From the January 2002 Idaho Observer:

From the Editor's Desk:

Mr. Huxley, meet Mr. Orwell

by Don Harkins

When you were in school, with which futuristic vision did you most closely identify: Aldous Huxley's happy “Brave New World” or George Orwell's less optimistic 1984?

I have no idea what the percentages are (and anyone who claims to know probably has some self-interested reason to lie about it), but America is divided. The division is between those who believe that America, the international guarantor of freedom and democracy was the victim of an unprovoked and unexpected attack of terror Sept. 11 (Huxleyites) and those who believe that the imperialistic foreign policies of the U.S. government were responsible for the tragic events of that day (Orwellians).

The division continues to sharpen as the post-Sept. 11 era unfolds. There are fewer and fewer people who occupy gray areas of apathy in our Brave New World of frightened Americans and 1984-styled information revolutionaries.

Those who believe in the righteousness of the U.S. government are strengthening their resolve to follow it blindly into world war and trust that its nationalization of travel, communications and commerce are necessary to keep them safe from terrorists here at home.

Those who believe that the pretended benevolence of the exploitive, militaristic U.S. government are becoming increasingly uncomfortable as Sept. 11 is used to justify spreading global conflict and the police-state alienation of civil rights and responsibilities that used to be self-evident truths.

The gulf that is beginning to divide us is taking on the proportions of the Grand Canyon. We are no longer divided along lines of “dissidents” and “conformists.” We are divided along lines of “patriots” and “traitors.”

Curiously, the masters of mass media mind manipulation have managed to attach the labels to the wrong foreheads.

According to the media, in order to be a post-Sept. 11 patriot, you must believe that the Civil War was fought over slavery and that all other references to historical and contemporary events, as taught in public schools and as reported in the dominant media, are accurate and unbiased. To be a post-Sept. 11 patriot, you must unquestioningly believe the government and its media mouthpieces and follow their dictates blindly. It would seem that such blind acceptance of information, much of which is contrary to the founding principles of our nation that defined the relationships between people and government, is a betrayal of those principles and tantamount to treason.

Those who have studied our history beyond what we were taught in school and have, therefore, learned how to more accurately assess the real meaning behind current events, are denigrated as traitors. Is it not one's patriotic responsibility to question the motives behind the government's retaliatory response to the events of Sept. 11? Is it not our patriotic duty to resist the unconstitutional police state that is being erected here at home?

All of us, patriots and traitors alike, are witness to growing conflict worldwide; we are all witness to nationalization of airport security and the increased likelihood that our phones are tapped, our email correspondence monitored and our freedom to travel limited; we are all witness to the (real or imagined) threat of biological terror and how the state may order detainment or medical intervention without our consent; we are all witness to violations of due process legislatively and judicially and; we are all witness to the transformation of the land of the free into the land of the ruled and regulated -- a land where the people live under a cloud of state-induced fear and paranoia instead of self-determined hope and joy.

America is divided. Mr. Huxley, meet Mr. Orwell. (DWH)

(I cannot claim to have originated the “Mr. Huxley, meet Mr. Orwell” line. It was borrowed from Dr. Tim O'Shea and his book “The Sanctity of Human Blood.”)

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