Sunday, September 26, 2010

Q&A: What is my favorite book?

Q&A time!

Q: What is your favorite book?

A: This might be a surprise, but my favorite book is George Orwell's Animal Farm. Why would I call such a dreary and depressing book as my favorite? It's because it has such an important warning for our time, and for all times, about how important it is to be vigilant against corrupt leadership. The pigs took power through intimidation, manipulation, and propaganda, but critical figures in the story could have stopped the pigs' rise to power if they wanted to.

One was Boxer the horse, who was too ready to believe in the pigs' stories of their being out for the common good of the animals on the farm. The other was Benjamin the donkey, who was probably the most intelligent animal on the farm and who knew better than to believe the pigs' stories, but was too busy being bitter. So this story is not just about the success of the pigs' efforts to take over, but also the failure of the others to stop them.

For example, what if Benjamin had convinced Boxer to resist the propaganda of the pigs? How would things have changed? Both of them were strong enough to fight off the dogs that served as "muscle" for the pigs, and then what could have the pigs done? Basically the moral is Edmund Burke's quote: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." It's a lesson that we still need to learn today.

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