A.J. Rice: Trump’s Road to Wigan Pier

Among the great ironies of Western literature is the fact that one of the greatest critics of authoritarian socialism was himself, in fact, a socialist.

George Orwell wrote Animal Farm in 1945 as a thinly veiled critique of the horrors of Soviet Russia, especially Joseph Stalin. Three years later, he wrote 1984, his best-known work, about an even more terrifying, albeit fictitious, Great Britain whose ruling oligarchy practices INGSOC, or English authoritarian socialism.

Like many well-intended socialists, Orwell failed to learn the lessons he taught so well to so many others: Socialism is necessarily authoritarian and collectivism is never voluntary. You can’t make omelets without breaking eggs—or people, spirits, or nations. It is a lesson that urgently needs relearning today—before it must be learned the hard way—especially since so many of America’s youth are being lured by the siren song of socialism.

Interestingly, Orwell found himself in trouble with the socialist elite of his time because of his book The Road to Wigan Pier, a work meant to catalog the difficulties of the blue-collar English working class. In Wigan Pier, Orwell made the impolitic point that the socialistic leadership was not only far from being of the working class itself, it also seemed to practically ooze contempt for the working class. Wigan Pier is an area around the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in Wigan, located in the greater Manchester, England region.

Orwell, who was himself of solidly bourgeois origins, picked up quickly on the duplicitous, self-interested motives of the pretended protectors of the proletariat. He saw their contempt and their desire to control the working class.

Orwell would have understood immediately what Hillary meant when she let slip her infamous, and very honest, comment about Trump’s “deplorables.” And, arguably, Orwell might have considered President Donald Trump the truer friend of those “deplorables.”

Unlike the socialists of Orwell’s time, and, indeed, our own, the president has done tangible things to improve the fortunes (and independence) of the working class, as opposed to increasing the dependence of the working class on the state.

The jobless rate is at a 50-year low; more Americans are earning a paycheck, as opposed to receiving a government check. The former not only puts more money into the worker’s pocket, it puts his own money into his pocket, which, in turn, provides dignity to workers—something socialists often talk about but never actually do. Instead, they degrade the working class and enslave them in a cycle of poverty.

In fact, it is arguable that the sort of bondage prescribed by chattel slavers is, at least in some sense, not as bad as the sort of slavery practiced by socialists, who want to control other human beings like livestock, but without the open stigma of actually putting physical chains on them.

In Wigan Pier, Orwell describes a hypothetical forced moving of coal miners by the government into “public housing.” On the surface, the public housing appears to be superior to the bug-infested, overcrowded rooms many of the miners had been renting. And, in many respects, the new housing units are superiors, at least in terms of their physical integrity and amenities. The roofs don’t leak, for instance, and there is electricity and hot and cold running water.

But the “housing” is bleak, homogenized, and regimented. The tenants are allowed very little license to do anything except live in the units under strict supervision. Creativity is forbidden, as is liberty. Their dignity is diminished at every turn.

Orwell’s honest description and observation that socialists, “while theoretically pining for a classless society[,] cling like glue to their miserable fragments of social prestige,” caused such a ruckus among his bourgeois socialist peers that he initially had trouble getting Wiggan Pier published. And once it was, he became the target of abuse. The shells fired his way from within his own camp. Never forget it’s the first guy through the breech that takes all the bullets.

The same fire is directed today at any defender of the working class who expresses even a shred of support for the president, despite the fact Trump’s policies have been a boon for working Americans.

For all his sympathetic speechifying, Barack Obama did very little to help working Americans. Instead, he focused his efforts on getting more Americans on the government dole. He even boorishly quipped that his shovel-ready jobs were not as shovel-ready as expected. Donald Trump is restoring the manufacturing jobs that the “concerned” Obama shrugged off.

Even after Trump’s free-market policies have proven to be a success, the allegedly “caring” socialists of our time seek to increase the tax burden on working Americans by repealing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which doubled the average worker’s standard deduction and doubled the child tax credit for those with children.

The reason for this is pretty simple, although they won’t openly admit it: The less workers depend on government, the less need they have for socialism. This is why the Left is trying so hard to suffocate the working class with programs like the “Green New Deal,” which would obliterate America’s industrial sector. In their brave new world, socialists like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will decide what is best for all workers, as well as society at large. Ultimately, you will surrender your individual identity to benefit the collective.

Like Orwell once said, “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stomping on the human face, forever.”

A.J. Rice is CEO of Publius PR. In his media career, he has produced or promoted Laura Ingraham, Judge Jeanine Pirro, Monica Crowley, Charles Krauthammer, Steve Hilton, Victor Davis Hanson, Anthony Scaramucci, Walter E. Williams, and many others. Find out more at publiuspr.com.    

PHOTO: Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

A.J. Rice

A.J. Rice is CEO of Publius PR. In his media career, he has produced or promoted Laura Ingraham, Judge Jeanine Pirro, Monica Crowley, Charles Krauthammer, Steve Hilton, Victor Davis Hanson, Anthony Scaramucci, Walter E. Williams, and many others. Find out more at publiuspr.com.
A.J. Rice

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