Today I read with horror a report about Belgian control of society. In order to produce a society that is healthy and vibrant, medical doctors have committed murder, calling it assisted suicide. Assisted suicide is bad enough when it is the suicide of a grown person who is somewhat rational and aware and able to make an informed decision. Many advocates have clearly taught that suicide is not the answer, because the despair of dealing with illness or disability often passes, and afflicted people often live contented and fulfilled lives. It ought to make you shudder with horror upon horror when you realize that the people the Belgians are supposedly assisting are less than a year old.
Big Brother is watching, and making all of the decisions. He has decided that hand-made clothing is dangerous, so it must be banned (see sidebar, at top left). He has decided that life with disabilities is not worth living, so he kills and destroys. He has decided that parents cannot choose curriculum with wisdom, so he has decreed. And the people are so busy playing with their toys that they have not even noticed the curtailment of certain inalienable rights.
When I was a teenager, I read Animal Farm, 1984, and Brave New World. The authors, George Orwell and Aldous Huxley, had contrasting views of the future:
Social critic Neil Postman contrasts the worlds of 1984 and Brave New World in the foreword of his 1985 book Amusing Ourselves to Death. He writes: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. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. 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, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we desire will ruin us.
My fear is that both men were right. In our search for pleasure and our desire to control, we have allowed leaders to make laws to protect us. We do not want to take responsibility for our own actions, preferring to blame the government if things go wrong. Our fear that life might not be full of pleasure has ruined us. We have lost the ability to think, to discern, to judge correctly. Scary.
Woe unto those who call good evil, and evil good.