Sunday at the Movies: Aldous Huxley 1958 Predicts So Much Of What We Are Experiencing Today

Today we offer a 30 minute 1958 video interview with Aldous Huxley. Incredible how predicts a Trump, the role of television, the role of propaganda and the possibility of stumbling to fascism. Also, I acknowledge a small error in the Report Care & encourage you to reexamine yesterday’s post about a schism among environmental groups. Readers offered very thoughtful comments.

Report Card Update:  We’ve gotten a tremendous response to the Report Card and we are now encouraging all of you to write letters to the editor to encourage others to read the report. Click here for contact info and word/submission guidelines for the ten largest daily newspapers in NM.  One of them is certainly near you.  The Report Card has the potential to expand our base, inform more people and increase our impact in future legislative sessions and primary and general elections. We provide sample letters to get you thinking, but the best letter to the editor is one that just expresses your reaction to the Report Card and something you found in it that helped you understand how things work.  Let’s Do It.

Report Card Correction.  I got a call from House Speaker Egolf indicating that he had two concerns with the Report Card.  First, he felt we had overstated the degree to which Rep. Lundstrom and Sen. Smith kill bills in their committees. The Report Card provides a chart that depicts how many bills never received a hearing in different committees, with Senate Finance Committee (chaired by Sen. JA Smith) and House Appropriations and Finance (Chaired by Rep. Patty Lundstrom) having far and away the most “kills.”  Speaker Egolf claimed that a goodly many of those bills were actually bills that were tabled because deals had been made with the bill sponsor to insert funding for the bill into either the Senate or House junior budget bill, essentially ensuring its being funded and not requiring it to jump through all the committee hoops.

After the call, I recalled a conversation with Bill Jordan from NM Voices for Children immediately after a House Committee where a Voices tax credit bill had been abruptly tabled. He assured me then that the bill would not be un-tabled, but that it would be incorporated into the House Appropriations bill, HB 6. And it was. So I wrote to Bill Saturday to confirm that Speaker Egolf was correct in his concern and Bill affirmed that the Speaker was correct.  So we are reworking a few passages referring to this chart. Egolf’s point leads to a different concern, however: It is impossible to distinguish committee performance in hearing bills as there is no way to distinguish from bills tabled to kill and those tabled because they’ve been taken care of and will be funded. What’s more, by tabling a bill and slipping it into the appropriations, that bill doesn’t receive public scrutiny. In most cases, I am guessing that this strategy is used to avoid clogging committees with bills that are sure to ultimately pass, but I am only guessing. I can’t help but wonder if this strategy is also used to ensure passage of bills that might encounter significant opposition.

Speaker Egolf also had a concern about one sentence where we indicated that three Democratic House Reps indicated that he had told caucus members that the amount that each raises and gives to the House Campaign Committee would be a criteria for selection for a chair or vice-chair position. He asserted that checking the fundraising levels of the House chairs would reveal that few were among the larger fundraisers. We are going to fact check that and if a review affirms Speaker Egolf’s claim, we will make an adjustment to the report.  Anyone interested in doing some research?

Environmental Organization Schism Redux.  Yesterday’s post generated a good many excellent comments. If you missed the post, it isn’t terribly long and below the post are about ten very good comments from readers. Very worth you review. Even if you read the article, click here to get the post and then scroll to the end to view the comments….and feel free to add your voice. Reader comments are actually becoming an important feature to the blog offering a more diverse set of voices. I have only not approved one or two comments in the past 2 1/2 years, so it is really an unmediated forum.  Chime in.

Skilled Facebook Person Needed.  We do a terrible job of using our FB page to generate conversation and build awareness. It could easily be a venue where 1-2 articles a day are posted with brief descriptions or where links are provided about interesting lectures, books, video, etc. But we need someone who wants to take responsibility for it.  Interested?  Please write to me at Paul@RetakeOurDemocracy.org.

Aldous Huxley 1958 & Looking Forward. If You Wonder What He Would Think of Trump, He Sort of Tells You

Pretty remarkable what this man saw as our future and how prescient he has proven to be. While he doesn’t use “fake news” as the terminology, he describes precisely what occurs in political discourse in the US, he describes clearly how the media could be used to mislead the public and he gets at the ways in which despotic politicians can prey on the emotions and vulnerability of people.  Very worthwhile  Check out in the beginning with Mike Wallace holding a cigarette and smoking during the interview.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

 

 

4 thoughts on “Sunday at the Movies: Aldous Huxley 1958 Predicts So Much Of What We Are Experiencing Today

  1. Hi Paul. A national pandemic of Stockholm Syndrome.

    Stressed out, dumbed down, drugged up, malnourished, manipulated, lied to, co-opted, threatened and bullied, terrorized and trivialized – the Brave New World, commandeered by The Lord of the Flies.

    Maureen Dowd, somewhat surprisingly, has written a succinct Sunday editorial in which she compares Huxley’s present-day “impersonal” executive to flypaper, and the populace as flies. Writing about a “boorish Trump” who is quoted by reporters as prating “I really don’t care if I offend people,” Dowd concludes with a fatalistic twist on a famous Lincoln vision for his deeply troubled country – “With malice toward all; with charity for none.”

    Another opinion yesterday expanded on the reality of cognitive dissonance, wherein obviously contradictory positions can both be held as true, in the same instant. Rather than be terrorized, slobbering sycophants will literally tell their tormentors that they love the humiliation and punishment that awaits them, but they love it even more when it happens to ‘the other.’ And, it would be nice if they could get in a few licks of their own.

    But cognitive dissonance reaches across the behavioral spectrum. Just take another thought from Lincoln – “A nation divided against itself cannot stand.” There are numerous massive egos and menacing ids in this world, certainly in this nation. And as Dukakis famously credited to his fisherman father, “A fish rots from the head down.” But the whole fish rots.

    As I suggested yesterday, we are, as Dowd observes, stuck to our paradigm like flies to the deathtrap of flypaper. And even Lincoln, himself stuck fast and twisting in the breeze, recognizing the cognitive dissonance espoused by Lee and Davis, would only muster a pragmatic reply – “let us judge not, that we be not judged.” In other words, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

    We must abandon a fatally flawed delusion that we have stuck with and to for at least 6k years. Even if it means, and it does mean, that we tear off our wings. We are not now nor have we ever been, special or exceptional. We are shaped by every other being and every energy around us. We should learn from that fact.

    Mick Nickel

    • I heard on KCEI (Taos radio station) a thinker pointing out that we in America and Europe like to think we are “beyond” traditional values – we don’t do much in the way of ceremonies, for example – but that is false. This man said we are, as Mr. Nickel points out, almost fatally tied to a set of traditional values that was formed in the 1500s, when European people began moving into and making money from lands around the world. This traditional value set includes the belief in never-ending economic and population growth, ever-expanding resource extraction, and so on. We are stuck on these ideas like Mick Nickel’s proverbial fly paper; our belief system is dragging us down.

  2. Thank you for sharing the Huxley video. I had never seen it and it truly strikes a chord.

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