Some Are More Equal Than Others – The Orwellian “Animal Farm” on West Jones Street

Art imitates life. It’s one of the reasons why teaching great works of literature is vital in a high school education.

One title that is read and taught in many high school English I classes in North Carolina is Animal Farm.

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Animal Farm is an allegorical fable that Eric Blair (George Orwell was his pen name) uses to comment on the rise of the Soviet brand of communism and the absolute corruption that comes over those who grab power. In it animals take over a farm from their human owner, Mr. Jones, and immediately set up a utopian society in which all animals are equal. They even come up with a list of commandment for all to abide by.

They read as follows:

THE SEVEN COMMANDMENTS
1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
3. No animal shall wear clothes.
4. No animal shall sleep in a bed.
5. No animal shall drink alcohol.
6. No animal shall kill any other animal.
7. All animals are equal.

Idealistic, but human (“pig”) greed gets in the way. As a few pigs consolidate control of the farm, abuses of power occur. Think of it as redistricting of sorts. Maybe gerrymandering. Maybe even the restructuring of the judicial system to gain a certain ideological bent on most benches.

What happens throughout the book is a rewriting of the commandments. Those who retain power get to write the rules. They also get to rewrite the rules. Think of the Voter ID Act or the HB2 bill that targeted the LGBT community among other things. Think of the special sessions and the way that the last state budget was formulated and passed within committee instead of open debate.

In Animal Farm, the rules get rewritten so that those in power can get more power. Eventually toward the end of the book the seven commandments read as such:

  1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
    2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
    3. No animal shall wear clothes.
    4. No animal shall sleep in a bed – WITH SHEETS.
    5. No animal shall drink alcohol – TO EXCESS.
    6. No animal shall kill any other animal – WITHOUT CAUSE.
    7. All animals are equal – BUT SOME ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS.

These rules and “revisions” of four of those rules are made in secret and through an undemocratic process. Sound familiar?

Concentrate on that last commandment – “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

That brings to mind the very recent passage of HB514 which allows for cities to use property tax money to fund local schools. It also allows for cities and towns to establish their own charter schools with enrollment preference for their citizens using taxpayer money. It’s a a precedent for allowing for the segregating of school students.

It’s saying that some are more equal than others.

 

And speaking of pigs, or rather hogs, consider that stinking NC Farm Act. According to a recent report by Lisa Sorg of NC Policy Watch:

Among its many problematic provisionsSenate Bill 711 would immunize industrialized hog operations from virtually all nuisance lawsuits. It would also establish the outdated and noxious method of open-air waste lagoons and spray fields as the preferred method of managing millions of tons of hog manure and urine” (http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2018/06/07/nc-farm-act-fattened-with-protections-for-hog-industry-up-for-senate-vote-at-noon/).

Again. Some are just more equal than others.

But don’t worry. There’s a movie version of Animal Farm.

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Looks like that will be documented and sent to Raleigh as a video shown in class.

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