Guest post from Tim Urban
Aldous Huxley published Brave New World in 1932, a dystopian novel projecting psychological manipulation and social conditioning that profoundly changed society.
As we consider President Trump’s speech to Congress, his tweets, executive orders and philosophy of his advisors and cabinet members, and watch Republican legislatures trash established policies and institutions, we face a brave new world of our own.
What could America look like in four to eight years?
- Protected public lands turned over to business interests, the abandonment of funding for National Parks and an acceleration of pollution of our waterways and air. Natural disasters increasing with diminished response from government.
- Public education going through a dramatic decline. “Choice,” the mantra of the Trump Administration, only works if you have transportation from segregated neighborhoods and a wide choice of viable schools. While affluent and religious parents get public support for home schooling, church schools and charter schools, inner city and rural children are left behind in public schools starved for government support. “Separate and Equal” never worked in the 50s and will not work now.
- Income inequality accelerating with no minimum wages, minimal unemployment protection and the destruction of collective bargaining. Big business taking over government, with workers dispensable to profits.
- The imposition of Christian religion in the public sphere sustained where businesses and governments exclude non-believers or those with “immoral” life styles. Abortion and end-of-life procedures outlawed and gays treated as outcasts. Islamophobia and anti-Semitism becoming commonplace.
- Open carry of guns and other weapons in public places, including our schools, and “stand your ground” protection increasing the atmosphere of fear that Trumps promotes. The drumbeat of fear feeding mass incarceration of immigrants and blacks in new private prisons, subsidized by taxpayers and more mass killings.
- New bridges and toll roads farmed out to private managers to avoid use of public funds; access expedited for affluent Americans.
- Tariffs imposed on foreign goods spiking inflation, further squeezing the Middle Class and triggering new alliances against the United States.
- The few remaining federal programs moved to the states, shifting the burden for reduced funding of public services. The disparity in public services such as health services and education increasing. America becoming a Republic of “have” and “have-not” regions—poor Americans migrating to “blue” states that still provide public support, leading them into fiscal crises.
- Jobs disappearing for uneducated Americans:
—Between 1948 and 2015, the work rate for U.S. men twenty and older fell from 85.8 percent to 68.2 percent. Among the 10 million men not in the workforce – men who are not even looking for a job – 57% of the Caucasian population between 21 and 55 collect disability benefits, which means they can get Medicaid benefits and cheap narcotics: increased opioid addiction and suicide.
—As Medicaid is abandoned, longevity rates for white males over age 50 continuing to fall., fueling more hatred and violence.
—Automation of workplaces and driving will create jobs, far fewer than it will destroy. Estimates are that by 2030, 25% of vehicles will be autonomous. The total job loss from autonomous vehicles just in the U.S. might approach 10 million: 5 million truck drivers, 75% of whose jobs could be replaced, and 250,000 taxi drivers, 160,000 Uber drivers and 100,000 Lyft drivers.
- Health and Day Care only accessible to affluent Americans, food stamps discontinued and poverty increasing across all racial and ethnic groups.
- Draconian laws sustained by new majorities of elected or politically-appointed judges, muzzling media and weeding out “Liberals.” Attacks on science leading to a wholesale debasement of intellectual advancement. The loss of civil liberties advanced as a crusade against “Elites” and as a cover for authoritarianism.
All of these changes would be defended as a return to “self-reliance” or as some Republicans define it, freedom from government mandates. America could join many other nations, run by thugs or oligarchs.
The leaders in Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ thought science and art were dangerous and needed to be carefully controlled so they did not foster critical thinking and lead people astray. Those leaders learned over time that permanent war is a good antidote for liberty and individuality. Trump’s rhetoric that regional wars will increase as Western alliances are weakened. Catastrophic climate change around the globe will accelerate mass migrations, war and famine. Populist movements, exacerbated by migrations, feed political instability or fascism in liberal societies. China, Russia and nations within their orbit of influence tighten their grip on freedom under authoritarian regimes. The transformation of society in the United States could occur as the role of government, broad civil liberties, safeguards against corruption and authoritarianism are abandoned by Congress and the President. As voting is suppressed and billions of dollars buy votes and elected officials, we could join a Brave New World of fear and hatred.
by Tim Urban
9 Comments on "A Brave New World Lies Ahead With Trump’s America"
We hope we have better candidates which will be more attractive to the voters. We had some excellent qualified candidates but the were just not liked by voters.
Too optimistic on those “blue states”. They will have been dismantled, marginalized and rendered penniless by the lack of funding. That said, BNY & 1984 (and, of course Animal Farm!) ARE cautionary tales. We can learn from them. Will we – even in the face of what our laziness has already wrought?
Tim, very well thought out dystopian view of what could happen under Republican Conservative leadership. Could you do a similar article on Progressive policies and how life would be under them? We can have great candidates but they will not win unless we have great messaging as well. Democrats need their own think tanks to promote what we are about.
Just imagine a world where:
1. Citizens own their own houses on their own land.
2. Even children in depressed neighborhoods are able to choose a school that will actually provide them with a great education.
3. People with job skills are actually able to be paid according to the value of those job skills, rather than be displaced by unskilled workers given their positions by virtue of government edict.
4. Christians can practice their religion without public ridicule, and have freedom of association.
5. Citizens are permitted to defend themselves from people who attack them with illegal weapons.
6. All vehicles pay their fair share of road use taxes rather than avoiding taxes by avoiding the gas and diesel pumps.
7. American workers returning to factories to produce American products and receive American wages.
8. A reduction in health care and education costs due to a reduction in regulation and profiteering by special interests that steal resources from both above services. Yes, a move to the blue states because blue states have an innately better form of freedom than their red government-oriented counterparts.
9. Yes, great declines have happened in the middle class workforce, mostly in the last eight years. Medicaid and Medicare are insolvent. But restoration of American skilled jobs can provide other options to those shoved into Medicaid, when Obamacare wanted to cut the cost of subsidizing Obamacare policies. When self-driving vehicles have accidents, who is at fault, the vehicle (manufacturer)or the driver? Full employment for Trial Lawyers.
10. Health care and day care will be available to middle class Americans because they will again be employed rather than moving toward dependency.
11. Citizens will have free speech restored, so they can express opinions without fear of political correctness and a totalitarian thought police.
Yes, the dawn of freedom is rising over America, if we can keep it.
Sorry Hank but you’ll never be free, you’re mind has been given to radical right propaganda. You are indeed a prisoner of stunted ill conceived ideology, whose wishful “magic market” dogma displays full collapse of argument when applying rigorous empirical analysis. The social programs instituted in this country have proved to be effective and cost efficient. Medicare is popular and it’s runs at far lower cost of management based on percentage, than “any for profit health insurance entity.” But, while it would be akin to ‘shooting fish in a barrel’ in establishing point by point take down of your little tirade – it is simply a waste of my time. You cannot be saved from yourself.
I would rather be guided by the US Constitution, and the US flag, than the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic, and Rules for Radicals,
I see we have a causality of the opiod crisis posting on the board. Please seek help or move to Somalia.
Thank you Mr. Murphy for your assessment on Hank’s diatribe. It gives one hope that not all are in alternative realities.
The fear mongers are in full force. Never mind that this strategy “failed” miserably in recent elections. People would do well to examine actual situations and facts:
– Education is in trouble. The US system has been in decline for years under the weight of progressive ideas.
– Jobs have already disappeared for millions of Americans. They disappeared with the blessing of Democrats and their “high tax”, “oppressive government regulation” and supposed “free” trade.
Today we see leftists lead by Democrats doing everything they can to oppress free speech across America. No interest in public debate. No interest in honest dissent. Unless this changes losing elections will continue.