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George Orwell on Pacifism, 1942

I originally found this letter on this site, where it was available for many years. After Christopher Hitchens and others quoted from it, the site became unavailable. One can only speculate why… Clark Baker (2 May 2009)

http://www.orwell.ru/library/articles/pacifism/english/e_patw

Orwell writing about Pacifism during WWII, 1942:

Pacifism is objectively pro−Fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side you automatically help that of the other. Nor is there any real way of remaining outside such a war as the present one. In practice, “he that is not with me is against me”. The idea that you can somehow remain aloof from and superior to the struggle, while living on food which British sailors have to risk their lives to bring you, is a bourgeois illusion bred of money and security.
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Mr Savage remarks that according to this type of reasoning, a German or Japanese pacifist would be objectively pro−British. But of course he would be! That is why pacifist activities are not permitted in those countries (in both of them the penalty is, or can be, beheading) while both the Germans and the Japanese do all they can to encourage the spread of pacifism in British and American territories. The Germans even run a spurious freedom station which serves out pacifist propaganda indistinguishable from that of the P.P.U. They would stimulate pacifism in Russia as well if they could, but in that case they have tougher babies to deal with. In so far as it takes effect at all, pacifist propaganda can only be effective against those countries where a certain amount of freedom of speech is still permitted; in other words it is helpful to totalitarianism.

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