Huey P. Newsom recently sat down with Aldous Huxley to discuss the state of freedom in the United States. The Sacramento Brie has provided this transcript.
This is Aldous Huxley, a man haunted by a vision of hell on earth. A searing social critic, Mr. Huxley wrote Brave New World, a novel that predicted that someday the entire world would live as happy slaves under a dictatorship made possible by powerful drugs and propaganda. Today Mr. Huxley says that his fictional world of horror could be just around the corner for all of us. We’ll find out why, in a moment.
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NEWSOM: Right off the bat, let me ask you: Half of the American people are convinced we dodged a dictator’s bullet in the last election, and the other half think a fascist coup has already taken place. In your opinion, who, and what, are the “Enemies of Freedom” in the United States?
HUXLEY: Well, I don’t think you can say who in the United States, I don’t think there are any sinister persons deliberately trying to rob people of their freedom, but I do think, first of all, that there are a number of impersonal forces which are pushing in the direction of less and less freedom, and I also think that there are a number of technological devices which anybody who wishes to use can use to accelerate this process of going away from freedom, of imposing control.
NEWSOM: Well, we certainly have seen an explosion of devices – mobile phones that double as tracking devices, license plate readers, facial recognition cameras – that enable more and more control. But can you give me an example of one of these so-called impersonal forces?
HUXLEY: Well another force which I think is very strongly operative in this country is the force of what may be called of overorganization. Er…As technology becomes more and more complicated, it becomes necessary to have more and more elaborate organizations, more hierarchical organizations, and incidentally the advance of technology is being accompanied by an advance in the science of organization.
It’s now possible to make organizations on a larger scale than it was ever possible before, and so that you have more and more people living their lives out as subordinates in these hierarchical systems controlled by bureaucracy, either the bureaucracies of big businesses or the bureaucracies of big government.
NEWSOM: There is no shortage of hierarchical systems controlled by bureaucracy. Anyone in our audience could instantly name five or six. But don’t they make our lives better by creating and managing things like the Internet and worldwide Cable TV?
HUXLEY: Well, at the present the television, I think, where it exists, is always saying the same things the whole time; it’s always driving along. It’s not creating a wide front of distraction it’s creating a one-pointed, er…drumming in of a single idea, all the time. It’s obviously an immensely powerful instrument.
NEWSOM: We’re on television now, Mr. Huxley. Are we broadcasting groupthink – your quote “single idea” unquote – to our audience?
HUXLEY: I mean, what I feel very strongly is that we mustn’t be caught by surprise by our own advancing technology. This has happened again and again in history with technology’s advance and this changes social condition, and suddenly people have found themselves in a situation which they didn’t foresee and doing all sorts of things they really didn’t want to do.
NEWSOM: And, well, what do you mean people will do things they really didn’t want to do?
HUXLEY: But, if you want to preserve your power indefinitely, you have to get the consent of the ruled, and this they will do partly by drugs as I foresaw in “Brave New World,” partly by these new techniques of propaganda.
They will do it by bypassing the sort of rational side of man and appealing to his subconscious and his deeper emotions, and his physiology even, and so, making him actually love his slavery.
I mean, I think, this is the danger that actually people may be, in some ways, happy under the new regime, but that they will be happy in situations where they oughtn’t to be happy.
NEWSOM: That is a very serious charge, Mr. Huxley. Is it your contention that big government could collaborate with – let’s say – Google, Facebook, and big media companies like CNN and the New York Times to make people happy with censorship and oppression?
HUXLEY: Exactly, I mean this is the rather alarming picture that you’re being persuaded below the level of choice and reason. I mean what does a democracy depend on? A democracy depends on the individual voter making an intelligent and rational choice for what he regards as his enlightened self-interest, in any given circumstance.
But what these people are doing, I mean what both, for their particular purposes, for selling goods and the dictatorial propagandists are for doing, is to try to bypass the rational side of man and to appeal directly to these unconscious forces below the surfaces so that you are, in a way, making nonsense of the whole democratic procedure, which is based on conscious choice on rational ground.
NEWSOM: So we don’t know we are being persuaded to do certain things – vote for a certain candidate, give up certain rights, confront certain people in restaurants. What is the effect of all this on children?
HUXLEY: Well, I mean, here, this whole question of children, I think, is a terribly important one because children are quite clearly much more suggestible than the average grownup; and again, suppose that, er…that for one reason or another all the propaganda was in the hands of one or very few agencies, you would have an extraordinarily powerful force playing on these children, who after all are going to grow up and be adults quite soon.
NEWSOM: Are you talking about brainwashing?
HUXLEY: Well, after all, you can read in the trade journals the most lyrical accounts of how necessary it is, to get hold of the children because then they will be loyal brand buyers later on. But I mean, again you just translate this into political terms, the dictator says they all will be loyal ideology buyers when they are grownup.
NEWSOM: Everyone in America has witnessed the parents who bring their children to Pussyhat rallies, to illegal immigration rallies, to Bernie Sanders rallies. Aside from becoming ideology buyers, what other consequences can we expect?
HUXLEY: It’s a way of getting hold of the person and playing both on his physiology and his psychology until he really breaks down and then you can implant a new idea in his head. They receive an incredibly tough kind of training which may cause maybe twenty-five percent of them to break down or commit suicide, but produces seventy-five percent of completely one-pointed fanatics.
NEWSOM: I interviewed Earl Browder, the former chairman of the Communist Party USA, and not even he would subject his sons to such brainwashing. Why do people do it?
HUXLEY: Well, I think one of the reasons is that these are all instruments for obtaining power, and obviously the passion for power is one of the most moving passions that exists in man; and after all, all democracies are based on the proposition that power is very dangerous and that it is extremely important not to let any one man or any one small group have too much power for too long a time.
After all what are the British and American Constitution except devices for limiting power, and all these new devices are extremely efficient instruments for the imposition of power by small groups over larger masses.
NEWSOM: Do you think that’s why Progressives want to rewrite the Constitution? For instance, Hillary Clinton says quote “the Electoral College needs to be eliminated” unquote. To impose a great centralized power over the individual?
HUXLEY: Well, the…yes…if it…it’s feasible. It’s one of the tragedies, it seems to me. I mean…the voter in an enormous electorate field is quite impotent, and his vote seems to count for nothing. This is not true where the electorate is small, and where he is dealing with a…with a group which he can manage and understand…and if one can, as Jefferson after all suggested, break up the units, er…into smaller and smaller units and so, get a real, self-governing democracy.
NEWSOM: What do you think of the giant social media companies? Or, more specifically, are conservative users of their services able to engage in free debate in such virtual societies like Facebook and Twitter?
HUXLEY: It’s not a free society, but here is something very interesting that those members of the society, like the scientists, who are doing the creative work, are given far more freedom than anybody else. I mean, it is a privileged aristocratic society in which, provided they don’t poke their noses into political affairs, these people are given a great deal of prestige, a considerable amount of freedom, and a lot money.
NEWSOM: And the people down below, the “epsilons” down below…
HUXLEY: Enjoying very little.
NEWSOM: How long can such a situation endure if Progressives are the only ones who are not deplatformed?
HUXLEY: I think it can certainly endure much longer than the situation in which everybody is kept out; I mean, they can certainly get their technological and scientific results on such a basis. I think what we are going to see is er…a people on the whole with very little freedom but with an oligarchy on top enjoying a considerable measure of freedom and a very high standard of living.
NEWSOM: Certainly. But given your reservations about the overorganization of big tech, big government, and big media, what kind of society do you see emerging if America is abandoned to the Progressives?
HUXLEY: I think that one sees here a pattern which seems to be pushing very strongly towards a totalitarian regime.
NEWSOM: Mr. Huxley, thank you for spending this time with us. I wish you God speed, sir.
[To the audience]
NEWSOM: Aldous Huxley finds some parts of America – and particularly the blue states like California and New York – hurtling toward an authoritarian system in which the individual is deemed to be the enemy of freedom.
The crucial question now is whether the so-called free world is going to give Mr. Huxley the dubious satisfaction of being right.