American Thinker: Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World appeared in 1932. Everyone at that time was dazzled by the technocratic skills of the Ford Motor Company, able to turn out identical cars by the millions on highly efficient assembly lines. In Huxley’s novel, the calendar counts years A.F. – After Ford – and God’s new name is Ford.
The zeitgeist was obsessed with control. Ideologues liked the possibility of more precise social engineering. Communists in particular were focused on planned societies and central economies, with super-smart experts sitting around a table and deciding what every citizen could do and could not do. Psychiatrists like Ivan Pavlov wanted to show how drastically you could manipulate cognition and personality.
Aldous Huxley devised a single beautiful image for capturing all of these hopes and fears: a hi-tech assembly line where infants were manufactured to specification. In particular, oxygen levels were adjusted to create babies of very low, low, medium, and very high intelligence. This image, this metaphor, was stunning in its concreteness. A huge industrial operation, all clean and shiny, all stainless steel and glass, did what nobody had thought of doing before: control human intelligence in embryo.
It turns out there is an activity in the real world, in real society, that is exactly parallel. That was the creation of readers to order. By the simple device of depriving some children of certain key information, they were stunted, no longer able to become professors, more or less predestined for low-level jobs.
As Huxley in the year 1931 was doing the final edit on his book, this country’s Education Establishment built a new sort of assembly line for producing flawed children. Instead of withholding oxygen, this factory withheld the alphabet. Parents were told that the ABCs are not essential and could be ignored. As one famous expert announced dogmatically, “[c]urrent practice in the teaching of reading does not require knowledge of letters.” Really? MORE HERE