Saturday, May 20, 2006

1984 and A Brave New World, Together at Last

It is amazing how some authors from the early 20th century captured the essence of authoritarian rule with fictitious novels. The one used most in comparing today's society is 1984 by George Orwell. Another less know and so, less referenced is A Brave new World by Aldous Huxley.

With all the government easdroping, arrests (detainmnets) with no charges, "enemy combatants" and the list goes on, there is a good argument for 1984. Its blunt, in your face totalitarian rule was easy to see. It was forceful, and those who opposed where "shown the errors of their ways". However, in Brave New World it was not the axe but the carrot that kept everyone in line.

No matter what you did for a living you were taken care of. From housing, food, and even drugs, you had no real worries, almost like today's safety net, section 8, Welfare and Medicaid. Relationships were noncommittal, no kids to worry about, the State raised them. Not like real life, well, except for public day care, schools, and after school programs.

Even in the utopia of A Brave New World there were "classes". You had the administrators "Alphas", just like politicians, your Betas they where like the Bureaucrats, you had C, D, Union workers, Unskilled Labor. However, the most striking was those that refused to simulate, who did not allow the State to care for them were outcasts, barbarians, and even savages of a has been, "Pre-enlightened time". Much like the individualists of today, unless they work with the "State" and toot the progressive thinking". Anyone who even questions the "safety net" is labeled a heartless individual. Go with the flow and take your soma, man....

One ironic aspect is that by socialist standards, this world would get high marks. Yet, one of the issues you always hear is the "social classes" or unfairness of it all. In A Brave New World instead of your heritage, parents or even your own hard work setting your status, it is the random acts and functions of the State that set it.

It could be said to a certain point Republicans use 1984 as their "How to Book", but the same goes for Democrats with A Brave New World. You take aspects of these two books and you can pretty much see the mix we have.

What we need is a "How to Book" with a Laissez Faire theme. Unless someone knows of one?


Ray said...

Very nice article George.
The parallels between these two, now ancient novels and the real world we live in is shocking. The current tendency of the welfare-warfare state to deemphasize individualism , as it being incompatible with the general welfare, the increasing power of the government to act as the true moral guardians of our children, and the modern day FDA approved soma, those psychotropic drugs that they promote to deal with overactive school children and those paranoid adults is very troubling.

ESun67 said...

Instead of the screens watching us, we're watching the screens.

Prozac is the modern Soma.