Orwell’s “In Front of Your Nose”

An excerpt from the master’s essay “In Front of Your Nose”:

“To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle. One thing that helps toward it is to keep a diary, or, at any rate, to keep some kind of record of one’s opinions about important events. Otherwise, when some particularly absurd belief is exploded by events, one may simply forget that one ever held it. Political predictions are usually wrong. But even when one makes a correct one, to discover why one was right can be very illuminating. In general, one is only right when either wish or fear coincides with reality. If one recognizes this, one cannot, of course, get rid of one’s subjective feelings, but one can to some extent insulate them from one’s thinking and make predictions cold-bloodedly, by the book of arithmetic. In private life most people are fairly realistic. When one is making out one’s weekly budget, two and two invariably make four. Politics, on the other hand, is a sort of sub-atomic or non-Euclidean word where it is quite easy for the part to be greater than the whole or for two objects to be in the same place simultaneously. Hence the contradictions and absurdities I have chronicled above, all finally traceable to a secret belief that one’s political opinions, unlike the weekly budget, will not have to be tested against solid reality.”

Looking back through my old blog posts here, it’s clear that those times where my predictions were wrong it was because I naively miscalculated the Democratic Party’s ability to do anything correctly.  In short, they are not a trustworthy vessel for our wishes.  They are screwups, incapable of learning anything.  They keep playing the game by the old rules and they refuse to learn the new ones. Their failure is a tragedy.

And those times when my predictions were right, it was when I was driven by my fear of what lows Corporate Democrats and the Republicans would sink.  My deeply cynical opinion of the mendacity and destructive power of Right Wing is nearly never wrong.

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