Re: Orwell

by John O’Sullivan

Jonah, yes, I was too dismissive when I said Orwell’s essay wasn’t “devoid of interest” when I should have said it was full of interest but wrong on a key point. I argued that he was talking about power-worship rather than nationalism, you about identity politics, and if he were in this debate I suspect that Ken Minogue would add he was indicting ideology. (I don’t know if you came across Minogue’s Alien Powers in your research, but it’s a sort of General Theory of ideology.) All these ideas are obviously connected in various ways.

And one of my reasons for disliking all of them is that they are an attempt to replace relatively natural and taken-for-granted loyalties with intellectual constructs. Of course, it’s not as simple as that but . . . etc.

I’m looking forward to your book (which I will read with pleasure when I have got through the pain of writing mine.)