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Tak 1

Mihir Tak
Dr. Rogers
English 106
April 22, 2013
A Critique of Statism in Huxley’s Brave New World
“Give me liberty or give me death”- Patrick Henry
Aldous Huxley presents a dystopian world in which an all- powerful state controls the
behavior and actions of its people to preserve its own stability and power. The World State has
rigid control over reproduction, technology, economic welfare, and social hierarchy, all
characteristics of statism. According to Jonah Levy, author of The State After Statism: New State
Activities in the Age of Liberalization, statism is defined as a political system in which the state
has substantial centralized control over social and economic affairs (1). Unchecked statism leads
to the mechanization and the death of liberty, as well as the exploitation of the poor.
The main tools the World State uses to oppress its people are a stratified social hierarchy
and technology. There are five castes named after the first five letters of the Greek alphabet:
Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon. Each has their own role in society, but Alphas and
Betas are the top tier, controlling the government and the scientific field. All the castes are kept
under control by pre-birth conditioning and genetic engineering. The World State rewards the
Alphas, Betas, and most Gammas with apartments, cars, clothes, and unlimited sex when they
reach adulthood. If anyone rebels, they are taken away and “re-educated”. The government also
has absolute control over reproduction through technological and medical intervention, including
the surgical removal of ovaries, the Bokanovsky process, and hypnopaedic conditioning. Even

just like an untreated cancer must ultimately devour its host (15). mechanical atmosphere. It was the basis of the Cold War. Statism creates hierarchical societies like the one depicted in Brave New World. there are people who extol this deadening method of centralized production as the proudest achievement of our age. because all of them are impossible in a clocklike. They fail utterly to realize that if we are to continue in machine subserviency. the government restricts what people can do before they are “born”. and the battle between democracy and communism. believes that statism is responsible for the destruction of liberty: Strange to say. The debate over whether power should rest with the government or with the people has been raging for the past two centuries. In Brave New World.” must necessarily pit itself against the natural world and leave ecological ruin in its wake. The centralization of power in the hands of a government not only signals the end of liberty. This allows the state to have supreme power. they are confined within social parameters. Emma Goldman. The people who long for the triumph of justice are soon forced to recognize that the realization of their generous and humanitarian ideas cannot take place in a . of art and science. our slavery is more complete than was our bondage to the king (40). Alphas and Betas are freer to pursue their passions than the other castes that are left to take menial jobs. President of Goddard College. According to Murray Bookchin. but also of health and beauty. which devours nature like an untreated disease. a capitalistic society based on competition and growth for its own sake must ultimately devour the natural world.Tak 2 though people are free to act as they please. “Grow or Die. This type of government-based society exploits and degrades the poor. An economy that is structured around the maxim. an anarchist from the Russian Revolution. a fundamental characteristic of statism.

are far from giving to society the prosperity. but the state is equally responsible for putting people to death and killing thousands of civilians abroad each year. Although it could be argued that governments try to protect their citizens. and never can have. The United States of America. infringes on countless people’s rights every day. it becomes evident that the economic institutions. In 1880. Goldman explains how the State fails to prioritize the interests of its people: Aside from the fact that the State is itself the greatest criminal. and killing in the form of war and capital punishment. wrote a thoughtprovoking article in support of the French Revolution that discusses the chaos statism would cause: In periods of frenzied haste towards wealth. a morality. It is the complete opposite of humanity in that it opposes human freedom and justice. prosperity is replaced with poverty and insecurity and a perpetual war of the exploiter against the worker. The State has failed to destroy or even minimize the horrible scourge of its own creation. . The key distinction between individuals and the State is that the State has never had. Peter Kropotkin. the reality is that they are inherently destructive and cause crime. it has come to a standstill in coping with crime (41). breaking every written law. which control production and exchange. the land of the free and the home of the brave. as well as causes the forcible disruption of the common solidarity of mankind. In reality. which they are supposed to guarantee (3). and millions of people lost their lives. stealing in the form of taxes. The government tries to curb lawlessness and prevent atrocities like murder from happening. the editor of Le Revolt. simply to promote its agenda.Tak 3 socially stratified society. His argument was proven to be true when the French Revolution broke out into sheer madness.

and eliminates reproductive autonomy. and change living substances at will. where breakthroughs in embryology have rendered motherhood meaningless. explains how we have lost control over our science and technology: Scientists have the ability to synthesize. philosopher at Penn State University. Statism pits the goals of the State against the goals of the people. even if it hinders medical research. the manliness.Tak 4 On the other hand. World Wars I and II were directly triggered by advanced weaponry and machinery. The most logical alternative to statism is a State that has limited control over social and economic issues. This is evident in Brave New World. but we are not prepared for this change. The ability for governments to decide what technology can be used is extremely dangerous. can develop and expand. This kind of police State in the long run is destined to fail because historically the poor always revolt against the ruling class. The World State in Brave New World has absolute authority and controls individuals from the cradle to the grave. Huxley shows that people essentially become pawns of the State when they lack free will and have no control over technology. it has absolute control. split. We all admire these daring research projects without. and millions of people died. Since the State can make medical decisions on behalf of its people. thinking about it. No individual is capable of controlling the atomic age (253). however. The real world has seen its fair share of atrocities caused by technological advancements. then the people have to oblige. Joseph Kockelmans. The world is becoming more scientific. and the happiness of the people. If the government doesn’t want research to be conducted on embryonic stem cells. Freedom is the only condition under which the intelligence. putting technology in the hands of the State poses a great threat to the people of the world. making it a flawed .

2006. . Works Cited Berneri. 1990. Camillo. statism creates a social hierarchy that restricts autonomy and exploits the poor. the Historical Background. New York: Free. Brave New World. Huxley. Print. Murray. 1. London: Freedom. Philosophy of Science. and Other Essays. Print. Bookchin. Print. MA: Harvard UP. Essentially. 1968.. Print. 40-41. Cambridge. Jonah D. Peter Kropotkin: His Federalist Ideas. 253. 1969. Emma. "Introduction. 3. 15. Print. New York: Harper Publishing. Kockelmans. Anarchism. Remaking Society. Joseph J.Tak 5 political system. Montréal: Black Rose. 2006." The State after Statism: New State Activities in the Age of Liberalization. Levy. Print. and Richard Drinnon. Goldman. New York: Dover Publications. Aldous. and for this reason must be rejected. 1943.