To Orwell Today,

Could you tell me the citation for "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act"? The quote is all over the internet but no body bothers to cite anything anymore.


Greetings Sarah,

I think that quote has received wide distribution because it is something Michael Moore cited in his Farenheit 9/11 movie as being a George Orwell quote.

When I first heard the quote ascribed to Orwell (by people supporting the Moore movie) I didn't (and still don't) recognize it but thought it sounded familiar to something Orwell said in "1984" in Part Two, Chapter 2 and which I excerpt in theme 26.Julia and Rebellion:

"...Not merely the love of one person but the animal instinct, the simple undifferentiated desire; that was the force that would tear the Party to pieces....Their embrace had been a battle, the climax a victory. It was a blow struck against the Party. It was a political act..."

Often people will say something is an Orwell quote (when it isn't) in order to give themselves credibility in the eyes of people who know that Orwell has great credibility, even though they aren't familiar with his works. Or sometimes people will use an inferior Orwell quote taken out of context (afterall he said a million things in essays and articles) to discredit Orwell by associating him with that quote and themselves.

If you want to know Orwell's thoughts on telling the truth being a revolutionary act read THE PREVENTION OF LITERATURE and BRITISH PRESS CIRCUS DOGS which contain many quotable expressions, but not the one in question.

All the best,
Jackie Jura

STUPID WHITE MEN NOT (review of Michael Moore's bestselling book "Stupid White Men")

Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~