One of the best barometers for critiquing attitudes in today's culture is to tune into The Diane Rhem Show on National Public Radio. A few days ago Rhem and a panel of distinguished guests discussed the book, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. And if you happened to tune in, you found out a lot about how our opinion elites think—or maybe don't think.
You may remember the plot of the book: Brave New World describes a future society where children are conceived in test tubes in laboratories and then are assigned to a strict caste system. No family attachments are allowed. Everyone is encouraged, however, to have free sex and to take "happy pills." They are controlled by being kept in a state of perpetual bliss. No one questions his place in the state.
The book is, of course, a powerful warning against the spread of totalitarianism.
But in the Rhem discussion, one panelist seemed to take some of the satire seriously, saying that people in the story, after all, were well off. Another speculated only on the politically incorrect characterizations.
PEOPLE FILL VOIDS IN THEIR LIVES.
But what was lost on the whole group were the ironies of it all.
The first irony was that someone named Huxley could even write this book. Aldous Huxley was the grandson of T. H. Huxley, the nineteenth-century biologist who was nicknamed "Darwin's Bulldog." No man apart from Darwin himself is more responsible for the spread of philosophical materialism—the belief that everything around us can explained by purely material processes.
It was T. H. Huxley who defended Darwin against his critics, including those who warned of the moral and cultural collapse that Darwinism would eventually create. In addition, Aldous was, as well, the nephew of Julian Huxley, who took Darwinism to its logical extreme, calling for a one-world government and even eugenics.
Well, ironically, in Brave New World, grandson Aldous Huxley is protesting against the world that the other Huxleys made possible. Totalitarianism becomes inevitable when people believe there is nothing intrinsically special about being human and when they believe there is no God. But the elites don't even get it—they've been blissfully sucked into the Brave New World themselves, and they can't even see what is happening.
The other irony lost on the participants was the parallels between Huxley's Brave New World and our own postmodern culture. Just like in the book, people fill the void in their lives through various distractions like pills and sex. Postmodern people seek pleasure and sensation because our rejection of God and His moral order leaves us feeling empty.
The fact that these ironies were lost on the panel shows just how blind our elites have become to the truth. When faced with a prophetic book like Huxley's, they don't see they have become the very pitiful creatures prophetically created in its pages. But they are like lots of other folks in our society who do not see that naturalism and evolution have finally brought us to the brink of the very horrors Huxley warned of.
The postmodern culture has led us to a precipice—and it is Christians who must sound the alarm.
Today, Brave New World surprisingly is turning up on best-seller lists for teenagers—and that's marvelous news. It's a great book, and it opens the door for us to explain what the elites can't see: what the loss of a Christian worldview leads to.