Edmund Burke, a famous orator of the 18thcentury, once said,
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
This is a truth that is relative to the happenings of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Those who stand by, waiting for the actions of another to attempt to put a stop to the evil deeds of others, are nothing more than disgraceful cowards. Napoleon, the antagonist of Animal Farm, took advantage of this fact, and that is why the common animals are to blame for their circumstances. They are to blame because they were not a part of the decision making process, they were not brave, and they were not willing to take action.
When the common animals of animal farm first rebelled, they left their plan- making and all other decisions up to one type of animal, or the pigs, to be more specific. This was their first mistake: leaving all of the decision-making up to one class of beings. Just a simple glance through history will show the folly of complete submission to a class of anything but the one true God. Kings, Queens, and any type of monarch that is made up of fallen creatures, is destined to fail because humans are vulnerable to corruption. Lord Acton wisely said,
Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
This is why America’s form of government works so well: it balances the power to many and makes sure that no one person is all-powerful. The common animals, however, did not adhere to this wisdom and left everything up to the pigs. This is the beginning of the loss of freedom.
Even when the commoners give all of the power to the elite few, there is still hope, if there is bravery. The bravery of the commoners determines what they do as a result of their oppressed state. As another Founding Father, Samuel Adams, once said,
It does not take a majority to prevail… but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.
There cannot be truer words on this subject. Fortunately for the common animals on the farm, they were the majority! Unfortunately for the pigs, they were nothing else. Their lack of bravery kept them from having the success that the patriotic Americans did.
Since they were short of bravery, the commoners of the farm were not willing to take any action against they tyranny of the elite class of pigs. Edmund Burke said,
Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.
This statement goes against what some of the common animals may have thought. All it takes is one match to start a fire; likewise, it only takes one person to stand for liberty. Had one of them done this, they would have found one of two things: the first, others would unite to stand for their freedom, or, the second, others would be too afraid until that one animal was harmed, which would spark rage in the hearts of the other animals. Even if neither of these happened, the one who would stand would know that he did the right thing. I Peter 3:14 says,
Even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.
The only right thing to do is the right thing with no exceptions. This is why the common animals ultimately failed in their quest for freedom: they were too afraid to take action against the pigs.
If only the commoners of the farm adhered to the advice given by the many great heroes of history and victors of their circumstances. Their not partaking in the decision making process, their lack of bravery, and their unwillingness to take action all ended in their ultimate doom. Patrick Henry famously stated his intention to stand for his liberty. He said,
Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
This is the thinking for one’s self, full capacity of bravery, and intent for action that all freedom fighters require to be effective. Those who lack these are those who are to blame for the circumstances around them.