Mark Twain Greed for Power, and Cruelty: Making Followers In Animal Farm, George Orwell demonstrates the danger of unquestioning acceptance of ideas and actions that are “supposed to represent” a better way of life. Throughout the book there are many examples of hatred and evil undermining what sounds like a great utopia when introduced, but not when they are lived. The ideas are very familiar because they are based on those that drove the Russian Revolution, and what went wrong with it. The difference between a nice Utopian idea and what goes wrong in real life has to do with human nature. Greed is real, in that it drives people to do things.
There is greed for power, greed for food, and greed for whatever a greedy person might want. While not everyone is greedy, some people are very much so. The very greedy people make life difficult for the rest of us. This is not such a big problem in democracies, which are constructed to balance any action with the ideas of many groups and rights. In a dictatorship, like the Soviet Union, a person like Stalin can determine every key aspect of most individuals’ lives.
The more violent a Stalin is, the more power a Stalin has; and the farther from Utopia are the lives of the common people. Napoleon’s ideas and actions in Animal Farm were similar to those first of Lenin and later of Stalin during the development of the Soviet Union, which resulted in the deaths and terror that deeply affected the lives of tens of millions of Soviet citizens. For example, Napoleon had made other high-status animals confess to things they had never committed. When the eggs of the three hens were crushed really by Napoleon’s dog, they were forced to confess, ” .. Snowball had appeared to them in a dream and incited them to disobey Napoleon’s orders” (93). The dogs were then murdered, making Napoleon the only ruler. Even though Napoleon clearly killed the hens’ eggs, they still confessed to something that was untrue, which made Napoleon’s “appearance” better to those who had no direct knowledge of the incident.
Joseph Stalin had appointed government officials, controlling their income, what they said, and often their death. Soon he made them confess to things that were untrue, such as being spies. Government officials were exiled, thrown in jail, or killed. Soon Stalin was the one, true ruler of Russia. The system of making supporters and then destroying them was also dangerous for the common people, who often died or lived in terror because of their dictator’s unchecked power.
This system was guaranteed to make the lower animals in Animal Farm and Soviet citizens hate their single ruler. It also made them so fearful that they were powerless to stop him from ruining their lives. The survival of each person and family depended on appearing to perfectly support this terrible system, not replace it. A second example is by telling nice sounding lies, dictators can become more secure by increasing cruelty. Napoleon’s idea of keeping all the apples and milk for himself and other high-status animals won him the backing of ruthless supporters.
This was acceptable because he cleverly said, “Never mind the milk comrades .. The harvest is more important,” (44). He then made food hard to get for the lower animals, starving many of them, ” .. the production of every class of foodstuff had increased by two hundred per cent, three hundred per cent or five hundred per cent, as the case might be,” (99). Stalin had taken over all the farms in his country, reserving much of the wheat and other crops for high government officials. Millions of Soviet citizens died of starvation because of Stalin’s ideas.
The pigs of Animal Farm and government officials in the Soviet Union took the food made by those of lower status, increasing their immediate need to appear to support bad leaders. Starvation proved Napoleon’s and Stalin’s ideas to be dangerous, yet made them more powerful, which satisfied their greed. A third example had such cruelty, when combined with propaganda and silencing those who interfere with official stories makes dictators even more secure. Napoleon purging and killing Snowball. Snowball created commandments that said all animals were equal, and helped to get the animals to be happy and trust each other. He created the idea of making a windmill.
Napoleon wanted all the credit so he sent dogs to kill Snowball; ” .. nine enormous dogs wearing brass-studded collars came bounding into the barn. They dashed straight for Snowball .. he was out of the door and they were after him,” (67). Once Snowball was pushed out of Animal Farm, everything changed, including the commandments.
In the end, his writing was corrupted into, “All Animals are created equal, but some animals are more equal than others,” (133). Stalin exiled Trotsky and later killed him. Trotsky tried to create a Utopian society, but when he was exiled, Stalin enforced rules that no one else could veto. The dictator then stood unchallenged both in his cruelty and power. The animals of the farm firmly believed Napoleon was a great ruler regardless of the suffering they endured due to their unquestioning acceptance of ideas. For example, no one noticed when Snowball’s idea was English Essays.