Saturday, April 14, 2012

how totalitarianisms fail

The two great dystopian novels of the 20th century were George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Both were in their own ways remarkably prescient and the differences between them are fascinating, Orwell’s novel being a portrayal of Soviet-style hard totalitarianism, Huxley’s novel showing us a 21st century-style soft totalitarianism on the model of Europe, Australia and the US. The weakness of both books is that they failed to predict how such societies would die.

That both systems are destined to die is now obvious, but the cause of death will be different. We know that both systems are doomed to collapse because we have real-world examples with which to compare their fictional counterparts.

By the time the year 1984 actually rolled around Soviet-style communism had less than a decade of life remaining to it. It still gave the appearance of strength and its western cheer squads in the universities and the media were entirely oblivious of the coming collapse but it was already in its death throes.

The totalitarian state of Orwell’s 1984, like the Soviet Union, failed to provide its citizens with even the necessities of life. Orwell showed us a world of ever-declining living standards and chronic shortages, a society that could not even provide its people with decent food and razor blades. In the Soviet empire lengthy queues to buy the pitifully inadequate supplies of such basic necessities as shoes had been a feature of the Worker’s Paradise for decades.

Soviet communism broke down not because it was evil, repressive and inhuman but because it was evil, repressive and inhuman and also hopelessly inefficient. Had it at least been able to produce sufficient economic growth to bribe its citizens with material goods it might have had a chance of survival. Its inability to do this led to despair but also to sullen resentment. By the 1980s the unlucky inhabitants of the eastern bloc countries were not merely resentful, they were angry and rebellious. Strikes broke out in countries such as Poland over increased prices, falling wages and declining living standards. These strikes gave birth to protest movements demanding freedom, but the precipitating factor was the falling standard of living.

By the late 80s hatred of these regimes among their own people was almost universal. The Soviet Union could not intervene militarily to prop up its puppet regimes in places like Poland because it could no longer trust its army. The Kremlin was faced by the strong possibility that Soviet troops would refuse to fire on Polish strikers and protesters. The Polish government could not use its own troops to maintain its control for the same reason. Nobody was going to risk death to defend communism. The power of communism proved to be an illusion and collapse followed swiftly.

Huxley shows us a society that maintain its control over its citizens in more subtle ways. It’s not the boot in the face that maintains the ruling elite in power, it’s consumer goods, drugs and unlimited sex. Rather like the western world today, except that we have Prozac rather than soma.

Huxley thought this would allow them to maintain power indefinitely but our own experience in the socialist utopias of today suggests otherwise. Cellphones, plasma TVs, internet porn and Prozac are not enough to give people a reason to live. Modern western societies have instead chosen civilisational suicide. We have simply stopped breeding.

The official figures for fertility rates in the western world are alarmingly enough but the true situation is much worse. The official figures are inflated by the very high fertility rates of huge immigrant populations. The fertility rates for the actual European populations are in many countries not much more half the replacement rate. The situation in the US by comparison seems less catastrophic but that is mostly because of the extremely high fertility rates among Hispanics.

These low fertility rates can be attributed to variety of cause, but the most likely one is that westerners no longer believe their own civilisation has a future. Even worse, they no longer believe their own civilisation has a right to a future. They are crippled by irrational guilt, hatred of their own culture and fear.

The only answer to this seems to be massive immigration from the Third World. But it won’t work. The immigrants are from cultures that are implacably hostile to the West. These immigrants will not and do not wish to assimilate and they are not becoming productive citizens; they are becoming an additional drain on already overburdened welfare systems. But still they come, both in the vain hope that they will offer a magic solution to thew West’s intractable economic problems and to assuage liberal guilt.

The liberal socialist utopias will not survive mass Third World immigration. The immigrant communities, once they gain political power, will systematically overturn the policies of Cultural Marxism. The western women who refuse to have children because it might interfere with their freedoms will then find all of their freedoms taken away from them. The very Cultural Marxism that allowed the creation of the soft totalitarians of the West will destroy them.

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