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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.

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