George orwell on political realism and the future of Europe

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George Orwell perceived the possibility of a postwar united Europe, based on regional integration along social-democratic lines, as a means of survival in a world struggle rather than as a preamble to peace. This was the logical conclusion of his understanding of political realism: his endorsement of its assumption that violence is endemic to social life and that the force-wielding sovereign cannot be done away with. Yet Orwell also had reservations about realism. He argued that a purely realist analysis that was not normatively connected to any values outside itself would go astray because analysts would be unable to factor in their own positions and would thus lose the analytic distance from their objects of study. Orwell was thus as suspicious of a politics managed by experts as of the utopian anticipation of a violence-free world. His world-view, rooted in realist necessity while leaving room for the values of democracy and socialism, offered a vision of a postwar united Europe that fostered the spirit of solidarity and could endure the existential struggles of world politics.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Legacy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 International Society for the Study of European Ideas.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Philosophy


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