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« Reply #25 on: August 08, 2011, 05:56:12 pm »
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I worked for the Central Intelligence Agency, in the sixties.

You've got me hooked.
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« Reply #26 on: August 08, 2011, 06:40:08 pm »
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Cool, what'd you work on in the CIA? Also, I'm sadly not privvy to that information, but this is what I've done after previous research on the subject for a paper at school:

Don't want to turn this thread into a debate about the Cold War, but during Nixon's (and beyond) era of detente, the Soviet Union successfully expanded into French Indochina, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Portuguese Africa, Grenada, and Nicaragua. Not only that, but American stockpiles continually declined during the seventies and by 1978 the Soviets had surpassed us while we were still trending downward. I'm not here as some stalwart defender of Reagan because, after all, the Soviets led us in missiles throughout his Presidency. However, under Nixon, Communism was generally strengthened and Brezhnev himself declared in 1976 “The general crisis of capitalism is continuing to deepen” and would also write “Détente, in no way replaces, nor can it replace, the laws of class struggle… Détente, in fact, creates favorable conditions for struggle between the two systems and for altering the correlation of forces in favor of socialism.” Kissinger himself, the mastermind of detente, admitted in 1976 that America's position in the world was slipping.
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« Reply #27 on: August 08, 2011, 07:50:59 pm »
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I worked for the Central Intelligence Agency, in the sixties.

You've got me hooked.
I suppose I should give some of my background, so everyone knows where I'm coming from.

My older brother served on the USS Hornet during World War II.  When I graduated from High School in 1945, I immediately enlisted (in the army, I couldn't and still can't stand the thought of being cramped up in a ship); right as I was preparing to ship off we got the news that the war was over.  I was able to utilize the GI to get a bachelors in Business.  I did my service in Korea, leaving early with a purple heart and a bullet in the chest.

Luckily, the wound healed well.  I was married and had a son when I was approached by a recruiter.  I suppose my college and military background was what they were looking for, though my fathers connections couldn't have hurt.  He was a fairly influential banker and, while he never confirmed it, I always suspected he had a hand in that job (I was unemployed at the time).

I cut my teeth on the 1954 coup in Guatemala.  Then I was relocated to Iran where I had a hand in the initial set-up of SAVAK.  Afterwards, I did a little work in Iraq, but requested a reassignment to D.C so that I could be with my family, which now also included my daughter.

I can't go into details about exactly what went on at HQ, though I can tell you I worked as an analyst through the early sixties.  I alienated myself from the Bay of Pigs planning when I suggested that the idea was unworkable; a mistake that may have cost me my job a few years later.  During the early days of the Cuban Missile Crisis, my fellow middle east analysts first pitched the idea of withdrawing the old Jupiters in Turkey in exchange for a likewise withdrawal from the Soviets in Cuba.  The director ignored us, but luckily McNamara caught on and snagged Kennedy's ear.

Kennedy's assassination was absolutely awful.  I still remember, I was at lunch break when someone ran over and flipped on the old TV.  In the days following, there were some shakeups in the CIA.  I was let go, which I attribute to my earlier objection to the Cuban "Invasion."  I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but I distinctly remember the Director was a very nervous man in the days before and after the assassination.  I'm sure you all would love to hear some of those stories, but I'm rambling and, besides, I doubt they will be in the public domain.

Regards,
John Doe
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« Reply #28 on: August 08, 2011, 08:19:11 pm »
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That's awesome.
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« Reply #29 on: August 08, 2011, 08:27:45 pm »
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Cool, what'd you work on in the CIA? Also, I'm sadly not privvy to that information, but this is what I've done after previous research on the subject for a paper at school:

Don't want to turn this thread into a debate about the Cold War, but during Nixon's (and beyond) era of detente, the Soviet Union successfully expanded into French Indochina, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Portuguese Africa, Grenada, and Nicaragua. Not only that, but American stockpiles continually declined during the seventies and by 1978 the Soviets had surpassed us while we were still trending downward. I'm not here as some stalwart defender of Reagan because, after all, the Soviets led us in missiles throughout his Presidency. However, under Nixon, Communism was generally strengthened and Brezhnev himself declared in 1976 “The general crisis of capitalism is continuing to deepen” and would also write “Détente, in no way replaces, nor can it replace, the laws of class struggle… Détente, in fact, creates favorable conditions for struggle between the two systems and for altering the correlation of forces in favor of socialism.” Kissinger himself, the mastermind of detente, admitted in 1976 that America's position in the world was slipping.
First of all, raw warhead count is not an accurate measure of power.  Soviet missiles were of poor quality; reports indicated that the likely hood of system failure in their launch systems was so high that the cuts made under Nixon in effect did not endanger our projection capability or make it inferior to theirs.  In fact, a good number of the "cuts" were simply old missiles from the fifties that were scheduled for mothballing.  According to a buddy of mine, it took a lot of elbow grease to get the Soviets to buy it, at least publicly.  I'm on less-firm ground when it comes to Carter's cuts, because that friend of mine had retired by then, but then I'm not about to defend Carter.

You mentioned a few states that the Soviets expanded into, which I want to mention briefly. French Indochina was obviously lost after the South Vietnamese proved unable to hold their own.  In my opinion, and that of most at the time, they were welcome to that hellhole.  Not to mention that encircling China kept Mao and his successors on a leash.

Afghanistan, as I'm sure you know, was the USSR's Vietnam.  If you remember, the CIA armed the Taliban to fight the Reds, which was a strategic victory at the time but has come back to haunt us.

Basically, detente allowed both the USA and USSR to perform covert activities with less fear of nuclear Armageddon.  Activities such as the Angolan Civil War were more like moves in a grand game of chess between American and Russian intelligence agencies.  Compare that to the time period when I was active, which can be likened to a game of Russian Roulette.  Thank the Lord the pistol wasn't loaded in 1962.

Regards,
John Doe
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« Reply #30 on: August 08, 2011, 11:06:01 pm »
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Though it was written several decades before hand, Brave New World is a disturbingly concise exploration of what the world today might look like if the hippies of the sixties had gotten their way.  I cringe to think of retiring to a haze of soma, never to see my biological children who would have grown up in vats.  Thank the Lord for Nixon Reagan.

My thoughts exactly (though I am too young for children or retiring). It's the ultimate culture of secular hedonism.
Despite Watergate, I have always and will always have deep respect for President Nixon.  My eldest son was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam.  He died in 1969, near the end of his tour.  But Nixon pulled our boys out of that hellish quagmire Johnson created; he saved thousands of lives for which I will always be thankful.

Reagan was just President at a good time.  He was a good speech maker which allowed him to capitalize on the fall of the Soviet Union, something that has certainly given him a positive legacy.  Not to say that he was a bad President, but Reagan could never match the genius of Nixon.

Regards,
John Doe

The reason why I replaced Nixon with Reagan (which started the Cold War discussion) had nothing to do with foreign policy whatsoever. In that regard, Nixon was a far superior president and placed into a terrible situation that he handled with more skill than any president since him. I would not even attempt to dispute your statement, not only because I agree, but also because you would know far more about the subject that I would. I chose Reagan for starting the new revolution of American social conservatism, despite being himself an unlikely man to do so.

But I also don’t think the Brave New World Society was much of a communist dysutopia because no one there is oppressed and no one revolts. For a more communist styled dysutopia, read 1984. One of the key elements of the shallow, hedonistic life in the Brave New World is that virtually everyone consents to live that life. They consent to the idea that sex is exclusively for pleasure and should be practiced often and among different partners. They consent to the idea that the aging of the human body is purely a sign of weakness rather than strength and the death is preferable to it. They consent to the idea that recreational drug use of “soma” can render all problems unimportant by dulling the experience of failure and pain and covering them up like reality does not exist. They consent to the idea that religion is obsolete not by force but by indifference. It is the deepest case of removing every ounce of meaning from life I can find.

All in all, I see it as an exhibit of the worst elements of modern American social liberalism taken to the extreme. Now I realize there are pieces of the Brave New World that don’t completely fit that theme, mainly the castes, but all in all, I think it is a great dysutopia for the future of the US to try and avoid.
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« Reply #31 on: August 09, 2011, 12:36:45 am »
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All in all, I see it as an exhibit of the worst elements of modern American social liberalism taken to the extreme. Now I realize there are pieces of the Brave New World that don’t completely fit that theme, mainly the castes, but all in all, I think it is a great dystopia for the future of the US to try and avoid.

The castes are there in part because the Huxley missed the potential that non-sentient automation would have.  He wasn't alone in it.  For example, Clarke is famous for having predicted geosynchronous communication satellites in 1945, but he thought that they would have to be manned satellites.
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« Reply #32 on: August 09, 2011, 03:23:03 am »
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But I also don’t think the Brave New World Society was much of a communist dysutopia because no one there is oppressed and no one revolts. For a more communist styled dysutopia, read 1984. One of the key elements of the shallow, hedonistic life in the Brave New World is that virtually everyone consents to live that life. They consent to the idea that sex is exclusively for pleasure and should be practiced often and among different partners. They consent to the idea that the aging of the human body is purely a sign of weakness rather than strength and the death is preferable to it. They consent to the idea that recreational drug use of “soma” can render all problems unimportant by dulling the experience of failure and pain and covering them up like reality does not exist. They consent to the idea that religion is obsolete not by force but by indifference. It is the deepest case of removing every ounce of meaning from life I can find.

All in all, I see it as an exhibit of the worst elements of modern American social liberalism taken to the extreme. Now I realize there are pieces of the Brave New World that don’t completely fit that theme, mainly the castes, but all in all, I think it is a great dysutopia for the future of the US to try and avoid.


Put it this way: Brave New World is a perfect compendium of the reasons why my PM social score is as high as it is.

Obviously, given my overall political persuasion I'm not about to thank Reagan for countervailing that, but then, I don't think the problem's quite reached its worst yet. I'm at a school (University of Massachusetts) where it's fortunately pretty easy to find quiet and studious groups (particularly in my department, Asian Languages and Literatures) but whenever I venture outside said groups it's a jungle.

It's to the point where I can't help but wonder if the only reason my social score is negative at all is that most of my best friends over the years have been LGBT. That, and public funding for the arts (though I would have killed Piss Christ at the first opportunity, because that is not art).
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« Reply #33 on: August 09, 2011, 08:17:14 am »
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I think the discussions about the 'morality' in BNW are quite interesting as a lot of people tend to put their own values on it.

Huxley was an atheist, in fact his grandfather invented the term agnostic... personally, what I took from the book was that you don't need 'religion' to know what is right and wrong - Huxley was making moral judgments on the world that was being presented, conditioning humans to act only on primal needs and to divide them into castes is generally a bad thing... but for no other reason than it just was...

It was more of a condemnation of consumerism than anything else... people are designed to consume, in a way that is pre-determined, and then turned into a consumable.
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« Reply #34 on: August 09, 2011, 12:46:03 pm »
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I think the discussions about the 'morality' in BNW are quite interesting as a lot of people tend to put their own values on it.

Huxley was an atheist, in fact his grandfather invented the term agnostic... personally, what I took from the book was that you don't need 'religion' to know what is right and wrong - Huxley was making moral judgments on the world that was being presented, conditioning humans to act only on primal needs and to divide them into castes is generally a bad thing... but for no other reason than it just was...

It was more of a condemnation of consumerism than anything else... people are designed to consume, in a way that is pre-determined, and then turned into a consumable.

Oh, I know Huxley was an atheist. But it still fits impressively well for something that isn't written to fit. Of course the entire need of castes was wiped out by the advent of mechanization as pointed out by True Federalist. Still it is a good depiction of life squeezed of all value, religion nonwithstanding. It is odd how he made the alien to the Brave New World's society so religious. It's interesting to read his interactions with the 'civilized' people because they are completely mystified by his concepts of 'morality'.
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« Reply #35 on: August 09, 2011, 01:45:22 pm »
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I think the discussions about the 'morality' in BNW are quite interesting as a lot of people tend to put their own values on it.

Huxley was an atheist, in fact his grandfather invented the term agnostic... personally, what I took from the book was that you don't need 'religion' to know what is right and wrong - Huxley was making moral judgments on the world that was being presented, conditioning humans to act only on primal needs and to divide them into castes is generally a bad thing... but for no other reason than it just was...

It was more of a condemnation of consumerism than anything else... people are designed to consume, in a way that is pre-determined, and then turned into a consumable.

Essentially yes; it also pre-supposed the effects of statist quasi-religious ideology employed in Fascism or Stalinism (where religion was bastardised), and other political personality cults ("By Ford!)

Despite his agnosticism, Huxley was drug addled, obessed with mysticism and converted to Vedanta. That helps frame the context of the book.
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« Reply #36 on: August 20, 2011, 06:43:15 pm »
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Though it was written several decades before hand, Brave New World is a disturbingly concise exploration of what the world today might look like if the hippies of the sixties had gotten their way.  I cringe to think of retiring to a haze of soma, never to see my biological children who would have grown up in vats.  Thank the Lord for Nixon Reagan.

My thoughts exactly (though I am too young for children or retiring). It's the ultimate culture of secular hedonism.
Despite Watergate, I have always and will always have deep respect for President Nixon.  My eldest son was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam.  He died in 1969, near the end of his tour.  But Nixon pulled our boys out of that hellish quagmire Johnson created; he saved thousands of lives for which I will always be thankful.

Reagan was just President at a good time.  He was a good speech maker which allowed him to capitalize on the fall of the Soviet Union, something that has certainly given him a positive legacy.  Not to say that he was a bad President, but Reagan could never match the genius of Nixon.

Regards,
John Doe

The reason why I replaced Nixon with Reagan (which started the Cold War discussion) had nothing to do with foreign policy whatsoever. In that regard, Nixon was a far superior president and placed into a terrible situation that he handled with more skill than any president since him. I would not even attempt to dispute your statement, not only because I agree, but also because you would know far more about the subject that I would. I chose Reagan for starting the new revolution of American social conservatism, despite being himself an unlikely man to do so.

But I also don’t think the Brave New World Society was much of a communist dysutopia because no one there is oppressed and no one revolts. For a more communist styled dysutopia, read 1984. One of the key elements of the shallow, hedonistic life in the Brave New World is that virtually everyone consents to live that life. They consent to the idea that sex is exclusively for pleasure and should be practiced often and among different partners. They consent to the idea that the aging of the human body is purely a sign of weakness rather than strength and the death is preferable to it. They consent to the idea that recreational drug use of “soma” can render all problems unimportant by dulling the experience of failure and pain and covering them up like reality does not exist. They consent to the idea that religion is obsolete not by force but by indifference. It is the deepest case of removing every ounce of meaning from life I can find.

All in all, I see it as an exhibit of the worst elements of modern American social liberalism taken to the extreme. Now I realize there are pieces of the Brave New World that don’t completely fit that theme, mainly the castes, but all in all, I think it is a great dysutopia for the future of the US to try and avoid.

You are right, the society in Brave New World is not communist.  The novel's cast system flies in the face of Marxist principles.  The unadulterated hedonism is a staple a hippy society, though there are signs that there is an unseen oligarchy, running the baby make facilities and handling the distribution of the resources.  Brave New World is what might have happened if some charismatic leader had managed to harness the discontent of the youth in the sixties and used it to seize power. 

The young followers of Ron Paul strike me as very similar to the hippies of the sixties.  We seem to be entering an economic period similar to the crisis in the seventies, which could indeed culminate into another hippy movement.  Tell me, how many young libertarian smoke pot, hash or do acid?

Regards,
John Doe
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« Reply #37 on: August 26, 2011, 11:32:37 am »
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I cut my teeth on the 1954 coup in Guatemala.
I hope you're ashamed of yourself.

(No offense meant, of course. Interesting story!)
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« Reply #38 on: August 29, 2011, 04:40:42 pm »
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I cut my teeth on the 1954 coup in Guatemala.
I hope you're ashamed of yourself.

(No offense meant, of course. Interesting story!)
I was not in leadership at the time.  That operation was highly structured.  One does exactly as told in the middle of a clandestine operation and asks questions later.  So no, no shame.

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John Doe
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« Reply #39 on: August 29, 2011, 06:41:17 pm »
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We'll be reading this soon in AP Literature, right after we finish 1984. I look forward to it.
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« Reply #40 on: February 25, 2012, 11:55:09 am »
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Am I the only one who thought Brave New World was a good society, and would rather live there then the present?
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« Reply #41 on: February 25, 2012, 07:10:25 pm »
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Am I the only one who thought Brave New World was a good society, and would rather live there then the present?
Glad you bumped this - I forgot to ever follow through on my thoughts on it.

I actually loved the book, much preferred that society to 1984. The society obviously wasn't ideal, but I had a higher opinion of it than most of my classmates.
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« Reply #42 on: February 26, 2012, 10:31:43 pm »
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The society obviously wasn't ideal, but I had a higher opinion of it than most of my classmates.

Yeah, I can understand why some people could think it was dystopian but I hate it when people describe it as a "nightmare" akin to 1984.
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« Reply #43 on: February 26, 2012, 10:40:55 pm »
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I gotta read this book after hearing all this stuff about morality & philosophy & whatnot.
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« Reply #44 on: February 27, 2012, 05:54:12 am »
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We read this book a long time ago, probably 8 or 10 years ago, in school.

Need to read it again some day, because I don't know a lot from it anymore. Only remember that babies were "born" out of bottles and that the guy and his girlfriend went to New Mexico.
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« Reply #45 on: May 21, 2013, 05:50:50 pm »
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Its a horribly nihilistic book, if one concludes that that outcome is inevitable for modernity; if it is, one's better off joining Al Qaeda or Ted Kaczynski off in the woods.  I don't know enough about Huxley to say if that's the case.

What a silly thing to say.
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« Reply #46 on: June 17, 2013, 10:34:28 pm »
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Its a horribly nihilistic book, if one concludes that that outcome is inevitable for modernity; if it is, one's better off joining Al Qaeda or Ted Kaczynski off in the woods.  I don't know enough about Huxley to say if that's the case.

What a silly thing to say.

Some necromancy here--but I suppose this board does move rather slowly as it is.

The fact that you found Brave New World unobjectionable doesn't surprise in the least.
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« Reply #47 on: June 17, 2013, 11:59:48 pm »
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Well, out of all the classical dystopias, Brave New World is probably the least bad out of it, A Handmaid's Tale and 1984. That being said, it really makes one evaluate for what reason one has values.
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« Reply #48 on: June 18, 2013, 01:35:32 pm »
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I think we can safely concede at least that much, largely because of the character of Mustapha Mond and Huxley's decision to write him in a way that can be read as well-intentioned by some definitions and have him attempt to explain and defend himself.
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His idea of freedom is - it is a bad thing and should be stopped at all costs.

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« Reply #49 on: June 18, 2013, 08:45:20 pm »
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By what I said is that we know what we believe but do we believe that way for the right reasons? How should live be like in c. 2500 given your sets of values and goals?
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the result is a sense that we were told to attend a lavish dinner party that was going to be wonderful and by the time we got there, all the lobster and steak had been eaten, a fight had broken out, the police had been called and all that was left was warm beer and chips.
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