Sometimes kids just put everything into a better perspective, and that's exactly what the 14-year-old home schooled child who plunked down this document on her father's desk did. He suggested she read George Orwell's Animal Farm, telling her it was a parable about how "governments rise to power and how that power can be abused." Turns out she agreed, and gave us this lucid critique. Let's hope she tackles 1984 next!
1. "Since the tragedy of 9/11, many bombings and shootings are labeled as terrorist attacks without adequate reasoning."
Coming from a child who would have been less than 3-years-old when 9/11 happened, this is a salient point. She ties it into how the farm chose NSA leaker Edward Snowball as the scapegoat, even though the problems weren't his fault. She acknowledges the tragedies, but correctly points out that the label of terrorism has been grossly misused.
2. "Protesters are given bad reputations and accused of being 'un-American'"
Here she draws the parallel of the pigs that question the great leader, Napoleon, and how not fitting in with the community are washed away through repetition of propaganda. Tying back to her earlier point of 9/11, she provides a fitting example of how, no matter what side of the aisle you are on, you can be un-American if you aren't with the majority. Unfortunately, name-calling isn't what brings us together, just like it pushed out all the four-legged creatures on the farm. Denying the ability to rebel against the majority is wholly un-American.
3. "Disputes such as those with Korea and Iran are caused by America's own actions"
Relying on her knowledge of history, our reviewer correctly points all the way back to the fallout of WWII, which drove us into the Korean War as well as continued the Western division of the Middle East. We continued our interventions in Iran for decades, and are still dealing with the fact that we have consistently tried to dispose their leaders, much like we have done with Syria. She correctly likens this to Napoleon refusing to be responsible for his decisions, instead relying on Squealer to set the record straight, much like any White House Press Secretary.
4. "As America occupies other countries, we become more and more like the very terrorists and conquers we sought to eradicate. Not only to foreign countries, but to American citizens as well."
Self-reflection becomes more difficult after years of denying it. As the federal government has beefed up the military security state, the freedoms of Americans have been eroded time and time again. Things like the PATRIOT Act, the FISA courts, show government's disregard of the very things that make us Americans: the freedoms enshrined in the Constitution. We live in a world where America is the largest arms dealer in the world, has the highest percentage of prisoners in the world, and spies on own citizens in ways we are only beginning to comprehend. She easily ties this to the pigs' continued evolution to wards human nature.
Despite its fictional nature, Animal Farm and most of Orwell's work will continue to be an applicable critique of any government. The injustices against citizens in Russia, the inspiration for the book, have only continued. Unfortunately, America has slowly crept into a world where the lines are blurred between the society we live in, and the society that government wants us to believe we live in. These truths are timeless, and it's good to see a 14-year-old with such a great grasp on abuses of power. Let's hope there are more kids like her out there who will make a difference.
Here's her entire critique:
Images via Imgur.