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In “1984,” George Orwell feared that Big Brother would use fear and force to gain control of society. In “Brave New World,” Aldous Huxley feared that force would not be necessary, and that government could gain control of the population by doing everything for them. The people wouldn’t think that they were oppressed, because they had lost interest in thinking for themselves. As Neil Postman put it in his foreword to “Amusing Ourselves to Death” (emphasis mine):
What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.
For decades, the American left has been using Huxley’s “Brave New World” not as a form of literature, but rather as an instruction manual for gaining control of a previously free society. And it has been working just as well as Huxley feared. This is why every Democrat since FDR has fought against means-testing for Social Security – they want us all on the take. Just let government take care of everything. As George W. Bush said, “When someone is hurting, government has to act.” Once government takes responsibility for all our troubles, then we no longer need to take responsibility for ourselves. Which is nice. But Mr. Huxley knows where all this is going. And now that Democrats control the White House, Congress, and our elections, we’re starting to find out. Why are we just finding this out now? Because we didn’t listen to Mr. Huxley, who wrote “Brave New World” 90 years ago, in 1931.
The Democrat tactic of militarizing our Capitol is, in my view, a mistake. Huxley’s strategy of coddling the population into willing submission only works if they’re not scared. Huxley used Soma (a sort of relaxing sedative drug that the government handed out for free in “Brave New World”) to get everyone to relax and go with the flow. In today’s world, they would drink, take Prozac, watch Netflix, and play video games. And they would gradually lose interest in fighting the creeping oppression, which if they just relax, they won’t even notice anyway.
This only works if everyone thinks everything is ok. If something spooks them, and people start paying attention, then you move from “Brave New World” to “1984.” And nobody wants that. Not even the power-hungry leftists in charge. It’s so much easier if everyone just goes along, amusing themselves to death. Don’t do anything to give anyone the impression that the government is not their friend.
Razor wire and armed troops surrounding the Capitol gives the distinct impression that the government is not our friend.
I presume that Democrats have surrounded the Capitol with razor wire and troops to give the impression that Republicans are a dangerous threat to our society. At least, I think that’s why they’re engaging in this absurd theater.
But I really think it’s a mistake.
If the American people start to suspect something is wrong, that perhaps our government is not on our side – if the American people start to think like that, then all the Prozac and Netflix in the world won’t adequately sedate them.
Perhaps. Unless we’re so far gone, that we no longer care who’s in charge of us, as long as it’s not us. We may have reached that point. I don’t like the razor wire around the Capitol, but I would like another stimulus check, please. You’re banning authors from Clarence Thomas to Dr. Seuss? Yeah, well, just cancel my student debt and we’ll call it even. Maybe we’ve already lost the ability to think, and to care. I’m rewatching all six seasons of Bosch right now.
But again, I think the Democrats are making a tactical error by presenting such an overtly hostile front to those that they are trying to reassure into compliance. Why create conflict, when your Soma strategy was working so well?
When I see the razor wire and the troops around the Capitol, my first thought is not that the Democrats are hostile – my first thought is that the Democrats are incompetent. This is a mistake.
Or, maybe, I just hope it’s a mistake.
What do you think?Published in