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/ To help build a better society...

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Dave Kerr - on 08 Jan 2018
What texts (books, essays, whatever) would you like to give to every 16 year old in the land? Forget for the moment the obvious issue of whether they'll read them or not but do try to suggest things that would be accessible to an average 16 year old.

This is prompted by reading that there were plans to distribute We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie to every 16 year old in Sweden.

I'm not suggesting this is a great idea, just really curious to hear people's suggestions.

Ta.
DerwentDiluted - on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

If this is a man/The truce. Primo Levi.
pasbury on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut.
pebbles - on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

The grapes of wrath. Read it as a 15 year old and it made a lifelong impression on me.
alx on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

Dune triology by Frank Herbert
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Becoming a Supple Leopard by Kelly Starett
To Look Windward by by Iain M Banks
1
Gordon Stainforth - on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Not quite sure whether it's recommendable for 16 year-olds, but certainly 17.
petenebo - on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

The Communist Manifesto - Marx.
Big Ger - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

"How To Avoid Being Indoctrinated"
Timmd on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:
The Tao Of Pooh & The Te Of Piglet. It might be interesting if people say way they've chosen a book. I'd find it interesting to know why others have. It's less profound than some of the other suggestions perhaps, but as a teenager one can feel that 'life has to be figured out', and it might be a helpful reminder earlier on that life also can need to be left to unfold too, in the sense of one being on a journey. This book talks about needing to let things unfold, as well as other things to do with finding meaning in life.
Post edited at 01:13
2
Dave Kerr - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to Big Ger:

> "How To Avoid Being Indoctrinated"

Is that a text or were you trying to make a wee joke?
planetmarshall on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:
The Art of Always Being Right - Arthur Schopenhauer (Should be compulsory reading for UKC Forum users also)
A Tale of Two Cities - Dickens
1984 - Orwell
Catch 22 - Heller
Philosophy: The Basics - Nigel Warburton
Thinking, Fast And Slow - Daniel Kahneman
The Selfish Gene - Dawkins

There's an obvious bias here towards books which I think encourage rational thought and critical thinking (Apart from Tale of Two Cities, which I just put in because it's my favourite novel - and it has some great themes of love, redemption and self-sacrifice)
Post edited at 08:35
Tom V - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

Animal Farm.
guy127917 - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

Extreme Alpinism
Stuart en Écosse - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:
The Human Situation, Aldous Huxley.

Post edited at 23:28
RX-78 on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

Stoner by John Williams.

Showing the lives of ordinary individuals is worth telling. A brilliant moving book.

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck. Another book that humanises you.
David Martin - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

Orwell's "Animal Farm" to every would-be SJW/left-wing activist.
11
Dave Kerr - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Not quite sure whether it's recommendable for 16 year-olds, but certainly 17.

I know lots of people who really rate that but it just didn't grab me.
Irk the Purist - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

His Dark Materials. Has the advantage that a 16 year old might actually read it.
Dave Kerr - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to guy127917:

> Extreme Alpinism

We could just cut out the middle man and give them some Nietzsche.
SouthernSteve on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:
Hiroshima - John Hersey and to look at misogyny / male centric society in a more interesting way, Memoirs of a dutiful daughter - Simone de Beauvoir

Whether you would get 16 year olds to read these or any of your list may be a problem for a significant number. Perhaps we need a game for the phone/tablet etc
Post edited at 07:24
1
jkarran - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

Goldacre's Bad Science - An accessible introduction to the value of a rational scientific approach to the world and the real world difficulties in achieving it.
jk
WaterMonkey - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

IF by Rudyard Kipling
1
Fredt on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to planetmarshall:

> 1984 - Orwell

Too late I'm afraid.

1
planetmarshall on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Irk the Purist:

> His Dark Materials. Has the advantage that a 16 year old might actually read it.

Yes, GCSE English managed to really suck the joy out of reading at that age. I only started reading more widely for enjoyment at University.
wbo - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to David Martin: Orwell's "Animal Farm" to every would-be right wing populist, speaker of 'common sense'

4
Stichtplate on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to wbo:

> Orwell's "Animal Farm" to every would-be right wing populist, speaker of 'common sense'

You do a great disservice to a man who put his life on the line for his socialist ideals, gave up comfort and privilege, was shot through the neck and had his beliefs modified by bitter experience and cynical betrayal.

Orwell earned his viewpoint, however much you may disagree with it.
2
haworthjim on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

Yorkshire Gritstone vol 1 & 2.
tom_in_edinburgh - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

One of the major challenges we as a society face is that young people are not watching enough science fiction as a result we are losing interest and confidence in science and engineering.

For my own kids I insisted that they watch Star Trek (original series, next generation, voyager and enterprise NOT the movies or discovery) and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I feel this gives an excellent grounding in all the major moral, philosophical and supernatural conundrums they may face in life as well as a basic confidence in the ability of science, engineering and appropriately directed superior weaponry to solve them.

Clint86 - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to pebbles:

Yes, I read that at age 20 and was riveted.
Neil Henson - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

To kill a Mockingbird. Atticus Finch standing up for what is right, despite the risks it involved.
hokkyokusei - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Tom V:

> Animal Farm.

And 1984.
In reply to Dave Kerr:

On a vaguely related note, there's a campaign to get this into every primary school in Scotland. Start 'em young. https://www.johnmuirtrust.org/initiatives/the-lost-words
wbo - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Stichtplate: I really doubt that Orwell wrote his novel as a critique of political correctness and 'snowflakes' rather than a damnation of totalitarianism.

The New NickB - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to wbo:

> I really doubt that Orwell wrote his novel as a critique of political correctness and 'snowflakes' rather than a damnation of totalitarianism.

There is a certain irony about your post about people misunderstanding and misrepresenting Orwell and been misunderstood and misrepresented.
Andy Hardy on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

Can I suggest the following for your list:

The Truth, by Terry Pratchett
and
The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, by Robert Tressell

Thanks
Stichtplate on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to wbo:

> I really doubt that Orwell wrote his novel as a critique of political correctness and 'snowflakes' rather than a damnation of totalitarianism.

A child could see what he was critiquing, Orwell himself was quite specific about it. It wasn't totalitarianism.
2
krikoman - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to David Martin:
> Orwell's "Animal Farm" to every would-be SJW/left-wing activist.

"Mein Kampf" to every Tory/ Conservative apologist.


Edit:
The importance of George Orwell as a writer lies in his questioning of institutions, power structures and political statements. The state, law, religion, charity, public schools, political parties and the media all came under his scrutiny. The morals behind individual beliefs were questioned in essays such as Raffles and Miss Blandish:

“People worship power in the form in which they are able to understand it. A twelve-year-old boy worships Jack Dempsey. An adolescent in a Glasgow slum worships Al Capone. An aspiring pupil at a business college worships Lord Nuffield. A New Statesman reader worships Stalin. There is a difference in intellectual maturity, but none in moral outlook” (1944).
Post edited at 15:01
neilh - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Stichtplate:

Theron lies a debate and no doubt many a PhD.
Tom V - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to David Martin:

No, to absolutely every school child.
Crewey-Rob on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to RX-78:


> Cannery Row by John Steinbeck. Another book that humanises you.

+1 for this! I'd also add City of Thieves by David Benioff to your list.
Stichtplate on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to neilh:

> Theron lies a debate and no doubt many a PhD.

Is there a debate ? Wasn't Orwell quite clear that it was a satirical take on the Russian revolution and the rise of Stalin, which he saw as detrimental to the wider Socialist cause he was sympathetic to ?
Stichtplate on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> "Mein Kampf" to every Tory/ Conservative apologist.

You'd have to be quite politically blinkered to believe that guff.

Timmd on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Stichtplate:
> Is there a debate ? Wasn't Orwell quite clear that it was a satirical take on the Russian revolution and the rise of Stalin, which he saw as detrimental to the wider Socialist cause he was sympathetic to ?

I always took Animal Farm to be a critique of human nature. He might have said things about it being about the rise of Stalin and the Russian revolution, but if one looks at other revolutions and movements which start off with high ideals, human selfishness seems to spoil many of them in the end. A cheery thought. ;-)

Edit: If Animal Farm is worth reading when young, in my opinion it's as reminder to watch out for the darker parts of human nature when trying to change things. A reminder to hold those in power to account too, corruption and selfishness seem to be found in movements of every political hue.
Post edited at 16:20
neilh - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Stichtplate:
I thought you said earlier it was nothing to do with totalitarianism....... so which one was it socialism or totalitarianism ..or both.

Laurie Lees trilogy ending in the Spanish civil war is more readable and in a way thought provoking on the same lines. But each to their own.
Post edited at 16:37
Postmanpat on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> "Mein Kampf" to every Tory/ Conservative apologist.

> Edit:

>
Jesus wept. You really havent a clue have you?

Animal Farm and 1984 for every socialist and socialist apologist.

8
The New NickB - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Postmanpat:

> Jesus wept. You really havent a clue have you?

> Animal Farm and 1984 for every socialist and socialist apologist.

Maybe they will gain a better understand of it than you obviously did.
4
Thrudge on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

1984
The Road to Wigan Pier

(Am I alone in thinking 'Animal Farm' was dull, dreary and ham-fisted?)

PG Wodehouse - Jeeves and Wooster series

Graham Greene - Brighton Rock
1
Irk the Purist - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

I'd like to add Alone in Berlin to the list.

Also not joking, the Harry Potter series addresses many of the issues discussed in more adult books in this thread.
Dave Kerr - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Andy Hardy:

>
> The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, by Robert Tressell

I thought about that for the social justice element but I'm afraid to say I think it's an unsubtle sledgehammer of a book. The message is important but the delivery poor.

Dave Kerr - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> For my own kids I insisted that they watch Star Trek (original series, next generation, voyager and enterprise NOT the movies or discovery)

I've long maintained that Star Trek TNG provides a solid grounding in many philosophical issues.

Dave Kerr - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Neil Henson:

> To kill a Mockingbird. Atticus Finch standing up for what is right, despite the risks it involved.

I think that is likely to prove the least controversial and most widely acceptable suggestion.
pasbury on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> One of the major challenges we as a society face is that young people are not watching enough science fiction as a result we are losing interest and confidence in science and engineering.

In that case I nominate Excession by Iain M Banks. It is the future.....

pebbles - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Clint86:

Combined rage, compassion and poetry
Postmanpat on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to The New NickB:

> Maybe they will gain a better understand of it than you obviously did.

Unlikely, but neither, it would appear, have you.
1
bouldery bits - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

Roger's profanisaurus
Wicamoi on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Postmanpat, krikoman, wbo, Stichtplate, The New NickB:

Enough of this tiresome historical factionalism, lads - it's ridiculous. But at least it demonstrates that overtly political books are not obviously destined to build a better society, and in any case if getting all 16 year olds to read Animal Farm were the way to build such a society then the UK should be paradise already.

To the OP - no single text can reach everyone: to suppose it can elevates the author to the status of god. Perhaps it's best to let teenagers find their own way.
DenzelLN - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

1984, possibly. But for me, as cringeworthy as it sounds, i personally find Alan Watts profound, his writings and lectures.

Nietzsche, Russell, Emmerson again, profound.

But to be fair, not really suited to a 16 year old, the Steinbeck novels are a good call, i remember reading of mice and men in school, i still remember it now.

Anything by Cormac Mccarthy, Mans search for meaning, Viktor Frankl, The railway man Eric Lomax- could make them see what life could be like at the extreme?! Pretty bleak but all brilliant.
MG - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

Calvin and Hobbes cover most essentials
Dave Kerr - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Wicamoi:
> To the OP - no single text can reach everyone: to suppose it can elevates the author to the status of god. Perhaps it's best to let teenagers find their own way.

I never thought it could. That would be ridiculously simplistic. Teenagers will always find their own way, that's what being a teenager is all about but that isn't to say it's a waste of time to offer guidance and suggestions.

Post edited at 22:02
Gordon Stainforth - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to DenzelLN:

> Nietzsche, Russell, Emmerson again, profound.

> Anything by Cormac Mccarthy, Mans search for meaning, Viktor Frankl, The railway man Eric Lomax- could make them see what life could be like at the extreme?! Pretty bleak but all brilliant.

Man's Search for Meaning, Frankl +1

Nietzsche ... possibly best approached through Kaufmann's classic Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist.

Wicamoi on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

I didn't mean to suggest that this hadn't already occurred to you - if I remember correctly you are a teacher, so it would have been surprising if it had not. However, having trampled on someone else's suggestion, it was merely intended to be a polite way of declining to offer what you had asked for. I agree with you on Pirsig and Tressell too.
Stichtplate on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Wicamoi:

> Enough of this tiresome historical factionalism, lads - it's ridiculous.

I only come here for the tiresome historical factionalism.

The New NickB - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Wicamoi:
I take your point, but I am not making a political point. I’m questioning someone’s highly politicised take on books he appears not to have read.

I wouldn’t recommend Orwell at all for helping to build a better society, too politicised as you say. My favourite would be Homage to Catalonia, but as a perspective on history.

What book would I choose, I really don’t know, I suspect the world would be a better place if people just read more generally.
Post edited at 22:42
winhill - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

> To kill a Mockingbird. Atticus Finch standing up for what is right, despite the risks it involved.

> I think that is likely to prove the least controversial and most widely acceptable suggestion.

No, it's White Saviour stuff now, Obama dropped a bomb with it in his Farewell Address.
1
Wilberforce - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks (I read this at 16 and my life got flipped, turned upside down...)
The Earthsea Cycle - Ursula le Guin
The Player of Games - Iain M. Banks
The Regeneration Trilogy - Pat Barker
Underground Airlines - Ben Winters
Tom Last - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

Beside the Ocean of Time by George Mackay Brown, lots of which basically centres around daydreaming in school and is just an absolutely wonderful book.

Also, Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy, which really has it all.
pasbury on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

Love All The People - Collected scripts of Bill Hicks

Demonstrates the power and weaponry of humour.
EarlyBird - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Tom Last:

Lovely writer, George Mackay Brown.

 

Dave Kerr - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to winhill:

> No, it's White Saviour stuff now, Obama dropped a bomb with it in his Farewell Address.

There's always someone that comes along and spoils the party. ;)

Dave Kerr - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to MG:

> Calvin and Hobbes cover most essentials

I was going to say that would be uncontroversial too but I'm going to wait to see what Obama has to say about it.

ianstevens - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

> I think that is likely to prove the least controversial and most widely acceptable suggestion.

Was on the GCSE reading list when I did mine. Made me hate the book more than you can imagine. Have found re-reading it in my 20s to be far more enjoyable,

DerwentDiluted - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to bouldery bits:

> Roger's profanisaurus

The only book listed here to which I have contributed.

The New NickB - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to winhill:

> No, it's White Saviour stuff now, Obama dropped a bomb with it in his Farewell Address.

Is it? Obama quoted Atticus Finch in his Farewell Address, but that seems to be where our realities diverge.

GrahamD - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

'Europe: A History'

Just a reminder that Europe is an interesting, fluid and complicated place and we are somewhat on the edge of it.

jonnie3430 - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

The discworld series by Terry Pratchet.

Religion: small gods

Finance: Making money.

Etc.

krikoman - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Postmanpat:

> Jesus wept. You really havent a clue have you?
> Animal Farm and 1984 for every socialist and socialist apologist.


Ha ha, I was taking the piss FFS!

But such wide sweeping statements as Sticht's are as accurate / relevant as mine.

It the same old shite trundled out about JC taking us back to the days of Uncle Joe.

we've moved on may be your attitude should too.

Neil Henson - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

> I think that is likely to prove the least controversial and most widely acceptable suggestion.


Thanks

Chris the Tall - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Neil Henson:

> To kill a Mockingbird. Atticus Finch standing up for what is right, despite the risks it involved.

More than that, it tells you that there a two sides to every story and you'll only get to truth if you listen to both

Quite agree it about it being essential reading

 

cander - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

Viz and Fat Freddys Cat

trouserburp - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to haworthjim:

> Yorkshire Gritstone vol 1 & 2.

For any budding grade-creep apologist

Seriously Calvin and Hobbes only suggestion here that a lot of 16yr olds would put down their phone and read. Those that do read grown-up books for leisure are going to be alright

 

DubyaJamesDubya - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Is there a debate ? Wasn't Orwell quite clear that it was a satirical take on the Russian revolution and the rise of Stalin, which he saw as detrimental to the wider Socialist cause he was sympathetic to ?

If that was the case the book would have little long lasting impact. What does a fourteen year old care about a revolution from way back. It's powerful because its message applies to Mussolini as much as Stalin.

Stichtplate on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:
> If that was the case the book would have little long lasting impact. What does a fourteen year old care about a revolution from way back. It's powerful because its message applies to Mussolini as much as Stalin.

This book can be applied to any number of situations or contexts, but that is rather different than claiming it was written as a satire on any other events than those the author himself has stated.

Tom V - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Stichtplate:

Orwell claimed that , although it was primarily a satire on the Russian revolution, he did intend it to have a much wider application, presumably referring to the politics of revolution in general.

Stichtplate on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Tom V:

> Orwell claimed that , although it was primarily a satire on the Russian revolution, he did intend it to have a much wider application, presumably referring to the politics of revolution in general.

True, but most satires from MASH to Catch 22 easily lend themselves to wider application. Animal farm contains characters depicting Trotsky and Stalin specifically. The time it was written, the author's past history and Orwell's own letters and interviews all make clear what his main target was.

Neil Henson - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:

> > To kill a Mockingbird. Atticus Finch standing up for what is right, despite the risks it involved.
> More than that, it tells you that there a two sides to every story and you'll only get to truth if you listen to both
> Quite agree it about it being essential reading
>  


And that heroes can be found in unexpected places

krikoman - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Stichtplate:

> > If that was the case the book would have little long lasting impact. What does a fourteen year old care about a revolution from way back. It's powerful because its message applies to Mussolini as much as Stalin.
> This book can be applied to any number of situations or contexts, but that is rather different than claiming it was written as a satire on any other events than those the author himself has stated.


True but you equated it with "the left" so for all the nuances in left wing politics you chose to paint the whole left wing, socialist, communists, marxist, etcist, with the same brush.

It was denigrating and you knew it. It also implies that we haven't learnt anything from the mistakes of the past or that we should never change our minds about anything.

Not so very long ago Aung San Suu Kyi was near enough a saint who was being prevented from saving all the persecuted souls in Burma, thing are a bit different now though.

3
Stichtplate on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:
> True but you equated it with "the left" so for all the nuances in left wing politics you chose to paint the whole left wing, socialist, communists, marxist, etcist, with the same brush.
> It was denigrating and you knew it. It also implies that we haven't learnt anything from the mistakes of the past or that we should never change our minds about anything.
> Not so very long ago Aung San Suu Kyi was near enough a saint who was being prevented from saving all the persecuted souls in Burma, thing are a bit different now though.

Whoa there hoss....

I'm afraid you've grabbed tightly onto completely the wrong end of the stick. If you read through my posts on this thread you'll see that I've taken the position that Animal Farm was directly aimed at the corruption of the Russian revolution and the rise of Stalin. As far as I'm aware Orwell remained a staunch socialist until his last, wheezing breath. 

For what it's worth my own sympathies lie to the left of centre, while I remain dubious about much in British politics.

Dave the Rave on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

Pilgrims Progress was a good read at 14 and I’m not a Christian. 

Pursued by a bear - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

> I think that is likely to prove the least controversial and most widely acceptable suggestion.

Not for me; though as mentioned when discussing a different book on a different thread, having had to study it for O level English Literature might play a part here.

I found the themes of standing up for what is right despite what others do, say and think, and of people being of equal value no matter what the colour of their skin fairly obvious even as a 15-year old.  I agree that it was an important book when released and for years beyond in an America where racial prejudice was a way of life for far too many people, and even in a Britain where the tedious abuse-dressed-up-as-humour of Love Thy Neighbour was watched by a large audience; but surely there's another text more accessible and relevant to today's adolescents that explores the same themes?

Or perhaps it's like my grandparent's dining table that has been with me for twenty five years and is too modern to be antique but old to be worth anything and which I keep, repair and maintain for sentimental attachment (and because it's a good table); and so TKAM may be too modern to be classic literature, too old to speak to a new, young audience.

Or, and I'm prepared to accept this, it may just be me.

T.

krikoman - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Whoa there hoss....

You're right, I do apologise it was to Mr. Martin's comment "Orwell's "Animal Farm" to every would-be SJW/left-wing activist.".

The above should have been directed. Please accept my bumhole apologies.

 

Stichtplate on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

No problem kriks.

David Martin - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

I think it is well-established that Orwell was specifically referring to the extremes of left-wing politics.  His view that the lesson could be applicable wider than merely Stalinism really just makes the case that it isn't confined to events in Russia from 1917, and could be seen as a general theme of left-wing extremism.  Doesn't preclude application to right-wing politics, but it's pretty clear Animal Farm's subtext (claims to speak for and serve the masses, to remove hierarchy and power structures, to take from the elite masters and redistribute to the poor, and eventually the oppressed becoming the oppressors) is a far more salient lesson to the left than the right. 

That's not painting all lefties with the same brush.  Just asking for a bit of acknowledgement from the left that its own particular brand of thinking has a track record of leading off in a well-established direction.    

> It was denigrating and you knew it. It also implies that we haven't learnt anything from the mistakes of the past or that we should never change our minds about anything.

I think anyone who claims to be left-of-centre should be willing to own and accept that, rather than take offense to it.  It is the left that points the finger at, for example, white-privilege or that people today owe debts to groups who were discriminated against by previous generations.  If they want to push such concepts of collective historic guilt they should also accept that left-thinking carries a guilt of millions of dead too - and that this trajectory is an intrinsic part of where left-thinking can lead.  Denial, perceiving left-oppression as a bastardisation of left thinking or a result of the right-wing corruption, shows that lessons haven't been learnt and the likes of Animal Farm are still required reading.  The slide from idealism to genocide is so insidious even the perpetrators can be unable to acknowledge it.  The potential for it should be foremost in any activist's mind, and not taken offense to.

Post edited at 10:17
Andy Hardy on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

> I thought about that for the social justice element but I'm afraid to say I think it's an unsubtle sledgehammer of a book. The message is important but the delivery poor.


It's OK for kids though, right?

krikoman - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to David Martin:

> That's not painting all lefties with the same brush.  Just asking for a bit of acknowledgement from the left that its own particular brand of thinking has a track record of leading off in a well-established direction.    

It's true that Orwell was referring to the extremes, however your post wasn't "Orwell's "Animal Farm" to every would-be SJW/left-wing activist." It was vague and all encompassing,  "left wing activist" what does that mean? Anyone in Labour is surely a left wing activist by definition. As for SJW do you include environmentalists, feminist and civil rights groups in the broad brush painting?

I think I understand your sentiment (a warning), possibly though I'm only guessing, but the same could be said of right wing activist, capitalist or just about any other group you might care to mention, it works equally well.

Bob Kemp - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Postmanpat:

> Jesus wept. You really havent a clue have you?
> Animal Farm and 1984 for every socialist and socialist apologist.

You do realise that 1984 is a rather contested work don’t you? Orwell objected to its interpretation by the right, and it can be argued that it’s both a critique of fascism and of managerialism capitalism. 

Have a look at this - https://www.bl.uk/20th-century-literature/articles/nineteen-eighty-four-and-the-politics-of-dystopia

David Martin - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> It was vague and all encompassing,  "left wing activist" what does that mean? Anyone in Labour is surely a left wing activist by definition. As for SJW do you include environmentalists, feminist and civil rights groups in the broad brush painting?

Which I think is fair enough.  People do tend to stay quieter about the indiscretions of those marginally further to their side of the political spectrum than those marginally further in the opposite direction.  Probably because each political side views itself as being under attack, the vanguard movement of their own more extreme allies are more tolerated. 

This is exactly the sort of thing that allows people on both sides of the political fence to remain silent as extremes get more traction.  The lessons aren't just there to be learnt by someone else, or that those of us who consider ourselves moderate can safely say we aren't part of the extreme problem.  Hence why I feel all on the left, and even those who are simply progressively-socially active, should give it a read. 

The right would benefit from it too.  But the lessons, or scenarios portrayed, in Animal Farm are so clearly mirroring the results of left-wing extremism that it seems to be a text far more appropriate to the left.

Post edited at 11:15
r0x0r.wolfo - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to Natalie Berry - UKC:

> On a vaguely related note, there's a campaign to get this into every primary school in Scotland. Start 'em young. https://www.johnmuirtrust.org/initiatives/the-lost-words

Hmm Kingfisher, Otter and Dandelion. Are any of these words lost? 


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