The Betrayal of Dissent: Beyond Orwell, Hitchens, and the New American Century

Overview

Since his death in 1950, George Orwell has been canonised as England's foremost political writer, and the standard-bearer of honesty and decency for the honourable 'Left'. In this controversial polemic, Scott Lucas argues that the exaltation of Orwell, far from upholding dissent against the State, has sought to quash such opposition. Indeed, Orwell has become the icon of those who, in the pose of the contrarian, try to silence public opposition to US and U K foreign policy in the 'War on Terror'.Lucas's lively ...
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Overview

Since his death in 1950, George Orwell has been canonised as England's foremost political writer, and the standard-bearer of honesty and decency for the honourable 'Left'. In this controversial polemic, Scott Lucas argues that the exaltation of Orwell, far from upholding dissent against the State, has sought to quash such opposition. Indeed, Orwell has become the icon of those who, in the pose of the contrarian, try to silence public opposition to US and U K foreign policy in the 'War on Terror'.Lucas's lively and readable critique of public intellectuals including Christopher Hitchens, Michael Walzer, David Aaronovitch, and Johann Hari – who have all invoked Orwellian honesty and decency to shut down dissent – will appeal to anyone disillusioned with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Lucas contends that these leading journalists and commentators have used Orwell to justify their own political transition from radicals to upholders of the establishment. All of them play influential roles in supporting the UK and US governments' charge that opponents of war — and those who question the motives behind American foreign policy and its implementation — should be condemned as 'appeasers of mass murder'.This controversial book shows how Orwell has been used since 9/11 to justify, in the guise of independent thought, the suppression of dissent. We must rescue ourselves from Orwell and from those who take on his guise so, as Lucas puts it, our ‘silencing is… vital to a "manufacture of consent" for the wars which are supposedly being fought in our name and for our good’.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745321974
  • Publisher: Pluto Press
  • Publication date: 2/20/2004
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott Lucas is a regular contributor to the New Statesman. He is Professor of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Birmingham and author of numerous books on US and British foreign policy, intelligence services, culture and ideology. He is the author of Orwell: LIfe and Times (2003).
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Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION
1 Orwell, Policeman of the 'Left'
2 The Canonisation of St. George
3 Christopher Hitchens: Becoming George
4 9-11
5 Beyond the Spirit of '68
6 Our Friends in America
7 How We Dissent: On Bushmen and the 'Preponderance of Power'
8 On the Eve of War: March 2003
9 Dissent and 'Liberation'
EPILOGUE Beyond Orwell in Our New American Century
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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2004

    Scathing study of war and treachery

    This gripping and passionately written book shows how reactionaries use George Orwell to cover their warmongering and to smother their opponents. Conservatives and social democrats alike wrap themselves in Orwell¿s mantle to attack democracy and sovereignty. Orwell all his life adopted the Etonian pose (like Boris Johnson today), ¿I¿m really a frightfully decent chap, so you must excuse my attitudes to women, Jews, the working class, socialists, communists ¿ ¿ In his extensive research, Lucas has found some remarkable material. General Anthony Zinni, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, ¿Access to energy drives all U. S. policy in the region.¿ When Rupert Murdoch asked Blair in March 2003 what the Sun could do to help him, Blair said, ¿Step up the attacks on the French.¿ The broadcaster Michael Savage said, ¿We need racist stereotypes right now of our enemy in order to encourage our warriors to kill the enemy.¿ Lucas reminds us that the Guardian reported as early as 27 December 2002 that the CIA was using torture at the Bagram air base, and, on 7 March 2003, that US forces had beaten Afghan prisoners to death. Christopher ¿I¿d vote for Bush¿ Hitchens said that the war ¿will be greeted by the majority of the Iraqi people as an emancipation.¿ On the occupation, a State Department official observed, ¿the bottom line is we control the purse strings, the appointments, and anything else of political value.¿ Lucas quotes Edward Said, ¿Demonisation of the Other is not a sufficient basis for any kind of decent politics, certainly not now when the roots of terror in injustice can be addressed, and the terrorists isolated, deterred, or put out of business.¿ That one sentence contains more sense about how to fight Al Qa¿ida than all the Bush and Blair lexicon of lies. We must right injustices, especially the Israeli denial of sovereignty to the Palestinian people (against the disgusting lie that attacking Iraq could bring peace between Israel and Palestine); and we must isolate, deter or kill Al Qa¿ida¿s leaders. We need to do both. We can fight for justice, without supporting terror, and we can oppose terror, without supporting the US empire - to deny this is to accept Bush¿s own logic.

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