Our local WETA here in DC ran a program on China at 10 PM on Wednesday July 8, 2020 which frightened me and I suspect will scare any thinking viewer because it displayed about the real chance that it’s electronically feasible as is now happening in China to individually keep intimate track of everyone’s personal life in the same manner Aldous Huxley wrote about in his famous 1932 novel Brave New World and his 1958 essay entitled Brave New World Revisited.
In heavily surveilled China, jaywalking lowers your credit scores. #FacialRecognition
— Andrew Hill (@jazprose) October 1, 2019
Perhaps few of our younger citizens may know about either BNW or BNW Revisited but oldsters such as I found this powerful July 8th WETA China program proof positive that invasive electronic technological capacity has now made possible exactly what Huxley predicted.
Do we need more than the current example of China’s recent further takeover of Hong Kong?
Also you can view a recent TV version of Huxley’s famous 1932 novel which also ties in so well with my main point here, which is China’s new technological capacity and goal to create its Brave new world there and anywhere it can control.
A Sparks Notes summary of the principal points in Huxley’s novel were actually composed in the year of my birth, 1931.
The primary theme in Huxley’s novel is the central government’s use of technology to control society.
Having spent most of my working life working with a number of non-profit entities which advocate for women’s reproductive freedom, I found Huxley’s concern in his 1932 novel about the dangers of birth control most ironic. But he is clear there about the dangers of my main point of giving the state control over to new and powerful technologies. And more importantly, Huxley in his 1958 essay clearly changed his mind about the dangers of world population growth, something which obviously went unheeded. Already almost 3 billion then, it is almost 8 billion now.
Also referenced by Sparks Notes is George Orwell’s 1984: “This novel depicts a dystopia in which an all-powerful state controls the behaviors and actions of its people in order to preserve its own stability and power. But a major difference between the two is that, whereas in 1984 control is maintained by constant government surveillance, secret police, and torture, power in Brave New World is maintained through technological interventions that start before birth and last until death, and that actually change what people want. The government of 1984 maintains power through force and intimidation. The government of Brave New World retains control by making its citizens so happy and superficially fulfilled that they don’t care about their personal freedom. In Brave New World the consequences of state control are a loss of dignity, morals, values, and emotions—in short, a loss of humanity.”
As Wikipedia tells us:
Brave New World Revisited (Harper & Brothers, US, 1958; Chatto & Windus, UK, 1959), written by Huxley almost thirty years after Brave New World, is a non-fiction work in which Huxley considered whether the world had moved toward or away from his vision of the future from the 1930s. He believed when he wrote the original novel that it was a reasonable guess as to where the world might go in the future. In Brave New World Revisited, he concluded that the world was becoming like Brave New World much faster than he originally thought.
Huxley analyzed the causes of this, such as overpopulation, as well as all the means by which populations can be controlled. He was particularly interested in the effects of drugs and subliminal suggestion. Brave New World Revisited is different in tone because of Huxley’s evolving thought, as well as his conversion to Hindu Vedanta in the interim between the two books.
The last chapter of the book aims to propose action which could be taken to prevent a democracy from turning into the totalitarian world described in Brave New World. In Huxley’s last novel, Island, he again expounds similar ideas to describe a utopian nation, which is generally viewed as a counterpart to Brave New World.
Thus, as has now become so obvious, both Huxley’s 1958 essay and his 1932 novel seem perfectly confirming of what is happening in China right now.
Tyranny as recent history tells us can be initially beguiling. Premier Chi and other Chinese leaders are claiming their superiority over us as the result of our mishandling of the Coronavirus which is certainly partly correct.
When in the 1930’s Mussolini and Hitler made their trains run on time, we learned tyranny’s cost when they drove their citizens to war and enforced despotic adherence to their phony elitism status. And then used their antisemitic hate in Germany of Jews as a means of stealing their property.
China has moved major elements of its huge industrial economy to produce dominance in many world markets, a reinvention of mercantilism.
The mercantilism stems from the fact that so much of the base of their technological progress was possibly stolen from the USA and others.
Standard practice reported is about China’s use of big government subsidies to allow lower prices for its products of its international companies such as Huawei, now a world class competitor in 5G.
Such mercantile tactics are alleged, practices which have been able to undercut prices against those of the products of legitimately operating free market companies here in the US and elsewhere!
So how should we Americans respond? Certainly by being alert to any incursions into our personal freedoms, although it does not seem the US Supreme Court’s recent demand that Trump supply authorities with his Federal and State tax returns was inappropriate.
Let’s face it, it is becoming harder and harder to keep the freedoms we have in a world rife with constant invasive attempts to gain access to private personal information.
Perhaps the most important factor in saving our personal freedoms will be the level of the personal citizen participation Americans are willing to take to protect our democratic government at all levels. This coming election of a new incumbent should stand as the most urgent first step in assisting that future.
From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013
By Donald A. Collins
Publisher: Church and State Press (July 30, 2014)
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