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Fri Nov 27, 2015, 09:05 AM

Huxley vs Orwell who got it right? Comix

Last edited Fri Nov 27, 2015, 06:28 PM - Edit history (1)

I think its a little of both myself and disagree on some of the panels , however
it is an interesting supposition and enjoyed the comix


I'm gonna add this for a background


In 1949, George Orwell received a curious letter from his former high school French teacher.

Orwell had just published his groundbreaking book Nineteen Eighty-Four, which received glowing reviews from just about every corner of the English-speaking world. His French teacher, as it happens, was none other than Aldous Huxley who taught at Eton for a spell before writing Brave New World (1931), the other great 20th century dystopian novel.

Huxley starts off the letter praising the book, describing it as “profoundly important.” He continues, “The philosophy of the ruling minority in Nineteen Eighty-Four is a sadism which has been carried to its logical conclusion by going beyond sex and denying it.”

Then Huxley switches gears and criticizes the book, writing, “Whether in actual fact the policy of the boot-on-the-face can go on indefinitely seems doubtful. My own belief is that the ruling oligarchy will find less arduous and wasteful ways of governing and of satisfying its lust for power, and these ways will resemble those which I described in Brave New World.”........................................more


More; Huxley to Orwell: My Hellish Vision of the Future is Better Than Yours (1949)

http://www.openculture.com/2015/03/huxley-to-orwell-my-hellish-vision-of-the-future-is-better-than-yours.html





83 replies, 7174 views

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Arrow 83 replies Author Time Post
Reply Huxley vs Orwell who got it right? Comix (Original post)
Ichingcarpenter Nov 2015 OP
tk2kewl Nov 2015 #1
rhett o rick Nov 2015 #32
Enthusiast Nov 2015 #35
awoke_in_2003 Nov 2015 #65
cprise Nov 2015 #69
SkyDaddy7 Nov 2015 #73
Erich Bloodaxe BSN Nov 2015 #2
ejbr Nov 2015 #57
awoke_in_2003 Nov 2015 #66
leveymg Nov 2015 #3
nashville_brook Nov 2015 #4
CanSocDem Nov 2015 #7
lastlib Nov 2015 #10
NewtonO Nov 2015 #60
Ichingcarpenter Nov 2015 #19
hifiguy Nov 2015 #71
jwirr Nov 2015 #21
nashville_brook Nov 2015 #40
jwirr Nov 2015 #42
nashville_brook Nov 2015 #46
jwirr Nov 2015 #47
nashville_brook Nov 2015 #49
jwirr Nov 2015 #51
zeemike Nov 2015 #22
bbgrunt Nov 2015 #34
Enthusiast Nov 2015 #36
nashville_brook Nov 2015 #41
Enthusiast Nov 2015 #45
MisterP Nov 2015 #62
nashville_brook Nov 2015 #74
MisterP Nov 2015 #83
haikugal Nov 2015 #77
Bernardo de La Paz Nov 2015 #5
Bluenorthwest Nov 2015 #6
Ghost Dog Nov 2015 #27
mountain grammy Nov 2015 #8
JonathanRackham Nov 2015 #9
Nay Nov 2015 #15
lostnfound Nov 2015 #11
Fast Walker 52 Nov 2015 #44
Joe Chi Minh Nov 2015 #12
BlueMTexpat Nov 2015 #13
dembotoz Nov 2015 #14
Fast Walker 52 Nov 2015 #16
Javaman Nov 2015 #17
Name removed Nov 2015 #18
Ford_Prefect Nov 2015 #20
Ghost Dog Nov 2015 #30
Mendocino Nov 2015 #31
Enthusiast Nov 2015 #37
Smarmie Doofus Nov 2015 #23
stupidicus Nov 2015 #24
PatSeg Nov 2015 #25
SoapBox Nov 2015 #26
zeemike Nov 2015 #28
Scuba Nov 2015 #29
Overseas Nov 2015 #33
Enthusiast Nov 2015 #38
Nitram Nov 2015 #39
TBF Nov 2015 #58
shadowmayor Nov 2015 #43
malthaussen Nov 2015 #48
nashville_brook Nov 2015 #50
Nitram Nov 2015 #78
merrily Nov 2015 #52
tclambert Nov 2015 #53
bvar22 Nov 2015 #54
Dr. Xavier Nov 2015 #55
Thespian2 Nov 2015 #56
underpants Nov 2015 #59
Ichingcarpenter Nov 2015 #61
rwsanders Nov 2015 #63
Ichingcarpenter Nov 2015 #64
rwsanders Nov 2015 #75
Nitram Nov 2015 #79
nashville_brook Nov 2015 #80
Nitram Nov 2015 #81
Alkene Nov 2015 #67
paleotn Nov 2015 #68
maddiemom Nov 2015 #70
OnyxCollie Nov 2015 #72
CrispyQ Nov 2015 #76
malthaussen Nov 2015 #82

Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 09:15 AM

1. what about - they're both right? we exist in a putrid stew of the two

 

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Response to tk2kewl (Reply #1)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 01:06 PM

32. I vote they were both correct. nm

 

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #32)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 01:40 PM

35. Me too.

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Response to tk2kewl (Reply #1)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 08:55 PM

65. Yep, we have elements of both. nt

 

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Response to tk2kewl (Reply #1)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 09:46 PM

69. I agree.

Look at the way international news is reported... I think its very Orwellian. So is anything regarding military budgets and war crimes.

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Response to tk2kewl (Reply #1)

Sat Nov 28, 2015, 06:37 AM

73. Totally agree!

"we exist in a putrid stew of the two"

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 09:17 AM

2. I don't think there's an 'or'. I think they were both right.

It's simply easier to see the parts of which Huxley foretold than those of Orwell's, which at least try to hide themselves behind the curtain.

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #2)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 04:29 PM

57. + 1 for comment and plus +1000 for Bernie n/t

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #2)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 08:57 PM

66. Examples of the Orwell elements...

 

are a state of constant warfare against an arbitrary enemy, and the reshaping of the language. Hell, "entitlement", to most people in the country, no longer means what it used to.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 09:23 AM

3. Both describe the New Normal. 1984 for the poor, BNW for the

relatively affluent. Market-based Totalitarianism.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 09:33 AM

4. if this is something you're inclined to dig into, this is a great essay

the cartoon reminded of this -- I dug into Giroux's writing a few month's ago and this essay stands out as one of my favorites. while it's easy to attribute the Huxley frame to our current state of affairs, Giroux reminds us not to discount the Orwellian aspects. we actually have both. The Orwellian vision is most closely tied to neoliberalism:

"As the claims and promises of a neoliberal utopia have been transformed into an Orwellian and Dickensian nightmare, the United States continues to succumb to the pathologies of political corruption, the redistribution of wealth upward into the hands of the 1 percent, the rise of the surveillance state, and the use of the criminal justice system as a way of dealing with social problems. At the same time, Orwell’s dark fantasy of an authoritarian future continues without enough massive opposition as students, low income, and poor minority youth are exposed to a low intensity war in which they are held hostage to a neoliberal discourse that translates systemic issues into problems of individual responsibility. This individualization of the social is one of the most powerful ideological weapons used by the current authoritarian regime and must be challenged."


The way I see it, Huxley's vision has largely come to pass, while there's plenty more Orwell to be deployed in addition to what we already have in the form of NSA, militarized police forces, data collection, piss tests for employment, etc.





Orwell, Huxley and America’s Plunge into Authoritarianism
by HENRY GIROUX

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/orwell_huxley_and_americas_plunge_into_authoritarianisn_20150621

(snip)

In Orwell’s world, individual freedom and privacy were under attack from outside forces. For Huxley, in contrast, freedom and privacy were willingly given up as part of the seductions of a soft authoritarianism, with its vast machinery of manufactured needs, desires, and identities. This new mode of persuasion seduced people into chasing commodities, and infantilized them through the mass production of easily digestible entertainment, disposable goods, and new scientific advances in which any viable sense of agency was undermined. The conditions for critical thought dissolved into the limited pleasures instant gratification wrought through the use of technologies and consuming practices that dampened, if not obliterated, the very possibility of thinking itself. Orwell’s dark image is the stuff of government oppression whereas Huxley’s is the stuff of distractions, diversions, and the transformation of privacy into a cheap and sensational performance for public display. Neil Postman, writing in a different time and worried about the destructive anti-intellectual influence of television sided with Huxley and believed that repression was now on the side of entertainment and the propensity of the American public to amuse themselves to death. [13] His attempt to differentiate Huxley’s dystopian vision from Orwell’s is worth noting.

(snip)

Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley’s vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think. What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. … As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.[14]

Echoes of Huxley’s insights play out in the willingness of millions of people who voluntarily hand over personal information whether in the service of the strange sociality prompted by social media or in homage to the new surveillance state. New surveillance technologies employ by major servers providers now focus on diverse consumer populations who are targeted in the collection of endless amounts of personal information as they move from one site to the next, one geopolitical region to the next, and across multiple screens and digital apparatuses. As Ariel Dorfman points out, “social media users gladly give up their liberty and privacy, invariably for the most benevolent of platitudes and reasons,”[15] all the while endlessly shopping online, updating Facebook, and texting. Indeed, surveillance technologies are now present in virtually every public and private space – such as video cameras in streets, commercial establishments, workplaces, and even schools as well as the myriad scanners at entry points of airports, retail stores, sporting events, and so on – and function as control mechanisms that become normalized through their heightened visibility. In addition, the all-encompassing world of corporate and state surveillance is aided by our endless array of personal devices that chart, via GPS tracking, our every move, our every choice, and every pleasure.

At the same time, Orwell’s warning about “Big Brother” applies not simply to an authoritarian-surveillance state but also to commanding financial institutions and corporations who have made diverse modes of surveillance a ubiquitous feature of daily life. Corporations use the new technologies to track spending habits and collect data points from social media so as to provide us with consumer goods that match our desires, employ face recognition technologies to alert store salesperson to our credit ratings, and so it goes. Heidi Boghosian points out that if omniscient state control in Orwell’s 1984 is embodied by the two-way television sets present in each home, then in “our own modern adaptation, it is symbolized by the location-tracking cell phones we willingly carry in our pockets and the microchip-embedded clothes we wear on our bodies.”[16] In this instance, the surveillance state is one that not only listens, watches, and gathers massive amounts of information through data mining, allegedly for the purpose of identifying “security threats.” It also acculturates the public into accepting the intrusion of commercial surveillance technologies – and, perhaps more vitally, the acceptance of privatized, commodified values – into all aspects of their lives. In other words, the most dangerous repercussions of a near total loss of privacy involve more than the unwarranted collecting of information by the government: we must also be attentive to the ways in which being spied on has become not only normalized, but even enticing, as corporations up the pleasure quotient for consumers who use new digital technologies and social networks – not least of all by and for simulating experiences of community.

Many individuals, especially young people, now run from privacy and increasingly demand services in which they can share every personal facet of their lives. While Orwell’s vision touches upon this type of control, there is a notable difference that he did not foresee. According to Pete Cashmore, while Orwell’s “Thought Police tracked you without permission, some consumers are now comfortable with sharing their every move online.”[17] The state and corporate cultural apparatuses now collude to socialize everyone – especially young people – into a regime of security and commodification in which their identities, values, and desires are inextricably tied to a culture of commodified addictions, self-help, therapy, and social indifference. Intelligence networks now inhabit the world of major corporations such as Disney and the Bank of America as well as the secret domains of the NSA, FBI and fifteen other intelligence agencies. As Edward Snowden’s revelations about the PRISM program revealed, the NSA also collected personal data from all of the major high tech giant service providers who according to a senior lawyer for the NSA, “were fully aware of the surveillance agency’s widespread collection of data.”[18]

The fact is that Orwell’s and Huxley’s ironic representations of the modern totalitarian state – along with their implied defense of a democratic ideal rooted in the right to privacy and the right to be educated in the capacity to be autonomous and critical thinkers– has been transformed and mutilated almost beyond recognition by the material and ideological registers of a worldwide neoliberal order. Just as we can envision Orwell’s and Huxley’s dystopian fables morphing over time from “realistic novels” into a “real life documentary,” and now into a form of “reality TV,” privacy and freedom have been radically altered in an age of permanent, non-stop global exchange and circulation. That is, in the current moment, the right to privacy and freedom have been usurped by the seductions of a narcissistic culture and casino capitalism’s unending desire to turn every relationship into an act of commerce and to make all aspects of daily life subject to market forces under watchful eyes of both government and corporate regimes of surveillance. In a world devoid of care, compassion, and protection, personal privacy and freedom are no longer connected and resuscitated through its connection to public life, the common good, or a vulnerability born of the recognition of the frailty of human life. Culture loses its power as the bearer of public memory, civic literacy, and the lessons of history in a social order where the worst excesses of capitalism are left unchecked and a consumerist ethic “makes impossible any shared recognition of common interests or goals.”[19] With the rise of the punishing state along with a kind of willful amnesia taking hold of the larger culture, we see little more than a paralyzing fear and apathy in response the increasing exposure of formerly private spheres to data mining and manipulation, while the concept of privacy itself has all but expired under a “broad set of panoptic practices.”[20] With individuals more or less succumbing to this insidious cultural shift in their daily lives, there is nothing to prevent widespread collective indifference to the growth of a surveillance culture, let alone an authoritarian state.

(snip)


more at link


Henry A. Giroux currently holds the McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest in the English and Cultural Studies Department and a Distinguished Visiting Professorship at Ryerson University. His most recent books are America’s Education Deficit and the War on Youth (Monthly Review Press, 2013) and Neoliberalism’s War on Higher Education (Haymarket Press, 2014). His web site is www.henryagiroux.com.

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Response to nashville_brook (Reply #4)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 09:47 AM

7. And this is a great line:


"That is, in the current moment, the right to privacy and freedom have been usurped by the seductions of a narcissistic culture and casino capitalism’s unending desire to turn every relationship into an act of commerce and to make all aspects of daily life subject to market forces under watchful eyes of both government and corporate regimes of surveillance."


.

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Response to CanSocDem (Reply #7)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 10:02 AM

10. Boy, does that nail it to the wall!?!!

. . . . . .

. . . . . .

. . . . . .

. . . . . .

. . . . . .

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Response to CanSocDem (Reply #7)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 04:41 PM

60. Post # 7

And "statistics" based on a relativistic world views preying on the unthinking culture and driven by technology.

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Response to nashville_brook (Reply #4)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 10:32 AM

19. Giroux's writing

Are well worth your time........ thanks

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Reply #19)

Sat Nov 28, 2015, 12:09 AM

71. His is the clearest thinking

 

I have read in a very long while. He's a brilliant analyst and an inspiring polemecist.

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Response to nashville_brook (Reply #4)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 11:27 AM

21. When you read Henry Giroux you see that Orwellians are

using The Brave New World techniques to accomplish the authoritarianism of 1984. And it is working. Most of social media has little intellectual input and tends toward fear and hate. All the while we have few who realize how little we have to say about anything anymore.

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Response to jwirr (Reply #21)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 01:55 PM

40. that is a damn good point.

the orwellian surveillance state methods are still there, but we're opting-in happily.

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Response to nashville_brook (Reply #40)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 02:00 PM

42. And much of it is hidden behind Huxley. So many are so

busy watching trash tv that they do not even see where we are headed.

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Response to jwirr (Reply #42)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 02:17 PM

46. i have a physical reaction to the TV being on

my mother watched trash TV. after i left for school i never lived in a situation where the TV was on for "noise" ever again.

i will readily admit to keeping public radio on all hours of the day, in the past. not so much anymore. the older i get the more i need silence to think.

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Response to nashville_brook (Reply #46)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 02:27 PM

47. I have a huge tv screen in my room (where I live in grandson's

home) and turn it on only to watch Chris Hayes, Rachel and the Democratic debates. And then only if I like what they are covering. I would also watch if there are environmental disasters such as Katrina. My grandson wasted a lot of money he should have used on other things.

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Response to jwirr (Reply #47)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 02:44 PM

49. we are the same way. Chris Hayes, Rachel, debates

some DVR'd or binge-able TV like, we just watched Man in the High Castle and Jessica Jones. I'm a fan of Agents of SHIELD, too hey you gotta have some fun

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Response to nashville_brook (Reply #49)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 02:49 PM

51. I think the difference between trash tv and recreational tv

is when the watcher recognizes that there is a difference.

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Response to nashville_brook (Reply #4)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 11:36 AM

22. Damn that was interesting.

Thanks for the links.

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Response to nashville_brook (Reply #4)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 01:27 PM

34. thanks for this, k and r for the whoe discussion.

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Response to nashville_brook (Reply #4)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 01:43 PM

36. That should be banned.

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Response to Enthusiast (Reply #36)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 01:58 PM

41. i'm surprised it hasn't been already.

so...a little secret...i read the original articles at the dastardly COUNTERPUNCH!!! zomg! i actually self-censored and found a link that didn't go to COUNTERPUNCH in order not to freak out the authoritarians who think COUNTERPUNCH is a right wing conspiracy to take all their Hillary goodness away.

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Response to nashville_brook (Reply #41)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 02:17 PM

45. Hillary goodness is a soothing balm to my soul.

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Response to nashville_brook (Reply #4)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 05:14 PM

62. one thing I do is collect dystopias, so I can get into the "genealogy" of both

Huxley derived his hells from Zamyatin and post-1899 HG Wells; much of what we associate with the USSR was taken straight from Wells and the US--the kolkhozes were created to turn Ukraine into Iowa and Magnitogorsk and Ozyorsk built to copy Detroit and Richland; the World State and One State are a mockery of American-style technocracy, of Ford and Taylor; in the 10s and 20s Europe greatly feared becoming "Americanized," of losing its "integral" and spiritual aspects to the gum-popping dollar-chasing guys who turned even God into a penny sideshow; Nietzsche said God was dead of physics (and that that was false anyway), Wells assumed He only had 15 years to go: Huxley said everything holy would perish before a wave of carpet swatches and improved versions of the pub and the dance-hall (that was the big worry in America just before the fundie resurgence)

Orwell is directed more at 30s-40s Continental totalitarianism--the many aspects that Hitler and Stalin shared, plus a little "fantasy Catholicism" thrown in, now jumping the Channel and taking England; his own Catalan and MoI experiences (Hitler was in fact jealous of Britain's propaganda) reinforcing the idea of three strict, starved, identical, machinelike hyperpowers in a perpetual war; his main source was Burnham and Koestler, concentrating on a rule by baton from an outsider's perspective, a rule only by hunger and disappearance with no motive, with no way to build legitimacy

O'Brien wants to just smash your face (and soul) in to show that he can; Mond is dangerous because he *cares*; the Proles are quite ignored by the narrative (there's a leaky pipe and someone hanging laundry), while Huxley manages to answer the interwar question of "why no Revolution?"--the World State's economy has been rationalized and socialized to provide the goods that all too many think is socialism's end-goal, without any more striving or spiritual life: like the real Stalin, Mond quiets rebellion with vacation time and consumer goods (though without the real USSR's "submerged class" trapped, exploited, and starved outside the city walls)

Orwell was a perpetually-uncomfortable "lower upper middle class" reporter while Huxley was a freewheeling highbrow philosopher and a "legacy"; Orwell died as a "CIA socialist" while Huxley died in LA under heavy hallucinogenic doses on the same day as CS Lewis and JFK; both of them drew crucial and necessary pictures of the trends that shaped the entire century

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Response to MisterP (Reply #62)

Sat Nov 28, 2015, 11:55 AM

74. this is a real eye-opener about orwell

thank you for sharing! i had no idea he'd gone to the dark side like that. I'll have to dig into the rest.

dystopias are important b/c they help us navigate where we're at, right now, at the moment. i think that's the hardest part — recognizing and naming the moment you exist in.

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Response to nashville_brook (Reply #74)

Sat Nov 28, 2015, 09:54 PM

83. it was an extension of his "anti-totalitarianism"--which of course is what McCarthyism

and 45 years of Cold War were all about, right? everyone from Norman Thomas to the New Left developed in reaction to the image of the USSR; this is the era of the anti-Stalinist left and Cold-War liberals feeding all the problems we decry today--this goes down even to Arendt and Popper

so Orwell (and Paul Nitze) see right off the bat that there's a new Hitler in town and he just decided he wanted all of Berlin and Korea--first Greece and China and the Dardanelles and Persia, and tomorrow Mexico and England; he sees his List as a way to *prevent* 1984, as a way to nip the O'Briens and BBs themselves in the bud--part of the same project, of the same warning; when he said that pacifists' main enemy was democracy he meant it, like how we see Capra's "Why We Fight" as another example of propaganda but he saw it as the complete opposite

on top of this Orwell shares the tremendous interwar worry about England no longer "being England"--"Before the war it was always summer"; Tolkien based Mordor on his hometown (drawing later lefties' ire that he was worried about a little *pollution*), CS Lewis created a pungent parody of the deranged BCP cosmist scientists like Bernal with "That Hideous Strength" (the only fictional thing there was the demon in a decapitated head--not the decapitated head itself); in the 50s-70s Amis would even panic about pizza undermining this "Englishness" and would depict England ravaged under Catholic or Soviet dictatorships (that Austin Powers rant about the Dutch? barely a parody of Ian Fleming's xenophobia)

now Orwell's seeing Englishness--a socialist, not a reactionary one--getting lost at its very source, under Creel's propaganda, Bernays' social engineering (and advertising), Boulanger and Maginot and Hitler's revanchism and regimentation of the country into a big garrison, leftists letting themselves think and breathe only in Moscow's terms (an echo of the treacherous secret Papists getting their orders from across the Channel), classified *everything*, informers and spycatchers and barb-wire compounds throughout "homefront" London, and a passel of newfangled American and Continental ways to find out where humans' pushable buttons are; after the war Attlee is completely remaking both the role and duties of the state and the shape of the left

lost in all this is how a dictatorship works--the achievements that you can wring even out of the Holodomor, that which the endless political prisoners are said to be threatening; he took Stalin and Hitler out of their contexts, out of their needs and desires, their stresses and motives; even a black hole in a human figure like Jim Jones needs to build a structure to control and kill people, and that structure "conditions" their power; there's never any such thing as pure power--even with Salvadoran rape-murder death squads

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Response to nashville_brook (Reply #4)

Sat Nov 28, 2015, 02:00 PM

77. Thanks for this...

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 09:34 AM

5. Thought provoking. Thanks ! . . nt

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 09:46 AM

6. Both are right, 1984 is not really speculative fiction, it is allegorical reporting on 1948 and

 

George's own life. Brave New World is in fact predictive or speculative. So if we keep doing what we are doing in 1948 we wind up in a brave new world of idiots. Both are correct.

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #6)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 11:48 AM

27. Huxley's "Island" stresses the importance "paying attention"

(via the parrots). But dumbing and the dumbed-down appear to hold sway in the contemporary media-afflicted Western world. I've always thought the Proles in 1984 enjoyed greater freedom at least of thought if not of action, than did Party members such as Winston and his peers. Perhaps the same is true today, a brave new world of idiots all toeing the party line for fear of falling among the proletariat of poverty and perceived irrelevance.

Both are correct, indeed.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 09:54 AM

8. very interesting comparison here.

so much truth in both.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 09:56 AM

9. Answer c

All of the above.

The last two books I read in high school.

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Response to JonathanRackham (Reply #9)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 10:25 AM

15. I was in high school when I wrote an essay comparing and contrasting these

two books, just as was done in the cartoon. I guess I was way ahead of everyone else!! I've been seeing this coming for a looooong time, and now it's here . . .

P.S. I loved Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death -- a great book.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 10:03 AM

11. Neil Postman is thought provoking

Building a Bridge to the 19th century talks about the literacy of the public was so essential for American democracy -- serial, logical thought.

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Response to lostnfound (Reply #11)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 02:03 PM

44. and "Amusing ourselves to death"

 

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 10:08 AM

12. Huxley's truth is primordial; Orwell's truth exploits and builds on it, imo.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 10:14 AM

13. Thanks for this post and

I also thank Poster #4 for a great find.

I concur with many here: today's society definitely has aspects of both.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 10:23 AM

14. both not mutually exclusive..curse you for making me think today

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 10:29 AM

16. seems like we got the worst of both dystopian worlds

 

hard to even know how to stop this insanity, if it's even possible.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 10:29 AM

17. 70% Huxley 30% Orwell

But that's not hard and fast. I think it changes from day to day.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 11:16 AM

20. We're all Bozos on this bus!

I follow the teachings of the Noble Firesign: It's all about the mural depicting the struggle of the little guy to complete the Mural.

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Response to Ford_Prefect (Reply #20)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 11:52 AM

30. The mural is fractal.

So is the little guy.

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Response to Ford_Prefect (Reply #20)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 11:53 AM

31. Life is nothing

but a two bit ring from a crackerback jox.

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Response to Ford_Prefect (Reply #20)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 01:45 PM

37. +1!

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 11:36 AM

23. Kick, rec, and saved. n/t

 

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 11:40 AM

25. I agree

with those who say "both" were right. What a horrifying mix of Huxley and Orwell we have created.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 11:47 AM

26. Yikes...

What the hell else can I say.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 11:51 AM

28. K&R

I think both too, but it seems to me that Orwell focused more on language and never explained how his Big Brother world came about.
Huxley focused on culture and showed how Orwell's world could come about.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 11:52 AM

29. K&R for the cartoon and for Post #4.

 

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 01:23 PM

33. K&R. Well said. Both were amazingly prescient.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 01:47 PM

38. Kicked and recommended to the Max!

To the MAX!

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 01:54 PM

39. A very interesting discussion but...

...it leaves out a vital part of Orwell's vision. Orwell predicted that the use of misinformation, disinformation, half-truths, lies and double-speak would manipulate and divide the masses, making them easier to control. Orwell's view accounts for the Tea Party and the modern GOP tendency to use wedge issues and conspiracy theories to frighten their base into voting against their own self-interest. Huxley's did a better job of anticipating the hold that advertising and corporations would have on the public, manipulating and distracting us to prevent organized opposition to corporate power.

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Response to Nitram (Reply #39)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 04:33 PM

58. I agree -

I think we have many elements both feared occurring right now.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 02:01 PM

43. Meat and Potatoes

I was set to read an excellent article about the dark hand of power that controls our financial and military realm, but then I got a text and saw an ad for a cool car. Next thing I know, I had spent 30 minutes looking at kittens, bouncing boobies, video games, and touchdown runs . . . what we're we talking about? Oh well, there's plenty of food left over and the wife is out shopping. Back to the next game on TV and commercials with babies telling me I ought to buy some more stock. Did I remember to take my pills? A double dose of Soma should be grand. And I don't like the look of my new neighbors either. Think I'll clean my guns again.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 02:36 PM

48. Frederic Pohl

You should read Narabedla, Inc sometime. Of course, Pohl was writing in the eighties, so he could be said to be less prescient than Messers Huxley or Orwell.

-- Mal

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Response to malthaussen (Reply #48)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 02:48 PM

50. totally checking this out!

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Response to malthaussen (Reply #48)

Sat Nov 28, 2015, 04:02 PM

78. Another excellent dystopian novel was...

...The Space Merchants by Pohl and Kornbluth that was first published in 1952. Among other things, it featured vending machines that sold three items with addictive additives. Advertising conditioned the public to crave a smoke after you ate the candy bar, and a soft drink after the smoke, which in turn led to a craving for the candy bar - creating a vicious cycle of consumption.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 02:53 PM

52. Ah, the question that will not die: Huxley or Orwell? The correct answer is Burgess. nt

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Response to merrily (Reply #52)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 03:11 PM

53. Burgess Meredith: "Women weaken legs!"

I'm betting you mean Anthony Burgess and A Clockwork Orange. (Dammit, now I've got "I'm Singing in the Rain" stuck in my head.)

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 03:26 PM

54. I was going to finish reading your post,

but it was too hard.....and American Idol was coming on.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 03:54 PM

55. Fascinating read

I would venture to say that both got it right but not in the way each predicted. Let me explain, while Huxley argued that we would be bred into our special class and station, Orwell said that we would come to our current status through our innate need to believe in something. We see evidence of both, in one particular class: low income whites, who vote Republican. Bubba and Tammy Sue are in the stores today to celebrate Black Friday, heck, they're probably working right now, but come Monday they'll be ranting on the War on the Christian Christmas. And they buy into it: hook, line, and sinker.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 04:02 PM

56. Thanks for this...

one of the best posts I have seen in a while...


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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 04:36 PM

59. Interesting

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 04:45 PM

61. I think this would make a fascinating documentary

including the brilliant additions added in this thread.

The Graphic Artist of this comix gives an excellent storyboard on how the director should follow the narrative and there is plenty out there in additional material and media to reaffirm the story visually

Now if I could only get Benedict Cumberbatch to narrate it.

I can already think of some music that should go with it
Peter Gabriel 's Games Without Frontiers and some Genesis songs only because I liked them and I'm listening to and semi watching their documentary Genesis: Together and Apart right now....... but their are other great artists that would do it justice.

Well ......... I'm glad some enjoyed the comix.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 05:33 PM

63. Bradbury and Fahrenheit 451 are often forgotten in these comparisons, and he was just as prescient.

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Response to rwsanders (Reply #63)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 06:07 PM

64. Although Fahrenheit 451 written in 1952 is a great piece of literature

I don't think it touched upon as many themes which this comix described with either Huxley or Orwell. Don't forget Huxley wrote that in 1931 and Orwell did his piece in 1949. The other thing is both Orwell and Huxley corresponded with each other in regards to the Hell they created

As you can read in this piece


Huxley to Orwell: My Hellish Vision of the Future is Better Than Yours (1949)
http://www.openculture.com/2015/03/huxley-to-orwell-my-hellish-vision-of-the-future-is-better-than-yours.html


So as you can see they argued many years on this which is what this comix is about............


But I would be interested on how you would do that in each panel.
It would be a good literature assignment but I think 451 would be lacking although it touch on conformity and compliance.

I think Phillip K Dick was a much better writer and visionary than Bradbury.
I need to say I do put Bradbury up there on SF. Now that would make an interesting comparison.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Reply #64)

Sat Nov 28, 2015, 12:45 PM

75. I didn't realize there was a relationship between Huxley and Orwell, but...

I still think Bradbury would hold his own in the comparison. I think there are themes that he hit that the others missed. I think he caught the isolation of individuals and the destruction of family units as entertainment became more personalized; and I think one of the most brilliant moments was where the police really didn't care who was caught as long as they could look good on camera catching "Montag". Almost forgot, another concept that was just completely amazing that he included was the rigging of the elections by providing one clean-cut visually appealing candidate, and his "opposition" (intended to lose) was a slovenly man named "Hogg" and how Montag's wife and friends were oblivious to the set up. On the technical side, he caught the small earphones, large screen TVs, and I think his version of surveillance is the closest to what we have now.
"Better writer" may be a matter of taste or maybe I'm too simple minded as a reader, but after reading "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep", I haven't wanted to read anything else by Dick, although I loved the movie.
Again, I didn't realize the reason that Orwell and Huxley are compared so often is the relationship and the almost directly oppositional views of totalitarianism, but I'm still most fond of Bradbury.

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Response to rwsanders (Reply #75)

Sat Nov 28, 2015, 04:32 PM

79. Dick had the most briliantly paranoid and dystopian imagination of any SF writer, but...

...his writing is often terrible. His characters are always flat, his plots disjointed and the vast majority of his writing style is awkward, trite or just plain dull. "The Man in the High Castle" was his most readable, although I admit I read everything of his I could get my hands on. He had the best ideas, the darkest visions and the most paranoid take on reality of anybody.

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Response to Nitram (Reply #79)

Sat Nov 28, 2015, 05:22 PM

80. totally agree -- i take guilty pleasure in his stuff being re-imagined

in film, often better than his original writing. and that's not necessarily a knock on the writer. i think it's easier for visual artists to communicate some of what he's after. there were inherent limits to the style and the form he was using. plus, he was trying to figure things out as he went along, which doesn't always make for great storytelling.

we just watched Radio Free Albemuth last night -- which was pretty bad as a movie. if you view it as a visualization of one of writing, though, it's interesting and not too horrible. I'm still thinking about it. there's just too much there to treat in a 90-minute movie. it needs to be spread out over 20 episodes or more. there needs to be a ton more backstory, and character building. i want to know everything about the west coast he's writing about, and everything about the alternate version of "America" that's glossed over. there could hours of material just on the satellite and on his gnosticism.

the visual treatment of Blade Runner really cracked this equation b/c it gave shape to his post-captalist vision and culture mash-up sensibility. The Man In The High Castle benefits from this visual history and builds on it.

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Response to nashville_brook (Reply #80)

Sat Nov 28, 2015, 06:40 PM

81. Yes, Dick laid the perfect foundation for some great SF movies. He was an idea man.

I thought Thirteen Monkeys was one of most Dickian (?).

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 09:12 PM

67. What you need is a gramme of soma.

Because a gramme is better than a damn.
All the advantages of Christianity and alcohol; none of their defects.


(Obviously I lean toward Huxley via Chomsky)

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 09:17 PM

68. Thanks for posting this. Very interesting stuff....

....Given our culture's focus on individualism, I'd say both are correct, but at different points in time. It's a take on the old adage of a frog in a pot. Huxley to lull us into the present stupor. Once it's perceived as impossible to make a significant change in trajectory, the gloves come off. Authoritarians will be authoritarians after all. They enjoy brutal suppression and grow weary of of the present velvet gloves.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Nov 27, 2015, 10:28 PM

70. Thanks!

(To me) a truly fascinating insight and new information.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Sat Nov 28, 2015, 12:32 AM

72. Two different, yet equally valid, views on totalitarianism.

 

Review Articles TOTALITARIANISM The Revised Standard Version By ROBERT BURROWES*

Carl J. Friedrich and Zbigniew K. Brzezinski, Totalitarian Dictatorship and Autocracy, 2nd edition, revised by Carl J. Friedrich, Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, i965, 439 pp. $9.95.

{I}nstead of explicitly defining totalitarianism connotatively, they have chosen to identify totalitarianism in terms of a set of six interrelated traits or characteristics -Friedrich's oft-referred-to "totalitarian syndrome" (9-10).25 The syndrome includes an official ideology, a single party typically led by one man, a terroristic police, a communications monopoly, a weapons monopoly and a centrally directed economy.

Most surprising, particularly in the light of the emphasis he places upon utopian ideology, is his assertion in his recent paper that ultimately "totalitarian regimes will probably resemble other governments as far as their ends or objectives are concerned."36

~snip~

"Not only does industrialization produce the technical instruments required by totalitarianism, chiefly the modern military weapons and means of communications; it alone can create the need and desire of certain groups for the use of totalitarian methods."47 Ordinarily, industrialization is accompanied by the growth of political parties, trade unions, and many other types of voluntary associations representing the interests of their membership. Totalitarianism grows out of the attempt to make the maintenance or even the acceleration of industrialization compatible with the prevention of the growth of such organization, or their suppression where they have already grown. In short, totalitarianism is "a way of eating one's cake and having it, too -of having industrialization and yet retaining or establishing authoritarian government."48


Totalitarianism is a system where technologically advanced instruments of political power are wielded without restraint by centralized leadership of an elite movement, for the purpose of effecting a total social revolution, including the conditioning of man, on the basis of certain arbitrary ideological assumptions proclaimed by the leadership, in an atmosphere of coerced unanimity of the entire population (p. 754).

Conceivably totalitarianism may become, because of the factors suggested and in spite of the Nazi experience, rationalistic and hence less unpredictable, arbitrary and openly terroristic. But there is no evidence to suggest that this in itself is incompatible with totalitarianism, which need not be interpreted, as H. Arendt seems inclined to do, in terms of irrational terror almost for the sake of terror. Such a rationalist system, arising in the context of one-party domination (not to mention international pressures), could be nothing less than a rationalist dictatorship, just as total in control as its less predictable and more violent antecedent of the thirties.

{T}o be less totalitarian such operations would have to involve some degree of withdrawal on the part of those in charge from their commitment to total social and economic engineering, thus granting to those living under the system the opportunity to make important choices not in keeping with the goal.

But such a politically meaningful development would in turn involve a further condition, which at the present appears highly unlikely, namely the decline of ideology and a basic reconsideration of the firmly instituted schemes of economic development. Barring that, the totalitarian economic system would continue to exert pressures for the maintenance of a dictatorship capable of enforcing the kind of discipline that such total plans demand. It is doubtful that as long as the party remains in power the tendency of the regime to stress unattainable goals will vanish. Indeed, it is these goals, inherent in the current ideology, which justify to the population the sacrifices which the party's domination involves. Thus, as long as the party continues to hold its successful grip on the instruments of power, we can expect it to continue stressing first the long-range goals of an ultimate utopia, and then the consequent sacrifices to achieve them, even though possibly at a diminishing rate of effort.

Brzezinski, Z. (1956). Totalitarianism and rationality. The American Political Science Review, 50(3), 751-763.


{The Origins of Totalitarianism}: A Reply. Author: Hannah Arendt Source: The Review of Politics, 15(1) (Jan., 1953) pp. 76 - 84.

Thus my first problem was how to write historically about something-totalitarianism-which I did not want to conserve but on the contrary felt engaged to destroy. My way of solving this problem has given rise to the reproach that the book was lacking in unity. What I did -and what I might have done anyway because of my previous training and the way of my thinking-was to discover the chief elements of totalitarianism back in history as far as I deemed proper and necessary. That is, I did not write a history of totalitarianism but an analysis in terms of history; I did not write a history of antisemitism or of imperialism, but analyzed the element of Jew-hatred and the element of expansion insofar as these elements were still clearly visible and played a decisive role in the totalitarian phenomenon itself. The book, therefore, does not really deal with the "origins" of totalitarianism - as its title unfortunately claims - but gives a historical account of the elements which crystallized into totalitarianism, this account is followed by an analysis of the elemental structure of totalitarian movements and domination itself. The elementary structure of totalitarianism is the hidden structure of the book while its more apparent unity is provided by certain fundamental concepts which run like red threads through the whole.

The same problem of method can be approached from another side and then presents itself as a problem of "style." This has been praised as passionate and criticized as sentimental. Both judgments seem to me a little beside the point. I parted quite consciously with the tradition of [i[sine ira et studio of whose greatness I was fully aware, and to me this was a methodological necessity closely connected with my particular subject matter.

Let us suppose - to take one among many possible examples -that the historian is confronted with excessive poverty in a society of great wealth, such-as the poverty of the British working classes during the early stages of the industrial revolution. The natural human reaction to such conditions is one of anger and indignation because these conditions are against the dignity of man. If I describe these conditions without permitting my indignation to interfere, I have lifted this particular phenomenon out of its context in human society and have thereby robbed it of part of its nature, deprived it of one of its important inherent qualities. For to arouse indignation is one of the qualities of excessive poverty insofar as poverty occurs among human beings. I therefore can not agree with Professor Voegelin that the "morally abhorrent and the emotionally existing will overshadow the essential," because I believe them to form an integral part of it. This has nothing to do with sentimentality or moralizing although, of course, either can become a pitfall for the author. If I moralized or became sentimental, I simply did not do well what I was supposed to do, namely to describe the totalitarian phenomenon as occurring, not on the moon, but in the midst of human society. To describe the concentration camps sine ira is not to be "objective," but to condone them; and such cannot be condoning changed by a condemnation which the author may feel duty bound to add but which remains unrelated to the description itself. When I used the image of Hell, I did not mean this allegorically but literally: it seems rather obvious that men who have lost their faith in Paradise, will not be able to establish it on earth; but it is not so certain that those who have lost their belief in Hell as a place of the hereafter may not be willing and able to establish on earth exact imitations of what people used to believe about Hell. In this sense I think that a description of the camps as hell on earth is more "objective," that is, more adequate to their essence than statements of a purely sociological or psychological nature.

~snip~

Reflections of this kind, originally caused by the special nature of my subject, and the personal experience which is necessarily involved in an historical investigation that employs imagination consciously as an important tool of cognition, resulted in a critical approach toward almost all interpretation of contemporary history. I hinted at this in two short paragraphs of the Preface where I warned the reader against the concepts of Progress and of Doom as "two sides of the same medal" as well as against any attempt at "deducing the unprecedented from precedents." These two approaches are closely interconnected. The reason why Professor Voegelin can speak of "the putrefaction of Western civilization" and the "earthwide expansion of Western foulness" is that he treats "phenomenal differences" which to me as differences of factuality are all-important-as minor outgrowths of some "essential sameness" of a doctrinal nature. Numerous affinities between totalitarianism and some other trends in Occidental political or intellectual history have been described with this result, in my opinion: they all failed to point out the distinct quality of what was actually happening. The "phenomenal differences," far from "obscuring" some essential sameness, are those phenomena which make totalitarianism "totalitarian," which distinguish this one form of government and movement from all others and therefore can alone help us in finding its essence. What is unprecedented in totalitarianism is not primarily its ideological content, but the event of totalitarian domination itself. This can be seen clearly if we have to admit that the deeds of its considered policies have exploded our traditional categories of political thought (totalitarian domination is unlike all forms of tyranny and despotism we know of) and the standards of our moral judgment (totalitarian crimes are very inadequately described as "murder" and totalitarian criminals can hardly be punished as "murderers".


Review Articles TOTALITARIANISM The Revised Standard Version By ROBERT BURROWES*

Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, 3rd edition, New York, Harcourt, Brace & Company, i966, 526 pp. $8.75.

Arendt's explication moves logically from the non-essential to the essential: from the ascendant totalitarian movement in a nontotalitarian society, to "imperfect" totalitarianism in power, and finally to the "perfected terror" of the concentration camp. The consuming drive for "total domination and global rule" is explained by the fact that totalitarianism remains imperfect and vulnerable as long as the "concentration-camp society" is not coextensive with the entire world.

What she says of the concentration camp might equally be said of her conception of totalitarianism in general: It resembles nothing so much as "medieval pictures of Hell" (447) 22


28 Words of Hate: Rotting In Guantánamo/Hell
http://www.commondreams.org/further/2015/02/09/28-words-hate-rotting-guantanamohell

On Monday, an already-drawn-out pre-trial hearing for five men accused of conspiring in the 9/11 attacks suddenly went into abrupt recess after detainees said they recognized a courtroom translator as a former CIA worker at one of its black sites. The halt in the proceedings was only one glitch among many facing Guantánamo trials - from mounting backlogs to unwieldy travel to and from Cuba to the FBI’s reported attempted infiltration of defense counsel - recently revealed to be costing US taxpayers at least a whopping $7,600 per minute, or $2,294,117 per day. Though the tribunals only met 34 days last year, they cost over $78 million. That's in addition to the cost of continuing to hold 122 men at Gitmo for an estimated $3.5 million per detainee.

For many, those insane financial costs pale before the even more egregious moral and legal ones. A Senate hearing on a bill that would effectively block the executive branch’s ability to transfer or release those currently still held featured much talk of threats, terrorism and national security. Lacking in the discussion, some noted, was any mention of the human cost of holding so many men under such brutal conditions for so long - up to 13 years - who have never been found guilty of or even charged with a crime - and about half of whom were cleared years ago by the same government that imprisoned them in the first place.

Enter freshman wacko winger Sen. Tom Cotton, who was actually elected. Cotton seemed to stun military officials with his bizarre, pretzel-logic that because terrorism pre-dated Gitmo, how could Gitmo possibly inspire yet more terrorism and anger at the U.S., as opponents often argue. The astute Cotton also seems to have missed the possible connection between the orange jumpsuits worn by ISIS terrorists and prisoners at Guantánamo. Showing a startling level of acumen and empathy, he went onto declare, “In my opinion the only problem with Guantánamo Bay is there are too many empty beds and cells there right now...As far as I’m concerned, every last one of them can rot in Hell, but as long as they don’t do that they can rot in Guantanamo Bay.”

Some reported the room seemed "oddly quiet" after he spoke those "28 words of hate." Later, lawyers for some of the detainees noted that Cotton in his "reflexive hatred" of their clients didn't seem to get that Guantánamo is, in fact, the same as hell for them. The lawyer for Tariq Ba Odah noted his client arrived at Gitmo in 2002, was on hunger strike for eight years, and has since then been subjected to solitary confinement, violent cell extractions and daily forced feedings through his nose, all without ever being charged with a crime, tried, or allowed to know the length of his sentence. "The anguish this uncertainty produces is hellish indeed," he notes.


Authority in the Twentieth Century
Hannah Arendt
The Role of Politics 18(4) (1956) 403-417.

In contradistinction to both tyrannical and authoritarian regimes, the proper image of totalitarian rule and organization seems to me to be the structure of the onion, in whose center, in a kind of empty space, the leader is located; whatever he does: whether he integrates the body politic as in an authoritarian hierarchy, or oppresses his subjects like a tyrant, he does it from within, and not from without or above. All the extraordinarily manifold parts of the movement: the front organizations, the various professional societies, the party membership, the party hierarchy, the elite formations and police groups, are related in such a way that each forms the facade in one direction and the center in the other, that is, plays the role of normal outside world for one layer and the role of radical extremism for another. The civilian members of Himmler's General SS, for example, represented a rather tine facade of philistine normality to the SS Leader Corps, and at the same time could be trusted to be ideologically more trustworthy and extreme than the ordinary member of the NSDAP.

The same is true for the relationship between sympathizer and party member, between party member and party officer or SAman, between the Gauleiter and a member of the secret police, etc.9 The great advantage of this system is that the movement provides for each of its layers, even under conditions of totalitarian rule, the fiction of a normal world along with a consciousness of being different from and more radical than it. Thus, the sympathizers of the front organizations, whose convictions differ only in intensity from those of the party membership, surround the whole movement and provide a deceptive facade of normality to the outside world because of their lack of fanaticism and extremism while, at the same time, they represent the normal world to the totalitarian movement whose members come to believe that their convictions differ only in degree from those of other people, so that they need never be aware of the abyss which separates their own world from that which actually surrounds it. The onion structure makes the system organizationally shock-proof against the factuality of the real world.

The second advantage of this type of organization is that it permits a kind of double-talk of great importance to the relationship between totalitarian regimes and the outside, non-totalitarian world. In close correspondence with the dual role of each layer- to act as facade in one direction and as interior center in the other-stands the curious fact that the same official pronouncements frequently can be understood either as mere propaganda or as serious indoctrination. Hitler's violently nationalistic speeches, for instance, which he used to address to his officer corps, were meant as indoctrination for the officers of the Wehrmacht; within the higher Nazi hierarchy, however, where the slogan of "Right is what is good for the German people" had even officially been replaced by "Right is what is good for the Movement," 10 they were nothing but propaganda for an outside world not yet "mature" enough to understand the true aims of the movement.

It would lead us too far afield to show how this particular structure is connected with the fact: that totalitarian rule is based on a movement in the word's most literal significance, that the movement is international in scope, that the rise to power in one country does not mean that the totalitarian ruler cuts himself loose from the interest or goal of the movement as a whole, and that, consequently, the country in which he happens to seize power is much less the seat and source of his personal power than the headquarters for the movement itself.


Review Articles TOTALITARIANISM The Revised Standard Version By ROBERT BURROWES*

Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, 3rd edition, New York, Harcourt, Brace & Company, i966, 526 pp. $8.75.

Carl J. Friedrich and Zbigniew K. Brzezinski, Totalitarian Dictatorship and Autocracy, 2nd edition, revised by Carl J. Friedrich, Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, i965, 439 pp. $9.95.

Arendt's conception of totalitarianism is that of a "fictitious, topsy-turvy world" (437). The most striking feature of that world is less the omnipresence than the non-utilitarian character of terror. Unlike the terror of other systems, totalitarian terror is not understandable in terms of the utilitarian motives or self-interest of the rulers. It is explicable only as a means to the insane, anti-utilitarian and selfless "experimental inquiry into what is possible" (436, 440).


The CIA Didn’t Just Torture, It Experimented on Human Beings
http://www.thenation.com/article/193185/cia-didnt-just-torture-it-experimented-human-beings

In its response to the Senate report, the CIA justified its decision to hire the duo: “We believe their expertise was so unique that we would have been derelict had we not sought them out when it became clear that CIA would be heading into the uncharted territory of the program.” Mitchell and Jessen’s qualifications did not include interrogation experience, specialized knowledge about Al Qaeda or relevant cultural or linguistic knowledge. What they had was Air Force experience in studying the effects of torture on American prisoners of war, as well as a curiosity about whether theories of “learned helplessness” derived from experiments on dogs might work on human enemies.

To implement those theories, Mitchell and Jessen oversaw or personally engaged in techniques intended to produce “debility, disorientation and dread.” Their “theory” had a particular means-ends relationship that is not well understood, as Mitchell testily explained in an interview on Vice News: “The point of the bad cop is to get the bad guy to talk to the good cop.” In other words, “enhanced interrogation techniques” (the Bush administration’s euphemism for torture) do not themselves produce useful information; rather, they produce the condition of total submission that will facilitate extraction of actionable intelligence.

~snip~

But here we are again. This brings us back to Mitchell and Jessen. Because of their experience as trainers in the military’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (SERE) program, after 9/11 they were contacted by high-ranking Pentagon officials and, later, by lawyers who wanted to know whether some of those SERE techniques could be reverse-engineered to get terrorism suspects to talk.

The road from abstract hypotheticals (can SERE be reverse-engineered?) to the authorized use of waterboarding and confinement boxes runs straight into the terrain of human experimentation. On April 15, 2002, Mitchell and Jessen arrived at a black site in Thailand to supervise the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, the first “high-value detainee” captured by the CIA. By July, Mitchell proposed more coercive techniques to CIA headquarters, and many of these were approved in late July. From then until the program was dry-docked in 2008, at least thirty-eight people were subjected to psychological and physical torments, and the results were methodically documented and analyzed. That is the textbook definition of human experimentation.


CIA torture appears to have broken spy agency rule on human experimentation
http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jun/15/cia-torture-human-experimentation-doctors

Sections of a previously classified CIA document, made public by the Guardian on Monday, empower the agency’s director to “approve, modify, or disapprove all proposals pertaining to human subject research”. The leeway provides the director, who has never in the agency’s history been a medical doctor, with significant influence over limitations the US government sets to preserve safe, humane and ethical procedures on people.

~snip~

The relevant section of the CIA document, “Law and Policy Governing the Conduct of Intelligence Agencies”, instructs that the agency “shall not sponsor, contract for, or conduct research on human subjects” outside of instructions on responsible and humane medical practices set for the entire US government by its Department of Health and Human Services.

A keystone of those instructions, the document notes, is the “subject’s informed consent”.

~snip~

The previously unknown section of the guidelines empower the CIA director and an advisory board on “human subject research” to “evaluate all documentation and certifications pertaining to human research sponsored by, contracted for, or conducted by the CIA”.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Sat Nov 28, 2015, 01:15 PM

76. Outstanding thread!

Kicked & bookmarked!

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Sat Nov 28, 2015, 07:13 PM

82. I think Huxley undervalued the importance of schadenfreude.

This, too me, is such an important ingredient to where our culture sits right now that I tend to harp on it a lot, especially since people like Bernie, good as he is on so many things, appears to not take it into account. Huxley's quote in the O.P. is a point of departure: that "the ruling oligarchy will find less arduous and wasteful ways of governing and of satisfying its lust for power," He is thinking only in terms of the practical exercise and extension of power, whereas I sincerely believe that many in power get a distinct pleasure out of seeing suffering and using it as both a contrast and a justification of their own excesses. Plus, of course, sheer bloody-mindedness, as anyone who watches Donald Trump should be able to see.
The ruling class may even satisfy their need for schadenfreude at the expense of practicality and efficiency. Man is not, ultimately, only an economic being.

-- Mal

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