Left or right doesn’t always equal right or wrong.
Despite their opposing political views, George Orwell and Winston Churchill agreed on a lot of points. In fact, the two have a surprising amount in common, according to journalist Tom Ricks.
In an interview with NPR, the author of Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom, details the similarities between the British prime minister and leftist author, both major figures of their era.
“At a time not unlike today—when people were wondering whether democracy was sustainable, when a lot of people thought you needed authoritarian rule, either from the right or the left—Orwell and Churchill, from their very different perspectives, come together on a key point: We don’t have to have authoritarian government,” Ricks told NPR.
Most obviously, both men were products of war. Churchill made his career in World War I, while Orwell covering the Spanish War as a journalist. These experiences shaped their perspectives, forming their contrarian views in the years after.
Churchill is known for being a lone dissenter against appeasement for a rising Nazi Germany, but a war-weary Britain ultimately paid the price. Orwell turned against his socialist roots by writing Animal Farm, a cautionary tale.
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