These quotes from Orwell on Truth, a collection of his fiction and non-fiction on this elusive subject, bring his much needed voice of reason to today's post-truth world
’You are free to be a drunkard, an idler, a coward, a backbiter, a fornicator; but you are not free to think for yourself.’
’Intellectual honesty is a crime in any totalitarian country; but even in England it is not exactly profitable to speak and write the truth.’
‘In England such concepts as justice, liberty and objective truth are still believed in. They may be illusions, but they are very powerful illusions.’
‘If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.’
‘The imagination, like certain wild animals, will not breed in captivity.’
'Political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question begging and sheer cloudy vagueness.’
‘Political language – and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists – is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.’
‘No book is genuinely free from political bias.’
‘Who controls the past,’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.’
‘Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought.’
‘Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four.’
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'Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two equals four. If that is granted, all else follows.'
This selection of George Orwell’s writing, from both his novels and non-fiction, gathers together his thoughts on the subject of truth. It ranges from discussion of personal honesty and morality, to freedom of speech and political propaganda. Orwell’s unique clarity of thought and illuminating scepticism provide the perfect defence against our post-truth world of fake news and confusion.
'The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.'
Includes an introduction by Alan Johnson and passages from Burmese Days, The Road to Wigan Pier, Coming Up for Air, The Lion and the Unicorn, Animal Farm, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Orwell’s letters, war-time diary, criticism and essays including ‘Fascism and Democracy’, ‘Culture and Democracy’, ‘Looking Back on the Spanish War’, ‘As I Please’, ‘Notes on Nationalism’, ‘The Prevention of Literature’, ‘Politics and the English Language’ and ‘Why I Write’.