"We were keeping our eye on 1984. When the year came and the prophecy didn't, thoughtful Americans sang softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we, at least, had not been visited by Orwellian nightmares.
But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell's dark vision, there was another - slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. 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. 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.
This book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right." - Neil Postman
"There will always be those whose instinct inclines towards submission to authority, who are happy to shift beliefs in accordance with the fashion or decrees from above. Orwell called this the 'gramophone mind', content to play the record of the moment whether or not one is in agreement" - Andrew Doyle
"The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history." - George Orwell
"Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them." - George Orwell
Orwell Rolls in His Grave (2003) | A documentary analyzing the role of the modern American media and its effects on democracy
The chilling documentary film "Orwell Rolls in His Grave" examines the relationship between the media, corporate America, and government. In a country where the "top 1% control 90% of the wealth", the film argues that the media system is nothing but a "subsidiary of corporate America." It's a stunning fact that the media received 1 billion dollars in campaign ads for the last election. Large corporations own the television networks, and the sheer number of stations/channels available gives the public the "illusion of choice." Yes, there are tons of channels to chose from, but this "ostensible diversity conceals an actual uniformity."