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Brave New 1984: “Dictatorship without tears.”

“Then you think there is no God?” “No, I think there quite probably is one.”

“Then why? …”

Mustapha Mond checked him. “But he manifests himself in different ways to different men. In premodern times he manifested himself as the being that’s described in these books. Now …”

“How does he manifest himself now?” asked the Savage.

“Well, he manifests himself as an absence; as though he weren’t there at all.” — Brave New World, 1931

Long before the era of Fake News and Facebook and the Twitterati, Aldous Hunxley sketched out a utopia based on the pleasure principle. At the time he thought it a distant possibility. By the late 1950s he was looking down the barrel of his happy utopia and he didn’t like what he saw coming and how fast it had come on…

[From, as are all subsquent quotations from Brave New World Revisited (1958) by Aldous Huxley  Emphasis Added]

In the more efficient dictatorships of tomorrow there will probably be much less violence than under Hitler and Stalin. The future dictator’s subjects will be painlessly regimented by a corps of highly trained social engineers. “The challenge of social engineering in our time,” writes an enthusiastic advocate of this new science, “is like the challenge of technical engiュneering fifty years ago. If the first half of the twenュtieth century was the era of the technical engineers, the second half may well be the era of the social engiュneers” — and the twenty-first century, I suppose, will be the era of World Controllers, the scientific caste system and Brave New World. To the question quis custodiet custodes — Who will mount guard over our guardians, who will engineer the engineers? — the anュswer is a bland denial that they need any supervision. There seems to be a touching belief among certain Ph.D.’s in sociology that Ph.D.’s in sociology will never be corrupted by power. Like Sir Galahad’s, their strength is as the strength of ten because their heart is pure — and their heart is pure because they are scienュtists and have taken six thousand hours of social studies….

The best of constitutions and preventive laws will be powerless against the steadily increasing pressures of over-population and of the over-organization imposed by growing numbers and advancing technology. The constitutions will not be abrogated and the good laws will remain on the statute book; but these liberal forms will merely serve to mask and adorn a profoundly illiberal substance. Given unchecked over-population and over-organization, we may expect to see in the democratic countries a reversal of the process which transformed England into a democracy, while retaining all the outward forms of a monarchy. Under the relentless thrust of accelerating overpopulation and increasing over-organization, and by means of ever more effective methods of mind-manipulation, the democracies will change their nature; the quaint old forms — elections, parliaments, Supreme Courts, and all the rest — will remain. The underlying substance will be a new kind of non-violent totalitarianism. All the traditional names, all the hallowed slogans will remain exactly what they were in the good old days. Democracy and freedom will be the theme of every broadcast and editorial — but democracy and freedom in a strictly Pickwickian sense. Meanwhile, the ruling oligarchy and its highly trained elite of soldiers, policemen, thought-manufacturers, and mind-manipulators will quietly run the show as they see fit.

Propaganda, on the other hand, teaches us to accept as self-evident matters about which it would be reasonable to suspend our judgment or to feel doubt. The aim of the demagogue is to create social coherence under his own leadership. But, as Bertrand Russell has pointed out, “systems of dogma without empirical foundations, such as scholasticism, Marxism and fasュcism, have the advantage of producing a great deal of social coherence among their disciples.” The demagogic propagandist must therefore be consistently dogmatic. All his statements are made without qualification. There are no grays in his picture of the world; everything is either diabolically black or celestially white. In Hitler’s words, the propagandist should adopt “a systematically one-sided attitude toュwards every problem that has to be dealt with.” He must never admit that he might be wrong or that people with a different point of view might be even partially right. Opponents should not be argued with; they should be attacked, shouted down, or, if they beュcome too much of a nuisance, liquidated. The morally squeamish intellectual may be shocked by this kind of thing. But the masses are always convinced that “right is on the side of the active aggressor.”

Virtue and intelli­gence belong to human beings as individuals freely associating with other individuals in small groups. So do sin and stupidity. But the subhuman mindlessness to which the demagogue makes his appeal, the moral imbecility on which he relies when he goads his vic­tims into action, are characteristic not of men and women as individuals, but of men and women in masses. Mindlessness and moral idiocy are not charac­teristically human attributes; they are symptoms of herd-poisoning. In all the world’s higher religions, salvation and enlightenment are for individuals. The kingdom of heaven is within the mind of a person, not within the collective mindlessness of a crowd. Christ promised to be present where two or three are gath­ered together. He did not say anything about being present where thousands are intoxicating one another with herd-poison. …

Illness is even more effective than fatigue as an intensifier of suggestibility. In the past, sickrooms were the scene of countless religious conversions. The scientifically trained dictator of the future will have all the hospitals in his dominions wired for sound and equipped with pillow speakers. Canned persuasion will be on the air twenty-four hours a day, and the more important patients will be visited by political soul-savers and mind-changers just as, in the past, their ancestors were visited by priests, nuns and pious layュmen….

The systematic drugging of individuals for the benefit of the State (and incidenュtally, of course, for their own delight) was a main plank in the policy of the World Controllers. The daily soma ration was an insurance against personal maladュjustment, social unrest and the spread of subversive ideas. Religion, Karl Marx declared, is the opium of the people. In Brave New World this situation was reversed. Opium, or rather soma, was the people’s reliュgion. Like religion, the drug had power to console and compensate, it called up visions of another, better world, it offered hope, strengthened faith and proュmoted charity. Beer, a poet has written,

. . .does more than Milton can
To justify God’s ways to man.

In the more efficient dictatorships of tomorrow there will probably be much less violence than under Hitler and Stalin. The future dictator’s subjects will be painlessly regimented by a corps of highly trained social engineers (…) If the first half of the twentieth century was the era of the technical engineers, the second half may well be the era of the social engineers” — and the twenty-first century, I suppose, will be the era of World Controllers, the scientific caste system and Brave New World (…) The impersonal forces of over-population and over-organization, and the social engineers who are trying to direct these forces, are pushing us in the direction of a new medieval system (…) For the majority of men and women, it will still be a kind of servitude.

RTW (if you can bear it)T at Brave New World Revisited (1958) by Aldous Huxley


It’s been over 60 years since Huxley’s prophetic update on his original prophecy.

All those who can still think for themselves can see how the world has tilted. And it has, if anything, refused to forget Brave New World. Instead millions of the braindeadwashed work without ceasing at making our Brave New World an ever Braver New World. This was the facade of the Tate Gallery just last November. 

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • james wilson January 31, 2021, 12:10 PM

    Tocqueville beat Huxley to it in 1835-

    The unity, the universality, the omnipotence of society’s power, and the uniformity of its rules represent the outstanding feature of all the political systems invented in our day. They recur at the heart of the strangest utopias. The human mind still pursues these images even in its dreams.

    Princes had turned violence into a physical thing but our democratic republics have made it into something as intellectual as the human will it intends to restrict. It is, above all, in the details that we risk enslaving men. Freedom in the big things of life is less important than in the slightest.

    If despotism were to be established in present-day democracies, it would probably assume a different character; it would be more widespread and kinder; it would debase men without tormenting them.
    Thus I think that the type of oppression threatening democracies will not be like anything there has been in the world before; our contemporaries would not be able to find any example of it in their memories. I, too, am having difficulty finding a word which will exactly convey the whole idea I have formed; the old words despotism and tyranny are not suitable. This is a new phenomenon which I must, therefore, attempt to define since I can find no name for it.

    I see an innumerable crowd of men, all alike and equal…he exists only in himself and for himself; if he still retains his family circle, at any rate he may be said to have lost his country. Above these men stands an immense and protective power which alone is responsible for looking after their enjoyments and watching over their destiny. It is absolute, meticulous, ordered, provident, and kindly disposed. It would be like a fatherly authority, if, fatherlike, its aim were to prepare men for manhood, but it seeks only to keep them in perpetual childhood; it prefers its citizens to enjoy themselves provided they have only enjoyment in mind. It works readily for their happiness but it wishes to be the only provider and judge of it. It provides their security, anticipates and guarantees their needs, supplies their pleasures, directs their principal concerns, manages their industry, regulates their estates, divides their inheritances. Why can it not remove from them entirely the bother of thinking and the troubles of life?

    Thus it reduces daily the value and frequency of the exercise of free choice; it restricts the activity of free will within a narrower range and gradually removes autonomy itself from each citizen. Equality has prepared men for all this, inclining them to tolerate all these things and often even to see them as a blessing.

    They derive consolation from being supervised by thinking that they have chosen their supervisors.

  • Joe January 31, 2021, 12:19 PM

    Aldous had this situation correct. I will be purchasing “A Brave New World” again. They all come with the revisited version which i had not read.

    Your blog is great, i found it last October and have been enjoying my time here.

  • Fletcher Christian January 31, 2021, 2:08 PM

    And all that is worse than a theocracy how, exactly?

    “Religion is the opium of the masses.”

  • gwbnyc January 31, 2021, 2:57 PM
  • Anonymous January 31, 2021, 4:11 PM

    Internet = Satan

    Prove me wrong.

  • gwbnyc January 31, 2021, 6:02 PM

    smart phones>>internet>>ego projection/inflation>>hyper narcissism>>and paranoia

    ::is this soma?

    ::is soma satan?

  • Casey Klahn February 1, 2021, 4:23 AM

    Okay, the inevitability of a dystopian manmade oppressive system of government. HFS, that has always been with us. How sweet was the rue of Xerxes? Lots of succor in the empire of Rome, huh? Huxley is future tripping on the means of oppression. The fact that it was coming was a given, I guess. I never read Huxley, but I read a lot of CS Lewis.

    Segue to The Space Trilogy, by CS Lewis. This was his very literary take on the same dystopian future, using “space” as a subject, but really and mostly looking at man’s condition.

    “Why you fool, it’s the educated reader who CAN be gulled. All our difficulty comes with the others. When did you meet a workman who believes the papers? He takes it for granted that they’re all propaganda and skips the leading articles. He buys his paper for the football results and the little paragraphs about girls falling out of windows and corpses found in Mayfair flats. He is our problem. We have to recondition him. But the educated public, the people who read the high-brow weeklies, don’t need reconditioning. They’re all right already. They’ll believe anything.”
    ― C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength.

    Elsewhere he said effectively that education without values just makes man a more clever sort of devil.

    A note of Hope:
    “Lifting their heads, and with no signal given as far as Ransom could see, they began to sing. To every man, in his acquaintance with a new art, there comes a moment when that which before was meaningless first lifts, as it were, one corner of the curtain that hides its mystery, and reveals, in a burst of delight which later and fuller understanding can hardly ever equal, one glimpse of the indefinite possibilities within.”
    ― C.S. Lewis, The Space Trilogy, Omnibus Edition: Three Science Fiction Classics in One Volume: Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength.

    And, finally:
    “In fighting those who serve devils one always his this on one’s side; their Masters hate them as much as they hate us. The moment we disable the human pawns enough to make them useless to Hell, their own Masters finish the work for us. they break their tools.”
    ― C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength.

    If my comment seems sideway to you; yes. It’s easy for me to think sideways since I have raging ADD. It’s more blessing than curse. I couldn’t hardly give a shit how or what others think, and so I often look for the back and underside of any topic. But, I look for the unity in each topic.

    Who is our dystopian overlord now? Biden’s state, to be sure. But the devious one is that muthafuggin Republican Party. Those c0cksuxers who never wanted Trump even when they realized he had the overwhelming support of the American public. They hated his personality – as if our presidency were a high school election of personality. And, sosh media, who have gone from dirty bastards to now perhaps the most epic robber barons of all time.

    While I’m at it, I will reiterate my lack of love for doctors and pretty much all scientists. Individuals among them may pass, but as a group they fail. Of course, they demand that you call them doctor. Wukfads. Dooshes.

  • Jack February 1, 2021, 6:07 AM

    Casey, I’m a life long fan of Lewis and I always enjoyed reading what you have to say but damn, I never realized how much we tend to think alike.

  • Gordon Scott February 1, 2021, 10:21 AM

    There’s also the persistent idea that if we just put the engineers in charge, everything would work. Interestingly, engineers believe this. But Big Tech is engineers run amok.

    Boeing, I was told, used to be run by engineers. The financial guys were carefully penned up. They Boeing bought McDonnell Douglas. And somehow, the MDD financial guys, who ran MDD, wound up in charge of Boeing. That’s when the headquarters moved to Chicago, for no good reason other than the CEO wanted to go to the culture places.

    Then Boeing began to deliver planes to the Air Force, only to have them rejected for sloppy work.

    Then the 737 Max happened. They needed a cheap update in that range category, and the only way to do it cheap was to rig the engine mounts, because the 737 had always sat lower. But that made the plane a little bit unstable, so they added software to compensate. Fair enough, but the software depended on a particular sensor. Western carriers would order the version with two of those sensors, just in case. Non-Western carriers wouldn’t. And when that sensor failed, the software made the plane crash.

    Ah, well.

  • Casey Klahn February 1, 2021, 11:14 AM

    Hi, Gordon. My compliments. An engineer is a scientist with compass and a straight edge. I stand in awe of their mighty brain-power, however I don’t give them anymore credit than, say, a good tailor. I mean, when I was working in Seattle, the Boeing engineers would come into the REI store with flattened tennis shoes, a pocket-protector, and missing a couple of belt loops with their belt.

    They left Seattle for Chicago because the dem gov in Olympia was anti-business and tax hungry.

    We all credit ourselves with what we do for a living. It’s the jokers that ruin it for the whole. Engineering is important stuff, but try to get them to do the user interface part. Huge mistake. And the hell of it is, most stuff is over-engineered and under “user-interfaced”.

    Jack! Pours a beer. The bastards are inside the wire, but I’m still in the fight.

    Olympia: yesterday a phalanx of Antifars took over the Red Lion hotel and the cops, apparently, rooted them out. Oly is a cesspool of evil.

  • James O'Neil February 1, 2021, 11:58 AM

    Brave New World, 1984, Stand On Zanzbar, On The Beach.

    The only one that, so far, hasn’t been prophetic is Nevil Shute’s On The Beach. But don’t worry, There Is Still Time Brother.

  • EX-Californian Pete February 1, 2021, 12:31 PM

    So, “Religion is the opium of the masses?” Including Christianity?

    Then those who shun God might then be properly deemed as irreverent, closed-minded, ungodly, unholy, unhallowed, faithless, depraved, immoral, irreverent, sinful, unsanctified, soulless, vile, wicked, and evil.
    Makes sense, right?

  • NC700 February 1, 2021, 2:37 PM

    Huxley writes that “Virtue and intelligence belong to human beings as individuals … Mindlessness and moral idiocy … are symptoms of herd poisoning.” This is reminiscent of Hugh Kingsmill in The Poisoned Crown (1944): “Yet, as even Lincoln proved, the attempt to externalise the kingdom of heaven in a temporal shape must end in disaster. … Those who set out for it alone will reach it together, and those who seek it in company will perish by themselves.” Kingsmill refers to Lincoln, our supposed Great Emancipator, as one who succumbed to the poisoned crown. Thomas DiLorenzo agrees, in his indispensable book The Real Lincoln. The motto under Van der Leun’s banner is “When in the course of human events …” That phrase could have been written by the Confederate States. They had as much right to secede from the Union as the colonies did from the Crown. Note that “secession” is a word currently re-entering our public discourse. If the consent of the governed is not the basis for law, what is?

  • Fletcher Christian February 1, 2021, 2:48 PM

    Ex-Californian Pete:

    15 adjectives there, of which 9 are of interest only to the religiously brainwashed. And some of them, rationalists would consider a compliment. Irreverent? That’s a compliment. So is “ungodly”.
    And “closed-minded” applies far more to those who do have a religion.

  • Casey Klahn February 2, 2021, 7:10 AM

    On the politics of our predicament, I read an article in American Thinker this morn about nullification. Half the states and upwards of 80 million voters supported america, and at the same time who the fug knows how few voted for Biden. We occupy a strong position as far as mass is concerned.

    Nullification, apparently, is a form of refusal. Tell the feds to pound sand with any law or regulation that resembles anything unconstitutional. Let’s start with Red Flag laws, although very soon we’ll be wistful for the good old days of just RF laws. When universal registration becomes law, the states must unite as constitutionally abiding states, and nullify this. Ditto things like enviro regulations, min wage laws, burdensome social laws, and such. I guess a more aggressive stance is to declare sanctuary states, but the lesser move just before that would be nullification.

    Uck the eds.

    Also at a local level, caucus with your local GOPe and talk (or shout) down the never Trumpers who sit as chairmen. The GOPe and any political party is just a bunch of squirrelly, slimy cowards who have each others’ e-mail addresses and phone numbers. They rent office space bi-annually and emit press releases like gas. Embarrass and shame them; it doesn’t take much smarts to see how Trump and the America-first policies of his tenure were the scalding bleach required for sanitizing America. It’s a given, and their arguments otherwise are (I hate to use the word but FFS!) stupid. Trump was personally caustic? What is this, high school presidential politics?

  • EX-Californian Pete February 2, 2021, 10:28 AM

    I think “unholy, soulless and evil” are the 3 that sum it up best for me when describing God-haters.
    Over the years, I noticed the vast majority of Atheists I’ve met are angry and unhappy people. Maybe because they feel they have nothing to look forward to, or no spiritual direction.

    Another common factor among them is having a difficult childhood and/or coming from a single parent family. I always wondered if they came to defy God out of spite- maybe blaming God for how messed up their lives are.

  • Fletcher Christian February 2, 2021, 2:25 PM

    EX-Californian Pete:

    Is that defying God, or defying those who claim to speak for Her?

  • EX-Californian Pete February 3, 2021, 9:36 AM

    I guess that was meant as an insult or something?

    Kind of helps illustrate that ‘spite’ thing I was referring to.

  • Dirk February 4, 2021, 9:14 AM

    Our history is whatever our corrupt govt says it is. I recognize, its all a lie?


  • jwm February 4, 2021, 10:04 AM

    Fletcher, ol’ pal, you’re getting about a C-/D+ in atheisting, here. You really need to up your game. There’s a great exchange going on right now at John C. Wright’s Journal, under the heading, “A Masterful Summation”.
    Go check it out. Go a few rounds with the gang over there, and then get back to us.