Final Animal Farm

Is it more important to have a strong ideology, or a strong leader for revolution to occur? What tactics do leaders use to convince others of their ideologies?

In every revolution, a strong ideology trumps a strong leader. Ideologies hold a revolution together; they are the backbone. In order to band people, or animals, together, there must be a powerful reason to fight, a source of injustice. A leader, on its own, is incapable of fabricating a motive strong enough to convince citizens to uproot their lives- the cause needs to affect them personally. In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the leaders, “the pigs, [have] great difficulty” convincing the animals to fight for ‘Animalism’ (pg 6). The animals bring up many doubts and questions as they lack a personal need for the rebellion. Until, the animals begin to experience mistreatment from their human owner, Mr.Jones. After many days with the “fields […] full of weeds […] and the animals […] underfed,” anger begins to sprout, and the animals develop a want to fight (pg 6). This personal mistreatment sparked their first major step in the rebellion, in a way the leaders couldn’t dream of doing; it caused a “sudden uprising of creatures,” with the animals driving away the superior humans (pg 6). All leaders use the ideology to convince others to follow them. They inspire others by pointing out the mistreatment and providing a solution. With strong ideologies like ‘Animalism,’ leaders naturally arise. In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the first leader is Major and then it transfers to the other pigs. In the fight for the 19thAmendment giving women the right to vote, dozens of different leaders arose throughout the revolution (some including Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and many more). In all of these cases, the citizens banding together over an ideology naturally evokes leaders, proving the first and most essential step is common motive. Overall, we see that the ideology holds the revolution together and inspires the fighters.

When, if ever, is use of force or manipulation justified? What are the long-term benefits and detriments of these actions?

The justification of manipulation has many layers. In essence, manipulation is morally incorrect, however, the personal benefits appeal greatly to a leader. When a leader manipulates the members of a rebellion, they often assume a Hobbes-like point of view. Thomas Hobbes was a philosopher that believed that every person needed strict rules and a dictating leader to stay in line, or else they would destroy themselves. This mindset can drive leaders to lie, control, and manipulate their people. In Animal Farm, Napolean, the pig leader, or more accurately, dictator, uses constant manipulation for his personal benefit and ease. He keeps everyone in line by constantly feeding them lies and generating fear. The animals “lives [are] hard and […] not all of their hopes  [are being] fulfilled,” but still, Napolean manipulates them into following him (p. 39). However, the downsides to manipulation are equally influential. Aside from the obvious fact that manipulation and force of followers is not ethical, the aftermath of manipulation must be assessed. If the people or followers discover the lies and manipulation being told to them, an uprising could occur and destruction will follow. The leader will find themself in an even bigger mess. For example, Hitler manipulated the people into following his ideals and beliefs. In the end, an uprising occurred and it ended in his destruction and many deaths. Overall, if looking through an ethical perspective, manipulation is hardly ever justified- but it is effective in making followers stay in line. At times, manipulation may be needed to control chaos, but it is up to personal discretion to evaluate the situation.

In your opinion, was the revolution successful? Were there any other options available to bring about the animals’ desired change? If so, what might have been done? If not, why was revolution inevitable?

In my opinion, the revolution was far from successful. The animals originally decide to rebel for an easier life; and instead, “[work] longer hours and [get] fed no better than they had in Jones’s day” (p. 27). Animals were still slaughtered and freedom did not exist. They abandoned almost all of their original rules and the purpose of their revolution. I believe, all this happened because of their leader, Napolean. Napolean’s thirst for power drove the revolution to the ground. The animals blindly followed him, and not because they were unintelligent, but because they so deeply desired to believe everything was all right. The animals couldn’t bear to think that all their efforts were for a corrupt leader. If the animals had followed their gut and rebelled against Napolean, or Snowball had remained their leader, the revolution would have been drastically different, and potentially, more successful. Despite the lack of success this revolution brought, it was inevitable. When people, or animals, are mistreated, they are bound to rise up and protest. For example, King Charles I was executed because of his lack of listening to the people. The citizens got fed up, and rebelled. Overall, this revolution was immensely unsuccessful.

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