Orwell And Huxley

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The intro is a bit dated cause the text appeared on 27. May 2018.


With the disappearance of Tommy Robinson behind bars the question of a return of totalitarianism arises again. According to Fox News the judge has divvied out a gag order on the case until the trial is over. Multiple newspapers have stopped reporting. But this is not even plausible because Robinson was serving a suspended jail sentence from a previous case and he was merely found in violation of its terms. There is no court decision to wait for before resuming reporting. The fact that the media is gagging itself upon the mere rumor of a gag order tells you all you need to know about their supposed independence.

There are also other nations where people disappear and nobody is able to talk about them. The biggest one is the People’s Republic of China. The socialist country prides itself with a modern legal system that – on the surface – looks as if it would fulfill the standards of Western nations.

It is the surface. And even the surface looks ugly. The number of death penalties are so high that the government runs execution vans, cars that roam the country to take out delinquents. Under the surface there is a secret penalty system. Nobody knows how vast the system is, how many people are kept, and how they get back to life after the captivity. Rumors of organ harvesting are abundant. Depraved businessmen and political elites alike claim that China has become “open” or “capitalist” only because the Chinese would glue together some dolls for a dime. I have little to say to them.

I correct myself, maybe I have. They show the ill of our times, the inability of some to recognize totalitarianism when they see it. After Donald Trump was elected some artists and newspapers tried to smear him with the attempt to link him somehow to George Orwell’s 1984. Trump had criticized left-wing news outlet CNN and that reminds of …eh… something in 1984. They urged theater visitors and readers to get a copy of the novel and find associations to the Trump administration.

It is the result of our humanities education that we learn to make up the most ludicrous links between whoever the opponent is to either the Nazis or some other darkish, dangerous entity. Most art and literature classes instill the notion that we can abandon what was actually meant by an author in favor of what the teacher wants to hear.

As a result 1984 is often just something darkish. The details that describe the world how it really is, the world George Orwell observed, are blurred. But the misconception that Orwell just wrote something darkish is as old as the book itself.

Aldous Huxley received a free copy of the novel and replied in a letter to Orwell that his vision of the future were more realistic and that the powerful would become more benevolent.

Orwell did not respond. I believe, he realised that Huxley did not understand his novel. 1984 was not about the future. It was about the present. The author fought in the Spanish civil war and experienced first hand how socialists turned around against their own peers to create a short-lived, local totalitarian regime. The only prediction 1984 makes is the internet, the screen that sees you and lets you see. The prosperity Huxley describes, if it ever came into being, is merely a phase, an inertia from the past, that would crumble under a dictatorship after a while.

But 1984 was not an antithesis to Brave New World. Huxley might have written a sci-fi novel, but Orwell wanted to write a warning. Huxley departs from reality to let the speculation materialize in a specific vision, Orwell departs from reality to avoid tribal folks abusing his work to only point their fingers against the political opponent. He wanted to force them to think about the concepts of dictatorship itself and on their own.

In his letter to Orwell, Huxley says that he does not believe in the picture of the boot that would stomp on a face forever. He predicted correctly that measurements would change to some degree.

The late GDR (socialist East Germany) hardly imprisoned or killed people. They tried to force people into submission or suicide with a system called zersetzung. They did not use drugs as predicted by Huxley, but future systems are likely to do that, too. But there is a concept that Huxley did not understand and that Orwell tried to get across unsuccessfully: People do love Big Brother. Really. And they love him not despite, but because he is evil. This is a disturbing observation and I must admit that I did not understand it myself when I read the novel for the first time.

Neither is 1984 particularly darkish, nor is Brave New World blindingly bright. People in 1984 do love their lives, sing the trashy songs, watch the wars as sadistic porn, rejoice the “minute of hate” with their comrades. This is the reality. It is not some darkish future. At one point the protagonist Winston Smith looks at the proles with their lotteries and vanity and thinks that they will never rise up, no matter how worthless their downtrodden lives are.

Both George Orwell and Aldous Huxley were socialists to some extend. Back in the day, it was the ubiquitous mindset. It is a myth that the ideas which we now call conservatism and which were once called liberalism were prevalent in the first half of the 20th century. Orwell believed that the economy would falter. He followed Marx’s theory in as much as he would expect “capitalism” to fall for economic reasons. Huxley bought into the Frankfurt School that claimed going to a market would distract you from actual problems. The Frankfurt School was very successful with this obsurdity and the belief is voiced by many people across the political spectrum all around the world.

Huxley’s big contribution was his warning that we should take into account the scientific findings that will be used by those who want to control the minds of the masses. If we only look at the dictatorships of the past and present, we will be unarmed to save us against their tools in the future. Will the world be like Orwell’s or like Huxley’s prediction? The answer is ‘yes’. It will be a lot like both.

Comments

Ryan Messano Added Dec 14, 2018 - 8:23pm
Very insightful, post, Benjamin. 
The Burghal Hidage Added Dec 15, 2018 - 4:01am
Correction: It is a lot like both.  Nice article Ben
Doug Plumb Added Dec 15, 2018 - 4:52am
1984 was about the present. Red vs Blue. USA vs Russia. I agree that it was about the present in all ways. Now we just have a new enemy - ourselves, wrecking the planet. We need the help of the government.
opher goodwin Added Dec 15, 2018 - 5:27am
Tommy Robinson is actually not locked up at all. He was out on the streets at the front of a fascist march in London last week!
Both those books are favourites of mine and stark warning of what happens if fascists, like Tommy Robinson, or other extremists ever get to power. I'd add in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale which is the chilling account of what it would be like if the religious nutters set up a theocracy.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 15, 2018 - 7:02am
Thank you Ryan, Hidage and Doug.
 
Opher, if you could read, the books would benefit you even more.
> Tommy Robinson is actually not locked up at all. 
> The intro is a bit dated cause the text appeared on target="_blank">27. May 2018.
opher goodwin Added Dec 15, 2018 - 10:18am
Ben - the books already have benefitted me. I've read them numerous times.
Locking up Tommy Robinson because he was in breach of a court order was perfectly justified. All fascists need opposing.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 15, 2018 - 10:26am
Opher, have you recognised that I made you aware of a contradiction of yours? It is always so hard to tell because it would require some honesty to admit that one had not read the text properly. You wrote as if I claimed Robinson was still in jail.
 
And, of course, Robinson is not a fascist and the left needs opposing.
opher goodwin Added Dec 15, 2018 - 10:37am
Ben - Tommy Robinson, the erstwhile leader of the English Defence League bootboys and thugs united, is as fascist as they get. He's got convictions galore for trouble causing and a bunch of mates who are fully seasoned football hooligans whose idea of fun is to kick the hell out of any passing Jews, Muslim or person of colour. Even the hard-right ex-UKIP leader Farage has left UKIP because of their backing for Tommy. He says it's in league with fascists and he wants nothing to do with it.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 15, 2018 - 10:53am
I can say to Mr Never-Robinson Farage that he may take care not be hit by the door. And football hooligans are happy to brawl with anybody of any ethnicity. Just direct them to the martial arts gym and make no fuss out of it.
opher goodwin Added Dec 15, 2018 - 12:03pm
My sentiments entirely regarding the obnoxious Farage. As for the worse Tommy Robinson and his fascist friends and bootboys the exit is even more welcome. I don't like fascists.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 15, 2018 - 12:45pm
I also don't like fascists. That's why I oppose the left whose thoughts are much closer aligned with the Nazis than Tommy's.
Ryan Messano Added Dec 15, 2018 - 2:15pm
 
It takes incredible brain rot to think Tommy Robinson's opposition of the death cult of Islam is criminal, but Opher appears to have advanced stages.
opher goodwin Added Dec 16, 2018 - 6:09am
Ben - very Orwellian of you.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 16, 2018 - 6:41am
Opher: No, it isn't.
opher goodwin Added Dec 16, 2018 - 9:00am
Hey Ben - black is white, hate is love, left is Nazi. Very Orwellian.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 16, 2018 - 9:22am
Opher: I don't swap the meaning of words. You do. There is absolutely nothing that Robinson does that is similar to what Nazis did except for things that the left also does because they are general political behavior. You don't want him to organize protest marches. Stop your own groups from organizing protest marches. Then come back. The Nazis were not about stopping mass immigration. They were also not concerned about Muslim grooming gangs. Hitler expressively cherished Islam over Christianity. You have nothing, but "my people have repeated something often enough so it's true". Wrong!
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 16, 2018 - 9:24am
And also Robinson shows a hell more respect for both Islam and Christianity than you. Hypocrite.
FacePalm Added Dec 16, 2018 - 1:26pm
Benjamin-
If i recall correctly, "Tommy Robinson"(not his real name, but one can find it on the interwebs) doesn't really have much respect for muslims at all; he not only read the Qu'ran, he wrote a book about it, exposing it's hateful ideology and the passages which give a free pass for the cruelty with which many muslims treat anyone NOT muslim.
 
What i read was that he first got involved when he discovered the muslim "grooming gangs"(really, kidnapping, torture, and pimping of girls AND boys to the British gov't "elites," in many instances), and began to oppose them vocally and occasionally, violently.
 
For his trouble, he's been arrested, charged, and had to go through courts and prisons multiple times, usually on charges that are complete lies or simply completely ridiculous, like the one last Spring when he was simply standing out in front of a courthouse, filming, and speaking of things ALREADY PRINTED IN MOST MAINSTREAM MEDIA, then was given the bum's rush, that is, arrested, tried, and sentenced in less than 5 hours, and NOT on the charges for which he was on parole, either.  He lost his business, nearly lost his house, and confronts uncooperative police as well as tracks down those who have posted hateful and violent messages about him and his family, since the police won't do their jobs in re: "hate speech" when it comes to Tommy, but will certainly arrest any and every little old lady who puts a foot wrong on internet.
 
In short, i LIKE "Tommy," and i wish him and all who support him very much good will, as they work to overthrow the tyranny that leftist Britain has unfortunately become.
 
As to Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair) and Huxley, i have to confess that although i have a few citations from the latter, i've never read "Brave New World."  Based on the "China model" the globalist pedophile NWO/OWG is endorsing and helping to spread (viz Venezuela), however, their dystopian visions seem to be well on the way toward becoming an unfortunate reality; the US is their only major opponent, with Trump near the tip of the spear--and WE have ubiquitous cameras everywhere now, too, not to mention all the "smartphones" and other devices spying on us 24/7. 
 
Had The Liar won office, the dismantling of America and roundup of Americans would likely have already taken place.  The Liar has no compunctions whatsoever about betraying America any and every time she can.  She's part and parcel of the deep state NWO/OWG scum, just like her 5th Columnist Rhodes Scholar hubbie, BJ Billy the Rapist.
Doug Plumb Added Dec 16, 2018 - 5:02pm
  Opher, not everyone who opposes the State is a fascist, in fact, someone who opposes the state is more likely NOT to be a fascist.
  I think that your thinking is a series of triggers that invoke Pavlovian responses and that really isn't thinking at all.
FreeEarCandy Added Dec 16, 2018 - 7:59pm
From the plow to the light bulb, social arrangement and behavior follow the tech. One may consider that it is not some government or bad actors that are totalitarian. It is the indispensable tech that lifts us all out of the stone age, and intellectual property rights of the people who provide it, that has taken totalitarian control of ones life. 
 
When the complexity of the tech reaches a level that renders most incapable of comprehending the applied science involved, the level of utter dependency on the intelligentsia will become total. When the tech reaches a threshold of complexity everyone's willpower will be rendered obsolete by virtue of their technological incompetence and instinct to survive. People will come to beg for totalitarian control.
FacePalm Added Dec 16, 2018 - 8:15pm
FEC-
i certainly hope your dystopian vision of the future is in error.
From what i've heard, the battle behind the scenes is between those who want a future for humanity, and those who want humanity to die.  The latter would be your OWG/NWO globalist pedophile scum; the former would be the nationalists, and this is where the battle lines are drawn...even if most only dimly sense what is taking place.
 
The NWO types allegedly want to avoid death by "uploading" themselves into the AI god they're busily creating and stuffing with as much info as possible from the "internet of things" - things which spy on us all the time, if we're unaware.
 
That was part of the beauty of Snowden, who revealed that not just phones, but teevees, radios, even washing machines and dishwashers are constantly listening and reporting back to base.
FreeEarCandy Added Dec 16, 2018 - 9:56pm
"those who want a future for humanity"
I hear this all the time but it all amounts to a sound bite. No one is offering any new ideas, so the word future does not carry with it the notion of any real change. Just the same old failing ideas. As the quote states: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and expecting a different result."
 
I hope I am wrong, but history is telling me different, and what I'm seeing and hearing is a rerun.
 
The mind is suppose to be mankind best tool for survival and this is why the intelligentsia are revered and protected. Ideas were meant to serve people. Now people serve the ideas and will kill anyone who threatens their ideology. The intensity of party loyalty is palatable and deadly.
FacePalm Added Dec 17, 2018 - 1:45am
"palpable," maybe; don't think i'll be eating any party loyalty anytime soon.
 
*grin*
 
"... mankind are prone to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed."
 
What it will take, i'm afraid, is a global "Nawp!"   i believe we're seeing the birth-pangs of such a Revolution right now, as the long-dreamed of and planned-for totalitarian nightmare scenario of unelected bureaucratic despots dictating the lives of the untermenschen is being utterly rejected, worldwide.
Dave Volek Added Dec 17, 2018 - 6:38pm
Benjamen
First off, congrats on this well written essay comparing these two dystopia authors. WB could use more essays like this.
 
I am a fan of 1984, and enjoyed the movie as well. I have been meaning for years to read "A Brave New World" and only got started a couple of times. It is on my son's iPad, but  . . . . . 
 
I am rereading Asimov's Foundation series. One prophecy he seems to makes is that democracy only has a shelf life of two to three centuries before it falls in on itself. Maybe we are seeing the beginning of the fall. 
 
Orwell predicts the distortion of the truth. And I got the sense from 1984 that revolutions really don't work out that well, despite their initial, honorable intentions. We need to go through a different process to move society forward.
 
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 18, 2018 - 6:43am
FP: Tommy has a three dimensional view. He grew up with Muslims and understands them. Pointing out the obvious problems does not mean a complete rejection. Muslims tend to be very welcoming and on most issues they are more open-minded than the left. It is easier to change a Muslim's mind in favor of, say, gay marriage than to change a liberal's mind in favor of gun rights or free speech. One has to dive into the milieus to see for oneself. Tommy is aware of the light and shadows and addresses Muslims as equals. I also see America as the last stand. Some hope is with the Brexiteers. I don't have as much trust in the French and the East Europeans. They don't have that tradition of liberty and don't know what principles it takes to defend it. Although some have the right spirit.
FEC: Technology can be used to control us, but it is not the main culprit. It is us.
Volek: Thank you, Dave. The whole idea of Western civilisation is to make violent revolution unneccessary because people come to voice their interests and elect their representatives to put them into practice. The Western system isn't a democracy. It is a republic. A republic has a longer shelf life. Polybios wrote about it. Marcus Tulius Cicero had a great book about it (de re publica). And you are right that the thing that is subverting it all is the deception. In war truth is the first fatality. I see people instigating chaos by their dishonesty and it amazes me how far they have come. In Europe nobody does even know what a republic is and how it differs from a democracy or a tyranny. These are exclusive US American discussions that only reach people in the UK. Where there is a language barrier people think our foundation was Athens, a system of randomly selected office holders (choice by lot) and mob courts. The truth that the Romans were never ruled by an absolutist king, had always a senate, and developed a very free society from which all our institutions, all of them, are taken is not taught in schools. That's how far deception goes.
FacePalm Added Dec 18, 2018 - 10:46am
Free Ear-
I hear this all the time but it all amounts to a sound bite. No one is offering any new ideas, so the word future does not carry with it the notion of any real change. Just the same old failing ideas.
 
Maybe you need to broaden your horizons; i hear new ideas all the time, especially for new power sources(probably because that's what i'm looking for, a way to reduce the neverending bills), but also different forms of governance, like the Venus project(i think it's called) and several others; Dave Volek has written a book on a new form of governance, as well, and he posts here.
 
But perhaps i don't know what you mean about "new ideas."
 
I DO remember reading about some over-educated ponce who solemnly pronounced - in the 1890's, to my recollection - that we may as well shut down the Patent Office, because everything that COULD be invented HAS been invented.
 
Yeah, right.
 
I hope you're not surrendering without a fight, too.  After all, that's the goal of Sun Tzu, to induce an enemy to surrender without a conflict, what he calls a "superior" form of warfare, if memory serves.
Katharine Otto Added Dec 18, 2018 - 9:54pm
Benjamin,
I've read 1984 and Brave New World a couple of times.  Re-read Brave New World and Brave New World Revisited recently.  Huxley was Orwell's teacher and claimed in his letter that his vision of the future was more realistic.  While Orwell relied on fear of Big Brother to control the proletariat, Huxley's Brave New World inflicted relentless pleasure, which Huxley said was equally humiliating.  
 
I see both elements at work in the world today, but your point about people actually loving Big Brother is a good one.  It does seem the populace loves its subjugation to "leaders," even if it complains.  The complaints seem impotent, because nobody has come up with a realistic alternative.  People seem to want "leaders" to tell them what to do and are loath to assume the responsibility of leadership (in any substantial way) themselves.
 
I also recently read that Tolstoy, in War and Peace, implied that some wars are fought out of love for the leaders (in this case the czar), not hate for the adversary.  
 
Dr. Rupert Green Added Dec 19, 2018 - 10:44pm
Thanks for an informative precis on the books. I always thought one of those books was about how select groups were taught to hate book and learning so as to have them as servants for the elites.
Jim Stoner Added Jan 9, 2019 - 1:50pm
Sorry I missed this one when you posted it.   I think you analyzed these two classics quite well:  Huxley came at the question of science and technology and how it will affect people's lives; Orwell at the effects on everyday people of where political power was viewed to be headed.  Both are full of truths, and I admire their contributions to our understanding.   Thanks.