Skip to main content

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated Cookie policy, Privacy policy and Terms & Conditions

Exterior of trump towers Peter Kramer/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s Brave New World

With the election of Trump, who has named a white supremacist as his chief adviser, America could become a very ugly country. But even if Trump stops short of neo-fascism, voters, so busy sharing fake news on social media, could gradually lose their remaining capacity to distinguish between lived reality and its virtual shadow.

NEW YORK – “What we love will ruin us,” predicted Aldous Huxley in 1932. In Brave New World, he described a human race that, by 2540, has been destroyed by ignorance, a lust for constant entertainment, the dominance of technology, and an overabundance of material goods. With Donald Trump’s recent election as president, the United States seems to be fulfilling Huxley’s prediction more than 500 years ahead of schedule.

America’s public culture has long shied away from highbrow thinking, often touting a kind of demotic laissez-faire egalitarianism as a precondition for unrestricted creativity and the unbridled capitalism that it supports. All anyone needs to get ahead are guts and perseverance.

That was once an attractive proposition for countries like the Soviet Union, which was closer to the world of George Orwell’s own dystopian novel 1984. In a place where government control had forced all cultural creativity underground, the demotic spirit and imagination that America seemed to embody seemed like a dream.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

https://prosyn.org/CbZrIU2;
  1. lhatheway8_Spencer PlattGetty Images_stockmarketcoronavirus Spencer Platt/Getty Images

    A COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan

    Larry Hatheway

    The rapid escalation of the COVID-19 crisis may be setting the stage for a global recession. Economic policymakers have no time to waste in preparing a response – preferably one that makes full use of low and falling bond yields, below-target inflation, and the lessons of the last recession.

    0
  2. fischer166_JIM WATSONAFP via Getty Images_trumplookingangrywef Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

    The West’s Final Countdown?

    Joschka Fischer

    With the US presidential election approaching, no one can say they didn't foresee the possibility of Donald Trump winning a second term – an event that would pose an existential threat to the very idea of "the West." So why are European leaders spending their time squabbling over agriculture subsidies?

    8

Edit Newsletter Preferences