Tag Archives: Dystopia

The Dystopian Bubble: George Orwell Meets Charles Mackay, by Kevin Duffy

It is the best of times, it is the worst of times. From Kevin Duffy at mises.org:

“Threats to freedom of speech, writing, and action, though often trivial in isolation, are cumulative in their effect and, unless checked, lead to a general disrespect for the rights of the citizen.”

~ George Orwell

In early December I asked Jim Grant how to reconcile exuberant financial markets with economic reality that reads like dystopian fiction. He responded,

I’m not sure there’s much distinction. To me, the current form of dystopia is the bubble form. So I think this is the year of the dystopian bubble.

The opening pages of the new decade feel like we’re living through a combination of George Orwell’s 1984 and Charles Mackay’s Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. On the day the 2020 election results were to be certified in the Senate, a mob from the losing side surrounded and actually breached the Capitol. The outgoing president was accused of inciting a riot, threatened with impeachment, and banned for life on Twitter. Despite the chaos, stocks shrugged it all off and rallied to new highs.

The following weekend cover of Barron’s, “The Case for Optimism,” captured the manic side of the dystopian bubble perfectly. Its editorial staff sees a silver lining in practically every cloud:

[T]his is a market determined to march higher, and it’s not about to be derailed—even by historic mayhem in the nation’s capital. Stocks are rallying on the trillions of dollars in stimulus that may only be accelerated under the new administration. A chaotic political season is winding down, while the economy is gearing up for a postpandemic reopening.

Investors need to keep their eyes forward and look ahead to a Joe Biden presidency: to more-predictable domestic policies, smoother trade relations, and additional efforts to revive the economy. Now might not be a good time to own anything defensive.

Still, Barron’s acknowledges a new set of political risks:

That’s not to say that a Washington controlled by the Democrats…will be entirely friendly to investors. The Democratic agenda includes corporate and individual tax increases, heightened regulatory oversight, and such ambitious social and economic policies as a Green New Deal, health-care reform, and student-loan forgiveness.

With bigger government on the way, what could possibly go wrong?

 

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Dystopian Societies Derive From Displaced Ethics and Values, by Doug “Uncola” Lynn

We are a society with very little logic or morality. From Doug “Uncola” Lynn at theburningplatform.com:

On April Fool’s Day of this year, I posted an article on how Coronavirus® has hastened the “old collectivism”.  That piece discussed Saul Alinsky’s tactics and how the current COVID hysteria is being manipulated by the Political Left.  My last post discussed how COVID-mania was successfully translated into Marxist hysteria following the death of George Floyd.

Certainly, America is under attack and what we are witnessing today serves as the mere preview for the main attraction that will commence on November 3, 2020 – if not before. The ongoing warfare is, of course, between those upholding the last remaining shreds of the U.S. Constitution against those who desire to raise the rainbow flag of globalism above the New World Order.

Whether history rhymes or repeats, it does so in cycles.  And nothing is new under the sun. Mankind’s desire to unite the world is said by some to have begun six millennia ago on the plains of Shinar, starting at the Tower of Babel.

In recent decades, especially, the birth pains of conflict were combined with the labor-inducing corollary of technological innovation and these have delivered new creations of collective centralization; to wit, the emergence of the League of Nations after World War I and the United Nations after World War II. And, surely, America’s current birth pains are about to deliver another new order.

Mad World, by Jim Quinn

Jim Quinn decides that the world, not Jim Quinn, is going mad. From Quinn at theburningplatform.com:

And I find it kinda funny, I find it kinda sad
The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had
I find it hard to tell you, I find it hard to take
When people run in circles it’s a very very
Mad world, mad world

Image result for the primal scream

The haunting Gary Jules version of the Tears for Fears’ Mad World speaks to me in these tumultuous mad times. It must speak to many others, as the music video has been viewed over 132 million times. The melancholy video is shot from the top of an urban school building in a decaying decrepit bleak neighborhood with school children creating various figures on the concrete pavement below. The camera pans slowly to Gary Jules singing on the rooftop and captures the concrete jungle of non-descript architecture, identical office towers, gray cookie cutter apartment complexes, and a world devoid of joy and vibrancy.

The song was influenced by Arthur Janov’s theories in his book The Primal Scream. The chorus above about his “dreams of dying were the best he ever had” is representative of letting go of this mad world and being free of the monotony and release from the insanity of this world. Our ego fools us into thinking the madness of this world is actually normal. Day after day we live lives of quiet desperation. Despite all evidence our world is spinning out of control and the madness of the crowds is visible in financial markets, housing markets, politics, social justice, and social media, the level of normalcy bias among the populace has reached astounding levels, as we desperately try to convince ourselves everything will be alright. But it won’t.

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Prisons of Pleasure or Pain: Huxley’s “Brave New World” vs. Orwell’s “1984”, by Uncola

Visions of human enslavement can be frightening and painful, or mind-numbingly blissful. From Uncola at theburningplatform.com:

Definition of UTOPIA

1:  an imaginary and indefinitely remote place

2:  a place of ideal perfection especially in laws, government, and social conditions

3:   an impractical scheme for social improvement

Definition of DYSTOPIA

1:  an imaginary place where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives

2:  literature:  anti-utopia

Merriam-Webster.com

 Many Americans today would quite possibly consider Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” to be a utopia of sorts with its limitless drugs, guilt-free sex, perpetual entertainment and a genetically engineered society designed for maximum economic efficiency and social harmony.  Conversely, most free people today would view Orwell’s “1984” as a dystopian nightmare, and shudder to contemplate the terrifying existence under the iron fist of “Big Brother”; the ubiquitous figurehead of a perfectly totalitarian government.

Although both men were of British descent, Huxley was nine years older than Orwell and published Brave New World in 1932, seventeen years before 1984 was released in 1949.  Both books are widely considered classics and are included in the Modern Library’s top ten great novels of the twentieth century.

Brave New World

Aldous Huxley was born to academic parents and he was the grandson of Thomas Henry Huxley, a famous biologist and an enthusiastic proponent of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution who was known as “Darwin’s Bulldog”.  Huxley’s own father had a well-equipped botanical laboratory where young Aldous began his education.  Given the Huxley family’s appreciation for science, it makes perfect sense that Brave New World began in what is called the “Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre” where human beings are artificially grown and genetically predestined into five societal castes consisting of: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Epsilon.

To continue reading: Prisons of Pleasure or Pain: Huxley’s “Brave New World” vs. Orwell’s “1984”