Brave New America

John Perry Barlow, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, has written a very interesting rant about the recent congressional vote over extending the presidential powers for carte blanche war with Iraq. Here is an excerpt:

Despite the fact that we have been exposed to far worse during our history – whether by Bloody Old England, the Kaiser, Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, the Soviet Union, Red China, or, hell, France on a bad day – we have never before declared war without being attacked nor have we extended an American President the right to do so at his pleasure.

He goes on, pointing out the Orwellian overtones that the government and the media are spoon-feeding us, but then he talks about how the government, or Empire, as he calls it, is totally willing to just ignore us, because we are so unimportant. This wasn’t Orwell, this was Huxley.

Everyone brings up 1984, but apart from me, and Roger Waters, no one seems to remember the book that spelled it out like it is happening: Brave New World.

Lessee: Drugs replace desire for sex? Check. Government represses free-thought with entertainment? Check. Children are produced in bulk by genetic and tinkering? Check. Non-whites are considered savages? Check.

It may be a mix between Orwell and Huxley that we’re living in right now, but I do believe that the government, if we ignore John Ashcroft, would rather we amuse ourselves to coma, just because it is easier to manage. The media sleeps so well and cozy with our government, and both our government and our media are the biggest and the baddest out there.
Barlow gets it right near the end of his screed, but he never acknowledges Huxley. Of course, it doesn’t really matter in light of what is happening, but I just wanted to point out that I recognized this brave new pattern 15 years ago. Aren’t I so smart?

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