Thursday, August 06, 2009

There Is Always Soma, Delicious Soma

NeoNeocon says: As a young teenager of about twelve or thirteen, I read the novels Brave New World and 1984. I was absolutely terrified to the point of nightmares by the latter, but the former seemed more odd than frightening.

Yes, I could see that the society described in Brave New World was a dystopia. But compared to the far more horrific world Orwell’s imagination had created, Huxley’s vision seemed relatively pleasant, with the feelies and the soma and the sex. It was much lighter, and contained a certain amount of humor, an element notably absent from the exceedingly dark 1984

As I grew older, I came to understand that the two books described twin tyrannies, the yin and yang of dystopias (”Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice”). There was Huxley’s clamp of a science-controlled society on the human spirit, and then there was Orwell’s’ brutal stamp of the boot on the human face forever.

Freedom is what’s missing from either vision. Yes, if I was forced to choose, I’d choose Huxley’s world over Orwell’s. But both societies are nightmares. Obamaworld is not like that of 1984 (except for his habit of Orwellian Newspeak); it’s a kinder, gentler universe more like that of Brave New World, where people are ministered to for their own good, soft music plays in the background, and we’ve got sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Meanwhile, liberty is just as dead in that world as in the other.