Aldous Huxley's warnings (excerpts from his companion book to _Brave New World_)
Aldous Huxley didn't become famous for nothing. Though his novel served a propagandistic function in attacking a soviet-like society, lesser known is his writing about Western societies. The warnings and lessons he offers are definitely worth reading if you have never read this portion of his thought, or could use a refresher!
Excerpts from the rare nonfiction book _Brave New World--REVISITED_
""In the more efficeint dictatorships of tommorrow 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."
"Such an education in the art of distinguising between the proper and the improper use of symbols could be inaugurated immediately. Indeed it might have been inaugurated at any time during the last thirty or forty years. And yet children are nowhere taught, in any systematic way, to distinguish true from false, or meaningful from meaningless, statements. Why is this so? Because their elders, even in the democratic countries, do not want them to be given this kind of education.
"Certain educators, for example, disapproved of the teaching of propaganda analysis on the grounds that it would make adolescents unduly cynical. Nor was it welcomed by the military authorities, who were afraid that recruits might start to analyze the utterances of drill sergeants. And then there were the clergymen and the advertisers. The clergymen were against propaganda analysis as tending to undermine belief and diminish churchgoing; the advertisers objected on the grounds that it might undermine brand loyalty and reduce sales.
"These fears and dislikes were not unfounded. Too searching a scrutiny by too many of the common folk of what is said by their pastors and masters might prove to be profoundly subversive. In its present form, the social order depends for its continued existence on the acceptance, without too many embarrassing questions, of the propaganda put forth by those in authority and the propaganda hallowed by the local traditions.
"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 over-population and 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. [(re: "manufacture of consent"--ed)] 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.
"How can we control the vast impersonal forces that now menace our hard-won freedoms? On the verbal level and in general terms, the question may be answered with the utmost ease."
(He offers solutions for two main situations he's concerned about, over-population and over-organization. I will give his points on over-organization here)
"solution to the problem of over-organization is hardly less difficult...On the verbal level and in general terms the answer is perfectly simple. Thus, it is a political axiom that power follows property. But it is now a historical fact that the means of production are fast becoming the monopolistic property of Big Business and Big Government.
"Therefore, if you believe in democracy, make arrangements to distribute property as widely as possible."
comment: This is a way that small businesses, now being overwhelmed by wal-mart-type aggressions, may out-flank these giants, and strengthen community at the same time. So, cooperatizing small businesses.
On the other hand, for the anti-capitalists, who must prove their value by example, not by critique alone, co-ops of a much more liberating sort must be enacted. So, imagine co-ops similar to municipal libraries, where members (?) share the extras that so many spend their lives working for. People who buy into wanting a fishing boat, for example, or a home entertainment system, put their money together to *share* in buying these things, and then have to work less!
Those who want liberation from commodities altogether, would need to integrate themselves within these co-ops and make the kind of meaningful bonds that liberate people from surface desires.
"Over-population and over-organization have produced the modern metropolis, in which a fully human life of mulitple personal relationships has become almost impossible. Therefore, if you wish to avoid the spiritual impoverishment of individuals and whole societies, leave the metropolis and revive the small country community, or alternately humanize the metroplis by creating within its network of mechanical organization the urban equivalents of small country communities, in which individuals can meet and cooperate as complete persons, not as mere embodiments of specialized functions."
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