Comment: What Is Your View Of 'Soft Tyranny'? Is It No Less Tyrannical...

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What Is Your View Of 'Soft Tyranny'? Is It No Less Tyrannical...

because most men fail to realize its pervasive and insidious influence? I don't disagree that if you give a rat a pellet long enough he will come to desire it, expect it, rely upon and ultimately demand it, nor when faced with the discontinuation of his bribe that he will become restless, anxious, and angry. I am more interested in first causes. Are we born seeking bribes or are we conditioned to become that way? If our sense of entitlement is steadily, carefully schooled into us, is not personal responsibility for our low estate somewhat mitigated? Likewise, are we born guardians of our own freedom or are not the traits of self-reliance and liberty instilled into us by our forebears, and if so, how much credit do we dare take? America's history provides something of an answer. We have been the freest people the world has ever seen in our not so distant past despite our present condition of virtual servitude. So I think we are born both with something in us which yearns to be free and something else which yearns for a benevolent caretaker. Clearly the penchant for either can be brought out by careful cultivation.

In his letter Huxley mentions Freud but he doesn't mention his son-in-law Bernays, the intellectual father of modern mass propaganda. I think you are too quick to discount the power modern tools of psychological control have over us. Don't mistake me, at some point we do assume responsibility for our "conditioning", like now when it is all going wrong.