Thursday, October 29, 2009


I do agree with both HH and the Swillers. I think our future is a mix of 1984 (only Big Brother is also looking for wrong-eating and wrong-energy-use as well as wrong-thinking) and BNW, with some "Some pigs are more equal than others" thrown in for good measure.

(I have a strong suspicion that the "some pigs are more equal than others" concept is what keeps certain individuals in favor of communist/socialist ideas: because they believe they will not be the ones forced to stand in line for six hours to buy a loaf or bread, or they will not be the ones forced to live in a depressing, monolithic apartment block. And they don't seem to particularly care that a lot of people WOULD, if we became socialist and it turned into a late-Soviet style of socialism). And I think it's the same idea that blinds certain celebrities to the irony of them jetting all over the world while telling their fans that it is "correct" to dry clothes on a clothesline, and eat vegetarian, and turn the thermostat down in the winter.

And then there's "We" by Zamyatin. I read that one, too, all I remember of it was that sex was outlawed (you had to request, and fill out forms, for permission to have it) and everyone was watched through giant windows. And imagination was outlawed. (Interesting that the author of that novel was, IIRC, present at the 1917 Soviet revolution)

There is no shortage of dystopian views of our future. And all of the Utopian communities ever established wound up failing. So I admit a hearty suspicion of people who would make a Utopia on earth, either by government fiat (the most common form these days) or everyone subjecting themselves to some sort of allegedly-appointed-by-God leader (the Utopian communities of the 1800s.)


Mr. Bingley said... had to request, and fill out forms, for permission to have it

Hahaha! I would make a joke about this being called "marriage" but then I also want to live...

Cullen said...

Were those forms filed in triplicate?!?

I'm always shocked at how much more we're like BNW. Sure, I don't think any one dystopian book is going to be completely prophetic, but it's increasingly apparent to me that Huxley was closer than most.

They're not going to take anything away from us. We're going to give it away.

Dave E. said...

"And all of the Utopian communities ever established wound up failing."

No, no, no...this time it will work.

What's that common definition of insanity again?

nightfly said...

Just yesterday I was discussing the general topic with a coworker. I said that I tend to agree with President Truman - the rough quote is 'experts never want to hear anything new because it would mean they weren't experts anymore.'

I'm more convinced every time I consider it: Utopians in general, and the current Administration in particular, are too academic and theoretical. The study things and come up with perfect systems that haven't got a prayer of working in reality; but because the system is superior, they doggedly attempt to create it. When their efforts fail, often in a ridiculous farce, they blame reality instead of themselves.

How many times have we heard it implied (if not outright said) that it's our own fault for not appreciating how wonderful someone's agenda is? How often do our elected officials act as if we unwashed citizens just can't comprehend their nuance? There's a class of error that only smart people make, and our political history, ever since Woodrow Wilson, is a long litany of such errors.

Idiots like me make different errors, but we're usually clever enough to stick to those and not invent new ones.

(w/v - "vingst" - angst requiring diffusion by wine, cf "I'm feeling really vingsty tonight; let's crack a Pinot with dinner."

Heroditus Huxley said...

I wrote about why I think Utopias don't work more than a year ago, at

People are not, and cannot be, perfect. As such, every attempt to re-create Eden (which is what Utopian ideals are) will fail. The serpent saw to that.

Mr. Bingley said...

HH, I agree 100%. The people who come up with these Utopias are, in fact, in a way more religious than those of us who believe because they believe in the ultimate perfectibility of Man while we know Man to be ultimately broken.