Huxley’s finger was on the pulse of human freedom, and he warned us over 50 years ago that it was fading fast. In 1958, he predicted that when concentrated in the hands of the “Power Elite,” rapidly evolving “mass communication” like television would be a critical tool of social and political conformity. Technology is only the medium, and it is “neither good nor bad,” Huxley wrote, but when in the wrong hands it can be “among the most powerful weapons in the dictator’s armory.” Propaganda, the suppression of the truth, particularly in democratic societies, Huxley argued, would bring upon an age of human enslavement, where instead of yokes and chains, people in celebrated “free” societies like America would be bound by the soft restraints of ignorance, incuriousness, distraction and irrationality.
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