A Brave New World In 1984
The English language is beautiful in its complexity, dangerous beauty. Interpretation is an art in English, enough that you can paint your own pictures with someone else’s words. Orwell knew it. Aldous Huxley figured out how to control people without it. Unfortunately it seems the world’s governments have figured out how to use the ideas of both. In 1984 Orwell used “newspeak” while Huxley in “A Brave New World” just made everyone’s life just comfortable enough to not question. I feel only a small minority of the political spectrum is being truly honest in the current debate. Although all sides say that our course is unsustainable, they are demanding that more money be spent or that if we just lessen the amount of unsustainable growth of government we will be fine. Whether the two larger sides of the argument are acting politically or not, this type of statist philosophy is attained through things Huxley and Orwell wrote about, through active shaping of the populace.
Newspeak is so prevalent today I have to pick from only a few terms that have been victims of the practice. These two will be the term “liberal” and the term “Social Justice.” I have chosen them for very important reasons, they are both old and loaded terms that have been used in incredibly dynamic ways.
The word liberal comes from the word liberty. In Europe during the Enlightenment individuals who felt that people should have more control over their own actions were called liberal. That is what the word meant originally and is the reason why many on the far right consider themselves libertarian. The Newspeak corruption of the word began With F.D.R. when after half of the new deal was deemed unconstitutional; He tried to add 6 more seats to the supreme court in order to pass similar bills that had been denied. He chose to claim he wanted more “liberal” justices. He chose the word for two reasons, because after the abuses of Woodrow Wilson and his Progressive buddies the term progressive was negatively loaded, and because the laws he wanted passed were the opposite of liberal in its original sense and that was the reason half the New Deal was deemed unconstitutional. The modern term Liberal has become the polar opposite of what it meant, now liberalism demands more economic and social control over people. Mussolini for example hated liberal government because it denied government control, while modern American liberals demand control in everything including what your children eat, whether you have health insurance and whether you can wear an American flag shirt at an American public school.
“Social Justice” is a meaningless term. It has been in use since the turn of the 19th century, has been used by Islamists, fascists, communists and totalitarians before it was adopted by American liberals. It can literally mean anything. From what I have seen Social Justice is invoked when a government wants to do something that by itself, would be called immoral, but it is excused by claiming it is for the greater good, i.e. for the justice of all society. Honestly justice needs no qualifier. Social Justice is so vague in fact; you can use it to claim the morality for anything. If you want to dispose of a group of people, all you have to do is say they are bad for society, there in it is justified to kill them and so fourth. That kind of power is not “liberal” in its original sense, but social justice has been a term used by American Liberals to coerce the ability to do many things thought tyrannical by our founding fathers.
To keep on the social justice theme, terms like “open space” and “smart growth” are the same kind of undefined or open-ended term that social justice is. These programs are what has sent Bay Area housing prices skyrocketing, these programs for example quadrupled the housing prices of Palo Alto CA, in the decade of the 1970’s. That isn’t smart growth. Keeping “open space” for posterity is great, but when the consequence of an unlivable cost of housing causes farm workers in Salinas CA to live 9 people to one apartment society isn’t being helped. Basically the fruition of these laws is that rich, mostly white liberals make money and price out the poor and minorities. There is half the African American population in San Francisco than there was just 15 years ago and currently more African Americans die than move to or are born in the city. Not social justice in my eye.
What programs like “open space” and “smart growth” do is they provide money for the less fortunate, or affordable housing all of which is bad economically. It would be easier to not try to control what happens and let cities naturally develop lower income areas due to a reasonable cost of living, something the Bay Area hasn’t experienced since these types of government interventions started. Regardless of the damage these actions have caused the less fortunate, their newspeak terminology and the idea that they are giving to the poor makes people feel well, comfortable and good, that is if they don’t have to live in those places hardest hit and failed by an inevitably incompetent economic third party. This leads me into the Huxley side of my point. Make people just comfortable enough to not question. There are many ways to do this.
In Huxley’s book what is used is a removal of the family structure, drugs, sex and guaranteed food, shelter and work. In the book there was a biological caste system. The Alfa class was the hardest to control because they were the most biologically intelligent while the lowest biological class was the easiest to control, using guaranteed living, drugs and sex. We have only one biological class, human. Our class system is irrelevant to biological ability. Yet I see a Huxley like control system apparent. Regardless of the epic failure of government programs to help the less fortunate, these programs do control the helped populace. These individuals are stuck but their needs are taken care of, their animal needs that is. The STD and drug use rates of these communities’ shows that drugs and sex became a needed release or entertainment. These things are fun and addicting, even all consuming if you have a job let alone if you have none. These individuals are controlled with false comfort drugs and sex, which causes a breakdown of the family. Huxley would feel sick to his stomach thinking maybe his idea was used, but this particular idea has existed since the Ancient Greeks. Give people free stuff and take away their choices and they will be happy, for a short period.
Regardless of the extreme inhuman suffering of these groups leading to crime and at its worst riots, those that provide it receive a comfortable feeling at best and a megalomaniacal feeling with a need to protect these hurtful practices at worst. Through Orwellian newspeak even the most intelligent people can be fooled into thinking any program is for the best. “I live fine, I take care of those people, so I am like a protector, without me they would be worse off, I am more moral than those who would question and change things.” It is a type of moral comfortability. The Alphas of “A Brave New World” felt the same of the inferior biological castes. That false feeling of being a protector is incredibly pervasive and speaks to our most animalistic of instincts.
Unlike in Huxley’s book, when riots happen you cannot release drugs or “soma” in clouds from their government workstations. We are seeing what happens to a completely controlled populace as I type. In the U.K. where riots hit hard they have a whole lower class, many of which have not worked just in their lifetime, but their families have not had a job in three generations. People need liberty. People need choice and they need the ability to fail and suffer. We have been warned. Humans aren’t like a bear in a zoo that can be made happy with friends and activities to use up their time. It is in actuality about power and control. Read both books, especially “A Brave New World,” tell me that the scene when the teacher was instructing his very young students to stimulate each other sexually doesn’t make you question why the government wishes to teach your toddler about sex. This country is turning to a brave new world in 1984.