Friday, March 23, 2018

REVIEW OF 'BRAVE NEW WORLD REVISITED'



“The survival of democracy depends on the ability of large numbers of people to make realistic choices in the light of adequate information. A dictatorship, on the other hand, maintains itself by censoring or distorting the facts, and by appealing, not to reason, not to enlightened self-interest, but to passion and prejudice, to the powerful ‘hidden forces’, as Hitler called them, present in the unconscious depths of the human mind” (p. 311.) This dictatorship is the society of Brave New World. This society is what Huxley comments on and warns about in Brave New World Revisited. Both books are disclosures of socialism; the non-fiction sequel is more sobering than its harbinger, and unaffected by immature characteristics. 

Roughly speaking, the totalitarian worlds of Huxley and Orwell are distinguished by the following marks. Brave New World is gaudy; 1984 is barren. Characters in Brave New World are sated and bored; characters in 1984 are deprived and stressed. Brave New World is regulated by peer pressure; 1984 is regulated by an iron fist. Brave New World is laboratorial; 1984 is inquisitorial. The gaudy world full of ennui and satiety, controlled by peer pressure and pills—this is Western democracy on a runaway downgrade. The austere world wherein people suffer privation and stress—the world controlled by iron rule and the fear of inquisition—this is North Korea. A failed exercise to achieve utopia is dystopia. Roughly speaking, though, Brave New World is a monstrous form of utopia; while 1984 is a functional dystopia. Both are joyless worlds occupied by persons who have had their liberties outlawed and their individualities effaced. 

Huxley makes his own comparisons. He says, perhaps not surprisingly but not necessarily prejudicially, that in light of ‘recent developments’ (just prior to 1958), Brave New World is more plausible an outcome than 1984 (pp. 252, 253.) He observed the prophecies that he made in 1931 swiftly coming to pass in his lifetime, like ‘man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions,’ for example (pp. 252, 295, 318.) It is no doubt truer in our day than in his, that even religion is a distraction (p. 296.) Go to virtually any church, and you will be struck, not by a sense of sin as doctrine convicts you from the pulpit, but a theatrical atmosphere and storytelling. In Huxley’s opinion, a 1984 scenario would give way to a Brave New World (p. 291.) The reverse is happening. Either way, socialist absolutism has leavened much of the world; its influence is hardening. 

What must we take note of as including the Socialist Left in the world in 2018? This ideology dominates in North Korea, Russia, China, and Cuba, to name the most obvious countries. North Korea is more like the world of 1984 than any other country on earth; it is a country made up of people who are the nearest to fully believing the indoctrinated lie that tyranny is liberty and that poverty is prosperity. The other three countries named are allowed some degree of Brave New World pleasure as they cautiously negotiate their 1984 walk between the narrow boundaries that they dare not cross. Those who live in the Socialist Left of the Brave New World include the citizens of North America and Europe. This is so whether they are governed by democrats or republicans in the USA, any of the three major parties in Canada, and even the parties that are presently opposing open borders in Europe. Nearly the whole globe, then, even before including South America and Australia, is Leftist-Socialist. North America and Europe are in a Brave New World marching toward some version of the more ominous world of 1984. President Trump is a capitalist standing in the way of the fetters that seem will inevitably bind his country. The Muslim invasion, for its part, if it succeeds, will bring its captured nations into the forced obeisance that the people of Iran and Saudi Arabia endure. Tentatively, I would label that world the extreme right, though even there bloated socialist programs may be counted on both hands. The true center would be capitalism on the basis of a Christian ethic, the closest approximation thereto being 19th century Britain and America. To imagine the industrial and digital progress that has been made since the 19th century—along with certain reforms like more sensible limitations on capital punishment—sitting on top of Victorian rectitude, is to imagine a widespread happiness and wholesome influence that the world has yet to experience and probably never will. 
                    
Sixty years after Brave New World Revisited was published, and eighty years after Hitler annexed Austria, conservatives are being called Nazis as if it’s not the Left, and only the Left, that imitates Hitler’s socialist program. Most people don’t realize that Hitler’s party was a socialist one. He who doubts that can look up the name of his party and survey his political acts. What are high taxes, gun confiscation, and national health care but socialist policies? One of the reasons the Nazis failed, Huxley contends, is because their brainwashing was not broad enough to include ‘their lower leadership’ (p. 300.) Hitler had not the time to do that; at least he had not the time to do it effectually. Even in his day—back in 1958—Huxley could say that children were not taught how to distinguish between meaningful and meaningless statements or how to sort truth from falsehood (p. 385.) If multitudes of university students in 2018 cannot decide what gender they are or even how many genders exist, shall we not insist that education has worsened in some basic respects since sixty years ago? Huxley had lived in California twenty years by the time he published Brave New World Revisited. Therefore it would be wrong to assume that his criticism of education was limited to the state of pedagogy in the UK where he was born and grew up.

Unlike the situation in Hitler’s Germany, our ‘lower leadership’—our teachers, are brainwashed, and thoroughly. We may include most pastors too, along with media personnel from coast to coast, celebrities, and regional politicians of every stripe, with comparatively few exceptions. Needless to say, our students are brainwashed by their brainwashed teachers and the entertainment industries. Children are easily emotionalized, and driven to conclude what reason and experience would guard them from deducing (p. 319.) They spontaneously react to ‘trigger words’ (p. 320.) Who is using and abusing children today to advance political objectives in the USA through emotion and trigger words? As I write this, the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida is a couple of weeks old. Socialist media giants have been rallying the children to the cause of ‘gun control’ on the heels of this bloody event. Gun control is a euphemism; it is the antithesis of the right to bear arms. Laws that were already in place, if they had been enforced, could have and would have prevented the young murderer from gunning down the schoolmates and teachers of the students that are now being used to agitate for more stringent gun control. Even though there had been between twenty and forty instances of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office being notified of the danger the young shooter posed—even though he was known to have bought a rifle—even though he had made threats and shot animals—even though he had openly declared his purpose to become a ‘professional school shooter,’ which fact was reported to the FBI—even though the shooter’s educators and the police knew all of this and more—he was not picked up, not interrogated, not confined, and neither was his firearm confiscated. And yet the cry for more gun control—which means more laws to curtail the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns, is what is being called for. More laws are called for that will limit the freedom of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and their loved ones from people like the murderer who should have been locked up but wasn’t. So brainwashed are the students (not all but enough to make the desired impact) that in spite of these facts, their response is to cry out the trigger words that have been planted in their adolescent minds by their leftist users and abusers. “Such is the proneness of the human mind to go astray,” says Calvin in the chapter on free will in his Institutes, “that it will more quickly draw error from one little word, than truth from a lengthened discourse.” How much more is this proneness the case in impressionable teenage minds? Manipulative adults know this. And so they goad the kids into crying ‘gun control! gun control!’; consequently, embarrassed by the optics of arguing with, and opposing, traumatized kids, many politicians who know better are coerced into submission, and the leftists achieve another victory toward the abolition of the American right to bear arms. The reasons why the educators and the police did not intervene to prevent the massacre should matter. But to most it matters not at all, leaving the way open for more slaughters. As pointed out by Bill Cunningham, the Obama administration wanted to make the education system look less derelict than it was by obstructing the pipeline through which students went from school to prison. Therefore problem students, along with their threats and crimes, have been lightly treated for years, which is what cleared the way for the shooter to commit mass murder at the school in Parkland. More gun control, though, is closing in on those who would never execute anybody and who would save someone if they could and had the right to do so. This is the kind of Nazi-like madness that a book like Huxley’s was written to circumvent. It is a cold cruel fact that politicians—like those that make up what Ted Cruz labeled the ‘Washington Cartel’—like those labeled ‘the Swamp’ by President Trump—take advantage of crises in order to exercise control over a populace (p. 263.) It is in their selfish interest to ignore steps that could be taken to save lives. They would rather use an excuse to diminish a right—like the right to bear arms—than remedy the wrongs that permitted a mass shooting to take place. To this end, susceptible students are duped into rallying to the cause of increased gun restriction, as if restricting the rights of good citizens to bear arms is the way to stop psychos who decide to shoot up schools. A gun in the hand of a good man is the only way to stop a bad man wielding a gun. More gun restriction is the avenue to more bloodshed because while obedient citizens are subjected to restrictions, fiends will always find means to procure guns. Not only are these kids susceptible to ‘easy fix’ lies to complex problems, they are especially receptive to media attention, for what kid does not want his moment of fame? It is tempting to use kids to achieve a goal. Who does this more than those who lean democrat? Democrat politicians are notorious for putting kids in front of them when introducing socialist bills that restrict freedom. Who does that but unscrupulous, unethical persons? Palestinian Muslims put kids between themselves and incoming bombs; socialist democrats put kids between themselves and the bills they want to pass.            

Leaders with despotic tendencies use ‘non-rational’ propaganda that appeals to ‘passions, blind impulses, unconscious cravings and fears’ (p. 291.) They suppress facts while they put out ‘catchwords’ to be repeated (p. 296.) Who does this but the democrats? What are the catchwords they use to dodge facts and debate? Racist, homophobe, Islamophobe, sexist, misogynist, Nazi, fascist—these are some of them. ‘Male chauvinist pig’ got worn out decades ago. Here are two examples of how catchwords are used to evade facts and disallow debate. If you’re not okay with open borders, through which illegal migrants come in to sponge resources, and in some instances to harass, rape, steal, or murder, then you must be ‘xenophobic.’ If you want to stop importing immigrants from countries that are infamous for exporting terrorism, then you must be ‘racist.’ Who adopts these catchwords for use but citizens who are ‘incapable of abstract thinking’? (p. 302.) Who uses them but democrat supporters? Ignorant citizens who will not, or cannot, think past catchwords to reason things out, they are the same kind of people that Hitler used (Ibid.) The democrats and the unprincipled wing of the republican party depend on uninformed simpletons to make their agenda unacceptable to oppose. 

Sister (how sexist to say ‘sister’ and not ‘brother’) to the catchword is the slogan, or ‘stereotyped formula’; this too is often used for evil purposes; it is a tool that the Fuhrer used (p. 305.) Who has used slogans lately that have since proven to be lies? Remember ‘hope and change’ and ‘fair share.’ It would be hard to find one single thing that was fair and hopeful in any of the changes that Obama brought about. “Simple-minded people tend to equate the symbol with what it stands for” (p. 314.) Remember “you can keep your doctor; you can keep your plan.” Those who had a little wisdom knew this to be a lie even before the promise was broken; the simple-minded swallowed the lie in a single gulp. Is ‘Make America Great Again’ of the same character as these slogans? ‘Make America Great Again’ is a promise that is happening; it would happen to a much greater extent and degree if not for the fact that Donald Trump faces more opposition than any American president before him has faced. Companies and industries that Obama said would never return, they are returning; America isn’t funding Iran’s nuclear program anymore; and Isis is almost entirely wiped out. Indeed, Isis has lost ninety percent of the territory that was supposed to be the beginning of its worldwide caliphate. Isis is dispossessed and nearly destroyed. Many more terrorist attacks would have happened if Clinton had won the election instead of Trump. But we seldom think of benefits like that, do we? US citizens are living right now who would be dead if not for a capitalist having won the White House instead of a socialist. Democrats are purist socialists now; the brave new world that they started is suffering a setback.  

Hitler, or the ‘demagogic propagandist,’ is so inflexible as to not admit that his opponent is even partially right. No matter what, he shouts the opponent down (p. 306.) Is that not the stance of democrats vis-a-vis Donald Trump? They haven’t thanked him for crushing Isis; they do not praise him for all the jobs coming back; they opposed his travel ban regarding terror-prone states; they may not accept his generous concessions on immigration reform and gun control. Their only aim is to impeach and depose by whatever trumped up charge that can be used for the purpose. If a coup of sorts will not work, the opponent must be ‘liquidated’ (p. Ibid.) How many death threats did Obama face while he was in office? It may be that a threat or two against him were not hoaxes; but he is a liar who denies that Trump has received tenfold more threats than Obama did. How many times has the life of President Trump been threatened? His life has been threatened by celebrities, activists, rioters, bloggers, and trolls, with mainstream reporters and pundits winking at each threat, hoping that someone—anyone—would be motivated to act on the basis of all this hatred. When a man rushed upon Trump while he was speaking on stage, the mainstream media showed no concern at all because their wish was for Trump to be ‘liquidated,’ which temper, as Huxley warningly reminds us, is a Nazi turn of mind. No one ever rushed Obama. No American would have dared because black dignitaries—indeed, blacks in general—have privilege in America. If Obama had ever been rushed, we would still be hearing about the infamy on a daily basis years after. Because America is not racist against blacks, and because conservatives, when beaten, do not lash out, Obama—that wicked demagogue—was probably the safest man to occupy the White House in American history. Who is Nazi-like? Is it President Trump and his supporters who turn the other cheek? Or is it the party or side that wants to kill because their socialist cause was interrupted by the election of a capitalist? Is it the middle class from Mid-America who are willing to work in mines and on factory floors? Or is it the big city snobs of New York City and LA with their domestic terror groups? The non-rational propagandist associates his product with persons that the masses look up to (p. 353.) Remember Hillary Clinton trying to sell the failed ideas of Obama by posing with celebrities. I can think of no celebrity of note posing with Donald Trump to help him get elected. Trump is a straight-talking businessman, not a politically correct empty suit. Celebrities can’t identify with that. Their life is an act; his life is what movies are made of. Trump stood with the common man of no repute—the hard-working folks that shoulder the taxes. This is why we call him the blue-collar billionaire.                      

Hitler also relied on what Huxley calls ‘herd-poison’—‘crowd intoxicated’ mania produced by exploitative oratory (p. 304.) Who is a master at exploiting ‘hidden forces’ to produce angry crowds more than Obama? Much of the vandalism, looting, and violence that Black Lives Matter and Antifa committed were generated by Obama’s oratory. It could be convincingly argued that these terrorist forces would not exist except for Obama. Is it not interesting that Barack Hussein Obama comes to mind more often in the chapter called Propaganda Under a Dictatorship than in the chapter called Propaganda in a Democratic Society?                   

A social arrangement between laissez-faire and total control is closest to the ideal (p. 278.) The over-organization that ‘suffocates the creative spirit’—what is that but a micromanaging government that regulates everything that it can get its hands on? President Trump’s rule is to roll back two regulations for each one that is introduced. He has cut regulations on gun control, the coal industry, and internet use, to name a few. By rescinding one regulation in particular, he gave states the choice to opt out of funding Planned Parenthood, with moneys received from the federal government. An option to not give money to an organization that kills babies is antithetical to a Brave New World and 1984 if anything is. An attempt to create a ‘social organism’ results in ‘totalitarian despotism’ (p. 280.) Such an attempt is like trying to make man conform to the marching orders of an ant colony (p. 279.) Do we not see this happening in our universities and on social media? Speakers who refuse to blindly accept what professors tell them to believe, are shouted down, shamed, and sometimes assaulted. This is going on at Berkeley and at other universities. This is 1984-style enforcement.  Speakers who refuse to repeat talking points on issues like globalism, global warming, open borders, and Islam have their YouTube channels demonetized, sometimes blocked, and maybe wiped out. This is going on right now. This is 1984-style enforcement. In such a world—a synthetic social organism—one has to ‘de-individualize’ (Ibid) or else. But ‘regimentation’ is ‘a great misfortune’ (p. 376.) One reason for a soft-on-crime approach, jumped out at me on that page. Criminals (with their guilt) have been absorbed by the sham social organism—the collective. This social chimera is also why the plays of Shakespeare are no longer attributed to Shakespeare by certain philosophers. In the social organism sense, he never existed. Who’s to say which ant, for example, is responsible for the anthill? Remember Obama’s statement about small business owners: “You didn’t build that; somebody else—made that happen.” This social evil is also why heroes and patriotism are discountenanced. Individual initiative goes against the current of conformity; patriotism is at odds with an en masse acceptance of globalism. The truth however, is, “Everything that is done within a society is done by individuals” (p. 379.) This is perhaps the most important page of the book, by the way; it is a worthy speech in defense of that obvious fact. It is ironic that in their quest to create a social organism, our leaders never tire of emphasizing diversity as our strength. Of course, they don’t believe their talking point. Then, overlooking the diversity in each individual, like ‘temperamental diversity’ (p. 380), the imported individuals that they hope will be digested to swell the collective, clash with it instead. If you think about it, a ‘truly social species’ has no need of individual liberty (p. 381.) That explains the socialist zeal for unqualified conformity. The socialist is himself a victim of ‘mind-manipulation’ (p. 392.) He is a ‘psychological captive’ who ‘believes himself to be free’ (Ibid.) I will add here, though, that in both Brave New World and 1984, those at the top, if I rightly recall, are allowed freedoms that the rest of the populace is disallowed. It is the same with those who jet to summits on global warming. They use all the fuel they want at taxpayers’ expense to go play it up at the most posh places on the planet, and while there they lecture those who pay the tab about how they must reduce their carbon footprint and take measures to use less power in their homes. 

Since education is now under almost complete control of federal governments that do not permit the teaching of history and logic except in diluted and twisted forms, the solution proffered by Huxley to educate against the danger of tyranny (p. 383), can only be accomplished at home or online. But the majority of children do not belong to households that are able or willing to enforce this; indeed, most parents or guardians have become willing slaves to the state. It is plainly more the case in our day than in the 1930s that even pastors do not want men to think critically (pp. 385, 386) since most of them are selling temporal hope in health and wealth instead of preaching hell for sin and heaven through faith. Francis Schaeffer observed that most people will not put up a fuss as long as they enjoy ‘personal peace and affluence.’ This is comparable to Huxley’s ‘bread and circuses’ (p. 400.) The situation must become so dire that ‘grounded dodos will clamour again for their wings’ (pp. 400, 401.) 

If wings of freedom are regained, it will be by that which ‘science and technology’ supply and that ‘powerful rulers’ have little control over (p. 401.) This comment is astonishingly prescient in light of the present information war going on between celebrities, academics, politicians, media giants, and internet platform controllers on the one side; and earnest, self-taught individualists on the other side who do not want their souls to be smothered and their selves to be stamped with the image of an impersonal state. Welfare moms and public broadcasters are satisfied with a state stamp for an identity; independent thinkers prefer the stamp of their own personhood.    

Christians like me must bring up the fact that the liberty that tyranny is taking away was established by Christian influence and that the only sure way back to liberty unbound is through this means. Until Christian influence rolls through our societies in unstoppable waves, the deadening air of socialism will hang over our heads to threaten our mobility. If we win the information war, but obtain no life-giving infusion, our stems will not rise very high and our garden will never be pretty, broad, and lasting. The first little storm will blow the petals off our flowers, and we will be back to raking, cultivating, and planting from scratch our tiny seeds. In short, history and logic are not enough; while philosophy—even Christian philosophy, is much less than we need. It is regeneration en masse by the Holy Ghost—revival—that is needed. This is the basis of the influence that Western societies are built on; Christianity is why so much good has been done through them; Christian-based societies are durable. If the reader assumes that I am talking about revivals of less than over a century ago, he has yet to learn that a revival is not what he thought it was. Billy Graham has just died; where is the influence of this overrated man? Roman Catholicism did provide a measure of stability in the Middle-Ages; but it was the Protestant Reformation that caused the moral progress that we have taken for granted so much as to squander and misuse. If Graham had really felt the truth of that, he would never have rendered himself inert by his collusion with Rome. This might not be saying enough, for inertia is not a negative, and Graham might have done more harm than good by making multitudes of hypocrites by tricky techniques and coerced confessions of faith. But I cannot afford the space to digress any further on that.  

When Huxley touches on religion, I do not expect a lot of insight. John Wesley may have had to contend with fanaticism in the midst of the revival that he was part of, but it is ignorant to say that his success was on account of being a fanatic himself. He did not succeed in converting multitudes by emotional manipulation—what Huxley terms ‘an intuitive understanding of the central nervous system’ (p. 329.) He did not bring people under tyranny through brainwashing; he, through preaching the gospel, caused sinners to be mentally renewed and loosed from the bonds of sin. Huxley admits that through Wesley’s preaching, thousands of converts had “new and generally better behaviour patterns ineradicably implanted in their minds and nervous systems” (p. 330.) This is the expansive Christian influence that I referred to and that we need for our societies. It is the peaceful force that can sweep away our species of totalitarianism. Persons from any class or station may be affected in a revival; that cannot but usher in ‘hope and change’ that is dynamic instead of deviously politic. 

In spite of being spare on solutions, Brave New World Revisited was written decades before its predictions came to pass, which fact makes Huxley a man to look back on thankfully and admiringly. The object of predicting a social disease is to help societies abide. But the Western world did not heed the doctor’s warning; now it is undergoing a social pandemic. Huxley predicted the ‘social engineering’ that our degenerated democracies are forcing on us (p. 283.) He did not specify all the forms that social engineering is now taking. But it is a marvel that he hit upon some of them and that he even hit upon the general principle. By social engineering we may include hiring quotas, gender redefinition, racial favoritism, feminist supremacy, and other issues that are politically incorrect to speak ill of. Political correctness is the engineering of speech; the engineering of thoughts and feelings are its natural concomitants. If you are shouted down for stating ordinary, obvious, innocent things, like the wage gap that feminists complain about being largely due to the fewer hours that women work than men—it is certain that some women are so weak in thought and feeling that you might be targeted by one of them just for not making her happy. For example, if a date did not go the way a woman wanted it to go, she can now get a man fired by alleging (to the whole world on social media) that she was sexually harassed or raped by the man that she dated. The unproven allegation can end the man’s career and reputation before he has time to defend himself. You cannot outrun the voice of a condemning mob when digital media exist. A segment of society has been brainwashed to persecute non-conforming individualists. Whoever is favored in our brave new world can falsely accuse whoever is not favored, social media will then act as the jury, and the mainstream media will team up with the politicians to execute the sentence. If this process fails, an actual courtroom is nearby to ruin the accused (usually a white man) financially. 

Huxley predicted that social conditioning from the time of infancy would be accomplished by the state (pp. 285, 334.) Some students at Portland State University stormed out of a lecture room recently because a person on a panel stated that women and men are physiologically different. Conditioning from cradle to adulthood is likely the cause of such hysteria. Huxley predicted the surge in prescription drug use by which people are made sedate and controllable (pp. 285, 339, 340, 343, 346.) In a Brave New World, Soma is the people’s religion (p. 338.) This is a pity, for “there are certain occasions when we ought to be tense” (p. 344.) Yes, we ought to be tense when our leaders are populating our nations with uneducated, dangerous immigrants from failed states in order to retain power by their votes. We ought to be doubly tense when we are forced to subsidize these clans to secure the tyranny.

Huxley in 1958: “For what is now merely science fiction will have become everyday political fact” (p. 357.) For the most part and for now in 2018, we are living in what Huxley termed the ‘non-violent totalitarianism’ that manipulators run as they wish (p. 394.)

We must take note of what parties and which people are exercising Brave New World tyranny; then we need to join those who are hard at work trying to take society back to an equable state wherein liberty and peace of mind are more non-fiction than fantasy. We must learn to apply the books that we read.