Aldous Huxley wrote his ‘Brave New World Revisited’ in 1958. It is impossible not to be surprised by his prophetic fantasy and the shocking analysis of propaganda and persuasion in the remote future. In his book, Huxley explains that social media, which was not even a concept back then, will be an important tool that politicians will use to manipulate humanity.
Huxley called this centralised manipulation of societies through media "nonviolent manipulation". Clearly expressing that the era of "ruling by fear", as done by dictators such as Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin, is over, the author warns us about the harms of excessive technology and ignorance.
“In the era of non-violent manipulation, those who do their jobs for them will be rewarded, but those who want to use their professional abilities politically or ideologically will be punished immediately.”
This prediction clearly applies to governments’ behaviour, especially those of developing countries, that accuse ordinary people of “being dangerously political” when they simply seek to call the governments to account for the whereabouts of the taxes they have been paying as citizens, or, as victims of a disaster, when they criticise them for failing to act properly in an emergency situation.
In such countries, those who run their businesses as desired by the government and focus only on their own tasks are always rewarded for being compliant. The reproaches of talented, capable and intelligent people about the way the country is governed, on the other hand, are always considered a threat.
A governing system that prevents citizens from causing problems is trying to dominate the world
Indeed, today, a governing system that prevents citizens from causing problems is trying to dominate the world. The most important activity of governments in electoral democracies and autocracies has become silencing the citizens from speaking out and distorting the facts by means of social media.
It doesn't matter whether government or opposition, both of them are spending serious amounts of money to build troll factories on social networks that seek to interfere in people’s political opinions.
The posts and comments by this institutionalised group of social media trolls prevent citizens from participating in politics in a fair political environment. Huxley said, "Because most people in underdeveloped countries cannot have their basic needs fully met, they cannot voice their political preferences in a just political environment."
As I have stated in my previous articles, people who ignore management mistakes, wrongdoings and unethical practices in order not to lose their jobs or given advantages. actually change their own destiny, their future, for the worse.
Overpopulation, hence over-organisation, and centralised government ultimately kills democracy
A significant part of the developing countries is densely populated and accordingly the word "stability" is used a lot by their governments, who tend to attempt to "establish order in the country", claiming that there was nothing but chaos before they came to power.
Huxley warns us again, “Overpopulation, hence over-organisation, and centralised government ultimately kills democracy.” In such countries, it is not surprising that democracy is defined only by election cycles. And, since large masses of people are not easy to control, "stability" is truly achieved only when it comes to steadily manipulate the society.
“Manipulation is used by commercial and political organisations to skilfully sway the thoughts and emotions of the masses to get them to act or feel in a certain way for the benefit of the few,” said Huxley, also adding:
“The passion for autocracy, which is the enemy of civil liberties, draws its power from technology.”
As I mentioned in some of my previous articles, today's digital giants are the power source of state capitalism and centralisation. Governments control and manipulate people by means of digital technology provided by these companies.
Although they don’t do it exactly as it was described in George Orwell's "1984", even the thought of ‘government is watching us’ is enough to instil the perception among citizens that they are "constantly monitored", and establishing this perception is crucially important for governments.
Through governments’ manipulation, people are moulded into thinking that they don’t need freedom and liberties while their country is struggling to survive.
Changing people’s minds through manipulation becomes easier as overpopulation puts pressure on resources
As a matter of fact, changing people’s minds through manipulation becomes easier as overpopulation puts pressure on resources.
Although well-intentioned leaders come to power from time to time, the result does not change. Because in such countries, even the humblest people tend to want more when they rise to a position of power.
Most of the time, bullies are born from those who have strong desire for establishing order. And what makes this phenomenon look like something quite normal and ordinary is the state of constant crisis in these countries, which seemingly necessitates a centralised management of everyone and everything.
“Small business owners are eliminated because large corporations are easier to control”, said Huxley 70 years ago.
Indeed, we see politicians all over the world transferring more resources to the wealthy to control economic activities and finance political activities more easily.
Not only corporations but also the judiciary system, the press and the mass media become controlled by governments in this large and corrupt ecosystem. What you have read so far may have unsettled you, but let's not forget that the biggest opponent of political engineering is human nature.
The ultimate values we could create are life and awareness
Human nature is nothing like that of bees or ants. Humans like to live in groups, but they are also fond of their freedom. Uniformity and freedom are not compatible with each other.
By failing to impose administrative and cultural uniformity, governments seek to create factions among people. In such autocratic countries, you often hear pro-government groups say to others, "you're either with us or a traitor".
As this type of governing would eventually lead to violence, governments return to the previously tried and tested but not long-lasting method of ruling of the 20th century and ultimately lose their power based on fear and brutality.
These countries are also characterised by constant manipulation to push people into thinking that women must be obedient.
Opinions are imposed on the general public by using discourses such as "Women and men cannot be equals, they are different by nature", by telling stories of women considered to be sacred by societies throughout history.
"How can this holy woman walking on the street and that ordinary man be treated as equals?", manipulating people’s thoughts and feelings through such impositions, the inequality between men and women is reinforced. However, these attempts are against human nature and would backfire after a while.
Human life is not valued in overpopulated societies
Unfortunately, human life is not valued in overpopulated societies, and it is constantly imposed on people that it is more important to die for the cause and for the country than to live.
Although these are flattering words for patriotic people like us, we should not forget what Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, once said: "Unless a nation's life faces peril, war is murder."
"Just cause" should be defined by the conscience of the citizens, not by that of politicians and action should be taken accordingly. Everyone of sound mind should accept that you cannot generate genuine value, unless it is made from a concept, a decision or an act that is reinforced by the importance of human life and awareness.
Governments in overpopulated developing or underdeveloped countries use social media to manipulate people’s opinions around the notions of "right to life" or "lifestyle" in order to create fractions among them because governments are not fond of conscious citizens.
Democratic institutions of a state must have separate, independent powers and responsibilities
That's why each democratic institutions of a state must have separate, independent powers and responsibilities. Governments rule a country, but democratic institutions keep watch over the government. Citizens would be deprived of their rights and liberties in a country where constitutional or democratic institutions are seized by the government. Democracy can only be strengthened by the rule of law, and this is the ideal situation.
“Ultimately, democratic institutions are mechanisms that prevent governments from restricting citizens' rights and liberties by arbitrary decisions”, said Aldous Huxley. And I absolutely agree with him. This is the only way to ensure that people who are really good and worthy take part in critical decision-making.
Otherwise, under a fully centralised governing mechanism, people who are tasked with deciding the future of the people are appointed to positions of power just because they have been loyal or they have been ingratiating themselves with the powerful politicians. As Socrates warned us 2000 years ago,
“Citizens cannot be expected to abide by the rules if the administrators themselves are corrupt, if they give orders rather than govern.”