Relentlessly bleak in his 1984, Orwell demonstrated that he, like Marx, didn’t quite get it. Yes, every now and then a devil in human form appears to commit acts of monstrous evil, and in the twentieth century there were several of them, and they spread their ideological contamination through diabolical texts. But satanic majesties are rare; most of the time we have to put up with small demons, bumptious idiots, cruel cretins. Pace Orwell, the sorry truth for our species is this: “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a clown shoe stamping on a human face—forever.”

— Daniel Kalder, The Infernal Library: On Dictators, the Books They Wrote, and Other Catastrophes of Literacy