by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Kevin Williamson of National Review Online explores bizarre reactions in some political corners to our ever-improving world.
We were not supposed to have made it this far.
George Orwell saw night descending on us in 1984. Orwell was, on paper, a radical, but in his heart he was an old-fashioned English liberal. He dreamed of socialism but feared socialists. He feared them because he knew them. I was in the sixth grade in 1984, but I remember the magazine covers and pundit panels, and the insistence that though we had not arrived at dystopia on Orwell’s schedule, that eternal jackboot was sure to find our face soon enough. Tom Wolfe joked that “the dark night of fascism is always descending in the United States and yet lands only in Europe,” which wasn’t quite right: There’s Saudi Arabia, and China, and Burma . . .
But not here. And, increasingly, not there, either. As our friends at HumanProgress.Org remind us (to little thanks — nobody is less popular than an optimist) the world has in fact become more democratic and more liberal since 1984, rather than more autocratic and more illiberal. Orwell was the better writer and the more profound thinker, but Aldous Huxley was the better prophet.