: The real-life Whympers of Stalinist Russia were not "deceived" but willing participants in the lies to the outside world.
Members of The Mark Steyn Club can listen to me read Part Seven of our tale simply by clicking here and logging-in. And, if you've missed the beginning of Animal Farm, you can start fresh with Part One and have a good old binge-listen here.
Please join me tomorrow, Sunday, for the second of our audio editions of my Song of the Week on Serenade Radio live around the world at 5.30pm UK time - that's 12.30pm North American Eastern. And, if you like audio fiction, how about video poetry? After Song of the Week, I'll be back right here for the latest addition to Steyn's Sunday Poems.
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