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Rotten futures: Is 1984 winning out over Brave New World?

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From Salvo, a comparison:

Our Dystopia, the worst of both worlds

Orwell’s vs. Huxley’s dystopias (1984 vs. Brave New World)

Unsettlingly, Orwell is gaining on Huxley

“So who wins? Huxley retains a slight advantage in my view because a perpetual 1984 reign of terror may be less viable over time than a BNW technotopia where few would be sober enough to rebel. But the growth in size and scope of government in recent decades has narrowed Huxley’s lead, and that is sobering.

The attitude to science is interesting.

Both novelists foresee their dystopias as inevitable outcomes of post-Enlightenment thinking. But significantly, while the World State of BNW is a technotopia, its interest in science apart from technology is quite limited. As Spark Notes puts it,

Science has also had to be suppressed to create the happy and stable society. This is particularly ironic because World State citizens are taught to revere science as one of their most fundamental values. However, none of them—not even Alphas such as Helmholtz and Bernard—actually possess any scientific training, so they really don’t even know what science is.

More.

Today, there are many areas in which “science” has come to mean the beliefs of a science elite, not information derived from evidence. Claims about a multiverse, for example, are not in any way derived from evidence (evidence may not even be possible), but those who espouse the belief consider themselves ultra-scientific. More.

Reality check: It is likely impossible to achieve Brave New World without a generous dose of 1984.

Note: Give/get Salvo for Christmas here. Special sale price $19.99/4 issues, yr

Rob Sheldon writes to say,

What makes BNW/1984 not just possible but inevitable is the transition from Enlightenment epistemology to post-Enlightenment irony. Just yesterday I was reading quotes from leading climate warmists saying that they encourage lying to motivate the public to action. Clearly a post-Enlightenment ironic position.

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