As he gloomily surveys John Paul II's legacy, John Derbyshire poses an awkward question: is there really anything we can do to keep "Brave New World" from becoming reality?

The issue posed by the novel, as every thoughtful commentator (Francis Fukuyama and Leon Kass, to name two) has pointed out, is: What exactly is objectionable about the world of Year 632 After Ford? As Kass says, the dehumanized people of that world don’t know they are dehumanized, and wouldn’t care if they knew. They are happy; and if they feel any momentary unhappiness, a pharmacological remedy is ready to hand. If being human means enduring sorrow, pain, grief envy, loss, accidie, loneliness, and humiliation, why on earth should anyone be expected to prefer a “fully human” life over a dehumanized one?

Most people won’t. So far as it makes any sense to predict the future, it seems to me highly probable that the world of 50 or 100 years from now will bear a close resemblance to Huxley’s dystopia — a world without pain, grief, sickness or war, but also without family, religion, sacrifice, or nobility of spirit. It’s not what I want, personally, and it’s not what Huxley wanted either (he was a religious man, though ofa singular type). It’s what most people want, though; so if this darn democracy stuff keeps spreading, it’s what we shall get, for sure. If we don’t bring it upon ourselves, we shall import it from less ethically fastidious nations.

|||Clive|||http://clivedavis.blogspot.com/2005/04/future-as-he-gloomily-surveys-john.html|||4/07/2005 07:10:00 pm|||||||||