I finally had a chance to finish reading Brave New World. If you have not read Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, then you should do yourself a favor and immerse yourself in the utopia made in Ford’s image — full of pacifying drugs, mindless entertainment, and unrestricted sexual freedom. While I personally doubt that any world designed by the actual Henry Ford would look anything like Huxley’s vision, Huxley’s depiction of a future full of conformity and comfort is eerily similar to today’s America.
I do not say that the two worlds are similar because we are a society in which all humans are engineered in laboratories and programmed as small children to fit different social classes (well… at least not in the same way), but because there are two important themes behind the futuristic despotism in Brave New World that find parallels in our society today.
The first of these is that we live in a society that silences dissent through the rewarding of conformity. Our government has not yet stripped us of our voice, but our society funnels our voice where it wants it to go.
When a person even begins to question the Progressive stances on issues of social justice, equality, and toleration, they are met with harsh reproach and are told that they are on the wrong side of history. But, if they switch sides, they become loving, tolerant, good people.
The government has not taken away our Bibles or political treatises that disagree with Progressive ideas. Rather, the Left has dominated public discourse by rewarding conformity with thunderous applause, and shaming anybody who does not follow along.
The nuanced idea that we can love somebody without approving of their behavior is no longer acceptable in our society which so desperately craves comfort and acceptance. In order to dispose of such level headed critiques, they are called hate speech. And who wants to be considered hateful?
I myself am growing increasingly tired of being labeled a hateful, spiteful, homophobic, islamophobic, transphobic bigot even though I know that my beliefs and attitudes have nothing to do whatsoever with fear and hatred. But that is exactly what the Left wants. They desire for the opposition to be worn down and demoralized, and greeted with open arms as enlightened, loving humans once the opposition abandons their beliefs — not because of rational persuasion, but out of sheer demoralization from personal attacks.
For those who have read Brave New World, this may remind you of Mufasa Mond banishing all dissenters to unpleasant climates in order to bring them back into conformity so that they can join the comfort of society once again. And that is exactly what happens within our society in a more figurative way. Upon voicing disagreement, one is made to feel cast out of society into the harsh realm full of savages with whom one could not possibly want to be affiliated, and not welcomed back into society’s warm embrace until you abandon your thinking and embrace comfort.
Love of comfort is the second way in which Huxley’s fictional world mirrors our own. Huxley wrote of a world in which people are free to engage in any form of leisure, immerse themselves in mindless entertainment that satisfies the senses without stimulating the mind, drown any anxiety in a drug called soma, and never have to worry about or strive to accomplish anything. They simply go to work, act as factors of production, and go home to lose themselves in comfort. This satiated existence keeps the government from ever having to worry that there will be unrest.
I fear that the same love of comfort has overtaken our own society. We as a people somehow believe that it is our right to have free healthcare, free education, material equality with our neighbor, emotional comfort under all circumstances, etc. The idea that we must strive and labor to accomplish something and lead a succesful life is long gone. We no longer think of “making a living.” We think of having a job and showing up for a few hours a day which somehow entitles us to material prosperity.
Even intellectually, we expect that we are entitled to comfort. Safe spaces and trigger warnings have grown rampant. We are so unable to handle dissenting views and opinions that even writing the name of a political opponent in chalk is enough to cause emotional trauma. We cannot begin to comprehend allowing such things to happen because it ruins our pursuit of the ultimate end of our existence — comfort.
Perhaps the parallel between Brave New World and today’s American society that worries me the most is that we so easily lose ourselves in mind-numbing drugs like soma in our pursuit of comfort. I am not just talking about substance abuse, though that is certainly a relevant issue. I am talking about spending endless hours playing video games, watching mindless television, browsing social media, and never doing anything more to educate ourselves on important issues than reading the occasional meme that pops up in our news feed.
We numb our own minds, and enslave ourselves to our own laziness. What more could any government possibly want than for its citizens to be pacified by endless entertaining distractions the moment they get home from work every day? Forget reading great political treatises, enjoying timeless pieces of prose, or even just reading the news from sources that aren’t sensationalized click bait. Instead, we consider ourselves educated when we watch the latest satire piece from a late night comedian.
Our government is not actively trying to enslave us because we are doing it to ourselves. We do not accomplish, learn, or strive anymore. We take what we think is entitled to us, conform to what we are told to conform to, and rest in complacency in our brain-dead leisure. Welcome to the Brave New America; where we invite conformity and dependence in the name of comfort.
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