Brave New World Revisited

Every once and awhile, the Establishment intelligentsia will admit to the hapless citizenry about all sorts of chicanery that they are up to. Even then, they will continue to deceive, inveigle, and obfuscate their activities so as to blend them seamlessly in with legitimately good actions that any dissident should be engaging in. Such are the lengths that tyrants are willing to descend to, for their playbook is taken from the father of lies.

 

 

I find it humourous that in the attempt to compare and contrast Brave New World with 1984, the author asserts, quite out of the blue, that the planet Earth is somehow “overpopulated.” Despite the fact that overpopulation is a myth (which is promulgated by self-proclaimed intellectuals who act as apologists for your garden variety tyrants), Huxley correctly determines that the government of 1984 is more punitive than the World State of his own novel, which focuses instead on Pavlovian reinforcement. For instance, Huxley states:

 

“Overpopulation leads to economic insecurity and social unrest. Unrest and insecurity lead to more control by central governments and an increase of their power. In the absence of a constitutional tradition, this increased power will probably be exercised in a dictatorial fashion. Even if Communism had never been invented, this would be likely to happen.”

 

His main problem is that he thinks that overpopulation is a valid concept, and thus takes it as a given; therefore, he focuses only on applying the idea to other phenomenon (such as the rise of tyrannical dictatorships). This is fundamentally why his analysis is inherently screwy on its face, since the application of the idea is an exercise in futility for the very concept itself is empirically fallacious. Unfortunately, this is mixed in with the easily noticeable differences of enforcement between the Party that rules Oceania and the World State, for the former is comparatively more blunt about its slavery whereas the latter socially (and bio-chemically) engineers it literally before birth.

In many ways, it could be argued that the World State is fundamentally much more tyrannical than the Party could ever be, for the discrepancy between the liberties of the people and the deceptions of the Establishment are that much sharper. The Party limits itself to controlling the thoughts and actions of its citizens after they are born. Their indoctrination is less invasive since it is rooted more in con artist trickery than in anything else. Granted, while they do attempt to literally control reality by rewriting history, even O’Brien conceded that there are limits to what the Party can accomplish, why is part of the reason why the Thought Police really function more as whips for the Outer Party rather than as the secret police (in a manner of speaking). The World State, on the other hand, must not only control the thoughts and actions of its hapless citizenry, but also their very bio-chemical makeup (even prenatally, such as with the Bokanovsky process). Indoctrination is just as bad as the Party’s, but it is also enhanced with such techniques as hyponopedia and substances like soma. Their control of reality is a fait accompli, especially considering the various levels of biological neutering forcibly performed on the Gammas, Epsilons, Deltas, and even Betas.

Another fallacy that Huxley likes to promulgate is that so-called overpopulation would lead to what he calls “overorganization;” that is, the emergence of Big Government and Big Business (or Big Whatever, for that matter). Even if he was right that we suffer (or would suffer) from overpopulation, it is a non sequitur that therefore the corporatization of life must result from “too many people.” Part of the proof for this are the countries that don’t have that many people but who are characteristically bureaucratic and heavy-handed, like Communist Cuba, or non-communist (?) Canada. Consider the following from the Population Research Institute:
 

“According to the UN Population Database, the world’s population in 2010 will be 6,908,688,000. The landmass of Texas is 268,820 sq. mi. (7,494,271,488,000 sq. ft). So divide 7,494,271,488,000 sq. ft by 6,908,688,000, and you get 1084.76 sq. ft./person. That’s approximately a 33′ x 33′ plot of land for every person on the planet, [which is] enough space for a town house. Given the average four person family, every family would have a 66′ x 66′ plot of land, which would comfortably provide a single family home and yard – and all of them [would] fit on a landmass the size of Texas. Admittedly, it’d basically be one massive subdivision, but Texas is a tiny portion of the inhabitable Earth. Such an arrangement would leave the entire rest of the world vacant. There’s plenty of space for humanity.”

 

Amazing what a little math and deductive reasoning can do, huh? My point here is that you can have Huxley’s “overorganization” in sparsely populated regions and limited government in densely packed urban sprawls provided that the desire for tyrants to dominate, enslave, and control their fellow humans is present.

Most of what Huxley promotes for what he thinks people should do in order to avert (or at least mitigate) the approach of his fictional World State into real life lies in taking the most moderate of paths. Huxley said:
 

“Organization is indispensable; for liberty arises and has meaning only within a self-regulating community of freely cooperating individuals. But, though indispensable, organization can also be fatal. Too much organization transforms men and women into automata, suffocates the creative spirit, and abolishes the very possibility of freedom. As usual, the only safe course is in the middle, between the extremes of laissez-faire at one end of the scale and of total control on the other.”

 

In other words, the only way we can achieve greater amounts of liberty and freedom is to have limited slavery, tiny larceny, and mild rape. It sounds just as bad to me as a woman telling her flaky boyfriend that she is only a little pregnant with their child. Silly me, here I was thinking that laissez-faire was synonymous with Liberty; perhaps Huxley next will say that Thomas Jefferson was fundamentally wrong about human nature:
 

“We are far indeed from Jefferson’s ideal of a genuinely free society composed of a hierarchy of self-governing units…[w]e see, then, that there are certain historical, economic, demographic, and technological conditions which make it very hard for Jefferson’s rational animals, endowed by nature with inalienable rights and an innate sense of justice, to exercise their reason, claim their rights, and act justly within a democratically organized society.”

 

Oh, wait, he did, didn’t he? Well, I guess it’s safe to say that Huxley is no child of the Enlightenment.

Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World Revisited is a nauseating display of arrogant ignorance on the part of a man whose brother was the first Director-General of UNESCO. I don’t think it is too far off the mark to declare that the Huxley family was quite preoccupied with eugenics. In the final analysis, if you want an example of bad analysis regarding socio-political conditions, coupled with baseless assertions and even worse “solutions” to the “problems” being presented, then feel free to intellectually dissect Huxley’s grandiose predictions about the implementation of his novel in real life.

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