From the May 2003 Idaho Observer:

Is our's a 'Brave New World' or are we in Big Brother's '1984'?

By Don Harkins

Whether we have read them or not; whether we recognize it or not, Americans either believe our future will reflect the Brave New World envisioned by Aldous Huxley or George Orwell's 1984.

Huxley (1894-1963), born into a prestigious British family, was a self-described anarchist. In Brave New World (1932) he described how technology would influence the near-future society. “Huxley pictured a society of the near future in which technology was entirely enthroned, keeping mankind in bodily comfort without knowledge of want or pain, but also without freedom, beauty, or creativity, and robbed at every turn of a unique personal experience.” (Encyclopaedia Britannica) The Huxlean anti-utopia is a clean, happy society of controlled and regulated automatons who haven't an original thought in their benevolent state-drug-prescribed-and-distributed brains.

Many modern Americans happily trade the virtual life modern technology provides for real life experiences and believe governments do what is best for people; willing to trade the freedom to succeed or fail on their own for a government that makes decisions for them. These Americans are Huxlean Brave New World-ists.

Orwell (1903-1950), also a Brit, was born in India where he became a superintendent of the Indian Imperial Police. By 1927 he had become so disenchanted with imperialism he politically aligned himself with anarchists and later European socialists. After several years of poverty and his experiences as a soldier in the Spanish civil war, he became a detractor of communism and wrote the anti-Stalinist allegory Animal Farm in 1945. By 1949 his general distrust of all political philosophies inspired the dark, angry and satirical 1984 -- “an elaborate satire on modern politics prophesying a world perpetually laid waste by warring dictators.” (Encyclopaedia Britannica)

A minority of modern Americans actively resist the machinations of dictators, war and the deepening cycle of government oppression. These Americans are Orwellian 1984-ists.

What do you believe? Is technology a good trade for real life experiences? Does government have the best interests of people at heart when it steals their individuality by regulating every aspect of their lives?

Do you distrust the intentions of politicians and the state of perpetual conflict that has given birth to a mean spirited, oppressive Big Brother capable of reading our thoughts and anticipating our actions?

Huxley and Orwell's future is now. Current events will soon reveal a benevolent technocracy or malevolent plutocracy. The annals of human history, replete with the misery of the common man, suggest the latter is most likely. Ironically, the vast majority of the world's commoners prefer to hope against reason the former is true.

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