In the same essay Orwell has an answer for my complaint. "The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude." Fair enough, but also exhausting. We have many, many writers today eager to stress that point. I mean, God forbid you write about the moon or a flower.
Despite my resistance to these claims, Orwell is probably right. The political purpose that is nearly always present in his books and essays gives his work moral force, but it does not make his views correct, nor is it the aspect that makes his writing stand out from the other sincere and humane political tracts of his time. Before all else, Orwell is a fantastic stylist. He has a casual, almost conversational tone that belies a confidence and an authority that nearly no writer can match. He is concise, direct, but never dull. To take one example of his many talents, he is one of the finest lead writers in English. Here are a handful of classic opening lines: