Forget Nostradamus, Huxley’s prediction for the near future of America (and other democracies) is as spot on as it gets. While he lived during a period of brutal totalitarian regimes (Germany, U.S.S.R, China) he was able to envision the very different path that the U.S. would take to devolve into an oligarchy, and perhaps one day, a dictatorship.
He understood that there wouldn’t need to be a violent revolution to overthrow democracy. He saw the seeds of our demise beginning to sprout in the 40s and 50s as we grew wealthy and complacent and cowed in fear of communist infiltrations. “What’s good for GM is good for America” was the capitalist’s philosophy of the day as we exploited poor countries around the world for their raw goods. Eisenhower warned us about letting the military/industrial complex grow too powerful, but we were busy watching Leave it to Beaver and the Beverly Hillbillies and didn’t take his words to heart.
The 60s were a hiccup, a brief, unique moment in time when the people (young people) spoke up and demanded an end to war and discrimination, and the elites finally had to capitulate, although the victories were short-lived. The war in Vietnam ended, but then Reagan had to prove Americans weren’t wussies and the military grew and we found excuses around the world to use it. Reagan’s other contribution to society was cutting the tax rates for the wealthy, allowing them to grow in power and influence.
And here we are today, fighting a war on terror we can never win, bombing innocent civilians in foreign countries, allowing billionaires to buy political candidates, yawning as the government spies on us in every conceivable way, sedating ourselves and our children with “pharmacological methods,” distracted by Lady Gaga and the Walking Dead and a corporate news media as the surveillance state tears the Constitution to shreds. Without firing a shot, without mass arrests, the American deep government has succeeded in brainwashing a majority of citizens into believing they still live in a democracy, when if fact they are living in the “painless concentration camp” that Huxley predicted.
This is, I have to agree, the final revolution.
I rarely do this, but I came across this article in Talking Points Memo this morning and had to attach it to this blog
A new study from Princeton spells bad news for American democracy—namely, that it no longer exists.
Asking "[w]ho really rules?" researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page argue that over the past few decades America's political system has slowly transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where wealthy elites wield most power.
Using data drawn from over 1,800 different policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, the two conclude that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of or even against the will of the majority of voters.