In Animal Farm, what insights does the writer's "moral of the story" offer us about issues we face today?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that the "moral of the story" in Orwell's work is about how human beings "get the government they deserve."  This might be a bit simplistic, and a bit harsh, but at the end of the story, I think that Orwell's main moral is that the animals demonstrated far too much trust in the leadership of the pigs and too little in their own collective strength.  The same sensibilities that enabled the animals to overthrow Jones were lacking in how they dealt with Napoleon's abuses of power.  Orwell is illuminating the idea that social orders must constantly engage and critique their political structures and the leadership that occupy them.  The animals are confined to their own fate with the idea of "Napoleon is always right" and "I will work harder." Boxer becomes the epitome of the body politic that blindly trusts their leaders.  The other animals follow this pattern.  At opportunity after opportunity when it becomes evident that the leadership of the pigs is disempowering the other animals, few collectively rise to the occasion and protest with dissent.  Certainly, the brutality of the pig leadership goes very far in this.  Yet, the moral of the story to me is that politics is power and human beings can never hope to find happiness if they relinquish this power.  Perhaps, the only power that human beings have left is that of solidarity and resistance, or being armed with the mentality that "there's more of us than them."  This is applicable to our own setting.  Consider the "Arab Spring" uprisings in the Arab World and the worldwide success of the "Occupy" movement as proof that individuals can exert power even in the most powerless of conditions.  Accordingly, the animals in Orwell's work fail to recognize their own power and because of this, their suffering increases manifold.  To this end, the moral of the story is that politics is power and all political activity has power.  The recognition of this and the willingness to assert it at each moment to operate as a check on government authority is the only hope for human beings in the modern setting.