The “Delta variant” of the ‘Rona is the newest iteration of the Sickness Bogeyman emanating from the TeeVee, flat screen and radio. It is meant to frighten Epsilons – the moron caste from Aldous Huxley’s novel, Brave New World.
It was published before Orwell’s better-known 1984 and is arguably the more prophetic of the two.
Orwell’s book is essentially a history book. It describes an anglicized version of what life was like in the Soviet Union of Lenin and Stalin, the latter very much alive in 1948, when 1984 was published. Big Brother being Stalin, without actually using his name. But everything else – right down to the moustache – is obviously meant to clue the reader in as to the identity of the jefe. The jefe’s primary enemy – Goldstein – is also an obvious Trotksy, rebadged.
But it’s the novel’s main theme that is historical. Oceania – and Airstrip One, the former UK – are ruled by ubiquitous threat of violence for disobedience. Winston Smith – the novel’s hero – feigns the correct attitudes and expressions not because he believes but because he fears. In the end, it takes the most extreme physical and psychological torture to make him “love” Big Brother/Stalin.
Huxley’s vision was more scientific. His novel describes a much softer, far more oppressive authoritarian society – as opposed to Orwell’s authoritarian state. A society controlled without realizing it is being controlled; in which people are kept happy – by being kept in a state of arrested mental and emotional development, by pandering to their most adolescent instincts. Vapid but titillating entertainment; sex with pretty much anyone, whenever the urge arises. Endless, pointless diversion – as by games.
And when the occasional negative thought encroaches, there is soma – a drug that washes all cares away. It is freely available to all. For the obvious reasons . . . well, obvious to those not actually living in the world imagined by Huxley.
Such a society doesn’t need bayonets. Pacifiers work better.
This is the approach taken by the managerial elites that Huxley parodied – and hero-worshipped. A very few, at the very top – such as World Controller Mustapha Mond – understand the nature of the society they control. The rest are kept happy by being kept not so much stupid as vapid.
But the two novels did have one thing in common. In 1984, the proles – who constitute the bulk of the population – are a caste that is beneath contempt. The Thought Police do not even bother with the proles because they aren’t capable of thinking. In Brave New World, there is a similar caste, the Epsilons. They have been rendered incapable of thinking by engineering. No one is naturally conceived in Huxley’s imagined society; rather, they are decanted – according to caste.
Every caste is engineered – that is, genetically designed – to serve a given role in society and to be happy in that role by dint of being incapable of desiring a higher role (and by awareness of the role played by those of the caste below one’s own and grateful to not be one of those).
The Epsilons are, literally, morons – a term formerly used in politically incorrect times to describe an individual with an IQ in the range of 51-70 (90 being a person of average intelligence). A moron was intellectually superior to an imbecile (IQ of 26-50) and much the cognitive superior of an idiot, whose IQ was so low (0-25) that his autonomic systems were barely operative.
Such individuals are the easiest to control, using reward rather than fear. But fear is less expensive than reward – which generally requires the actual giving of something desired by the moron/imbecile/idiot to keep it smiling. For example, endless idiotic distractions and abundant sexual release and pharmacologically-induced stupefaction.
Huxley solved this problem via the assumption – in vogue, back in the ’30s – that technological progress would eliminate the problem of material scarcity, making it possible for everyone to have everything their hearts desired, in terms of material things. Their minds to be controlled by other means.
But in our reality, the Epsilons are expensive. PPE and UBI don’t grow on trees. It is therefore necessary to keep them fearful, lately of the “Delta variant” of the ‘Rona. This will keep them obedient without the government (and corporations) having to spend more than what it costs to organize ands propagate a narrative.
It is almost as effective as soma – and a whole lot cheaper.
. . .
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