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Brave New World and Political Theory - Essay Example

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In Brave New World, Aldous Huxley presents one vision of a society that treats its own stability as the highest good while relegating individual citizens to the status of cogs in its massive machine. Huxley’s genius is in taking political ideas to their extreme. He wonders…
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Brave New World and Political Theory
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Download file to see previous pages Huxley draws inspiration from many great political thinkers as well as his own understanding of human nature. The idea of Hobbes, Mills, and Aristotle all inform Huxley’s understanding of the best and worst possible results of different styles of governance, allowing him to create a fictional novel illustrating the dangers of utopian thought carried to the extreme.
Hobbes, in his essay “Of the Natural Condition of Mankind as Concerning Their Felicity and Misery,” holds some paternal notions concerning the liberty of individuals. This and other ideas of his seem to inform the misguided government of Brave New World. Hobbes begins with the statement that men are essentially created equal. Although they may excel in one arena or another, the individual’s strengths are not so great that other influences of civilization do no level the playing field. Huxley utilizes this philosophy with his aphorism that all men are biologically the same.
According to Hobbes, the natural state of man is an inclination toward violence, as this is the only way to wrest from another that which is desired but cannot be shared. Therefore “during the time that men live without common power to keep them in awe they are in that condition which is called war; and such a war, as it is of every man, against every man” (Hobbes 12). In other words, Hobbes does not trust men to act with regard to others unless compelled by fear of retribution from some authoritative figure. This mirrors Huxley’s government, which sees the individual as a child who is not expected to think or behave except as “hypnopædia” (Huxley 16) has taught them. It is the basis of patriarchal thought, for only in a society where individuals cannot be trusted to behave can a government rationalize the removal of personal rights.
Aristotle believed that a benevolent monarchy would constitute the perfect government. However, he relegated this ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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