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MSNBC Host Suggests Orwell’s Anti-Communist Novel ‘Animal Farm’ Is A Tale Of Capitalist Greed’

Posted by Austin Petersen • 30 Apr 2014

By Brendan Bordelon

art by Ralph Steadman

MSNBC host Krystal Ball suggested Tuesday that George Orwell’s famously anti-communist novel “Animal Farm” is an allegory for capitalism run amok — immediately setting the hair of literature professors across the country on fire.

Ball spoke on MSNBC’s “The Cycle” about the recent release of French economist Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” which argues capitalism is intrinsically unfair and advocates a global wealth tax to level the playing field.

Ball noted that Piketty’s claims have been met with some criticism, which she felt was undeserved. “Piketty has predictably gotten the full Cold War treatment,” she claimed. “The National Review calls his book ‘soft Marxism,’ and Lord only knows what they’re saying at less responsible outlets or (ugh) the comments section.”

“Even the august and ostensibly economically literate Wall Street Journal tells him to read ‘Animal Farm,’” she noted. “Animal Farm? Hmm. Isn’t that Orwell’s political parable of farm animals where a bunch of pigs hog up all the economic resources, tell the other animals they need all the food because they’re the makers and then scare up the prospect of a phony bogeyman every time their greed is challenged? Sounds familiar.”


In the “Animal Farm” written by renowned British political writer George Orwell in 1945 — not the “Animal Farm” that exists in Krystal Ball’s head — a group of farm animals overthrow their human owner and declare “All animals are equal.” Food is evenly distributed and political decisions are made by the community.

But a group of pigs immediately sets about using the politics of equality to accumulate power, exhorting the most powerful and successful workers to toil for the common good while they bask in the fruits of that labor. At the end the pigs become indistinguishable from their former masters, and their farm’s charter is amended to “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

Leaving aside the obvious historical parallels between Animal Farm and the Soviet Union, the inescapable message is that government-enforced equality inevitably leads to oppression and further inequality, as fallible humans (or pigs) use powerful enforcement tools for their own personal gain.

But even if that isn’t obvious from the novel itself, Orwell makes it very clear who he’s targeting in the novel – telling a friend Animal Farm was his novel “against Stalin.”

That would be former Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, the well-known proponent of ruthless free market capitalism who slashed taxes for the rich, allowing business owners to propel themselves to disgusting new heights of hedonism on the backs of their non-unionized workers.





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  • doubting_rich

    Dumb as a brick. I think I was about 12 when I read Animal Farm, and I still remember it nearly 30 years later.

  • Justin Martin

    Ugh, her attitude annoys the crap out of me.

    Arrogance is so ugly, especially when it comes from someone who is reading from a script, and gets the info wrong.

  • HiPlainsDrifter

    I’d still do her…she’s hot!

  • Alexander T.

    Orwell was a democratic socialist, but there’s no denying that “Animal Farm” was an indictment of Soviet Communism. If somebody truly believes that it’s a condemnation of capitalism run amok, then they either haven’t read the book or enjoy pretending to have read classic novels in order to sound less ignorant.

    • rvastar

      …or they’re involved in peddling outright dishonest propaganda in an effort to provide cover for the glaring failings of their political ideology.

      • Alexander T.

        That, too.

  • Kenneth James Abbott

    The sad thing is, “Animal Farm” was really a whitewash of Russian Communism.

    In the Russian Revolution as told through “Animal Farm”s allegory, Marx’ ideas were immediately popular with everyone, and the people unanimously decided to enact socialism and put the Bolsheviks in charge. Everything was fine until the wrong person took charge, and soon it was exactly as bad as free countries.

    Each statement of that story is false, but it fits the “communism only failed because the wrong people were in charge” ideology of the Left.

    • rvastar

      Exactly. The vast majority of the Russian populace was no more interested in the implementation of Marxist policies than the vast majority of the American populace is today; however, the Russians stood by and allowed a small number of Marxist revolutionaries to seize power…and, well…we all know how that turned out.

      And the parallels with what’s happening today are truly frightening. The only difference is that today’s Marxists like Obama and his ilk have learned from history – namely, that the outright seizing of power is problematic because it becomes very difficult to blame others for the inevitable real-world failings of their redistributionist delusions. They’ve learned that it’s much better to allow the APPEARANCE of capitalism and private ownership…that way, you always have someone to throw your red herrings at. Today’s Marxists have abandoned outright state ownership of the means of production and embraced state CONTROL of the means of production through regulation and taxation in order to direct economic forces in a manner that they feel best suits “the state”.

      IOW: they’ve embraced fascism.

      • PattyFromTexas

        “Today’s Marxists have abandoned outright state ownership of the means of
        production and embraced state CONTROL of the means of production
        through regulation and taxation in order to direct economic forces in a
        manner that they feel best suits “the state”.”
        ^^Thank you for describing this phenomena in such an impeccably, concise statement.

        • rvastar

          You’re welcome, Patty.

  • William “Bill” McGill

    Her name isn’t really really “Krystal Ball”, is it? If it is, pick a stage name, toots. And if not, pick a better stage name.

  • Kenneth James Abbott

    I was especially amused at how she tosses out childish insults and then tells us to ‘stick to the facts’.

    Tell you what–we’ll drop the Cold War insults if you drop the Elementary School insults.

  • Navid Dickles

    I thought it was more of an allegory about the dangers of statism. Whether marxist communism or our current system of corporate welfare statism, the end result is the same. A very few hold the majority of resources and restrict access to/manipulate markets to the benefit of themselves. Central economic planning is the bogeyman, whether it comes in the form of expanded regulation in a pseudo-capitalist state or violent marxist revolution makes little difference in the end.

  • Francis44

    Krystal Ball is a total, flipping moron. Moron. Where do they get those illiterate dolts? I suppose she’s a notch above Ronan Farrow.

  • Jason Chrisite

    Anyone else noticing the concerted media push toward Communism, lately?

  • Michael Lee Kunschner

    Tax rates do not equal tax revenue. It’s funny, because that argument actually supports the low/no tax position on economic growth. This is probably my favourite argument to flip.

  • vasecthomas

    People think the USSR is state capitalism and would describe the USSR in a way similar to this Krystal Clear person did with Animal Farm.

  • dinkster

    She knows full well that what she said was an abject lie. There is no responsibility left in this shock jock style of political news reporting.

  • craiglivingstone

    Clearly, she never read nor comprehended the book or perhaps has read any books. She probably thinks that Das Kapital is about crony capitalism. What a dolt!

  • Pat Patterson

    The real pigs are the libs and demonuts.

  • seanmart

    Illustration by Ralph Steadman

  • Ted Schoenling

    wow.. you can’t fix stupid.