- Birthday, Books, Politics, Quotes, Reading, Writing

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.”

Happy birthday, George Orwell! Here are some quotes from the writer.


“The imagination, like certain wild animals, will not breed in captivity.”


“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”


“The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it.”


“Perhaps a man really dies when his brain stops, when he loses the power to take in a new idea.”


“Nevertheless, looking at the world as a whole, the drift for many decades has been not towards anarchy but towards the reimposition of slavery.”


“It is not possible for any thinking person to live in such a society as our own without wanting to change it.”


“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”


“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation even among people who should and do know better.”


“Political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question begging, and sheer cloudy vagueness.”


“War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.”


“All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia.”


“Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals.”


“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims, but accomplices.”


“War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent.”


“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”


“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.”


  • John Madera is the author of Nervosities (Anti-Oedipus Press, 2024). His other fiction is published in Conjunctions, Salt Hill, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His nonfiction is published in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, New York State Council on the Arts awardee John Madera lives in New York City, Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.

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