The America depicted in the news is every day coming closer to the dystopian future imagined by science-fiction novelists. I am not referring so much to the rising tide of violence and irrationality that has overtaken our society at all levels as to the systematic spiritual, intellectual, and social desolation of our public culture.
One symptom of this desolation was diagnosed by George Orwell: the ever-increasing submission of American minds to marketing and propaganda. Orwell extrapolated from the Cold War to a future dominated by totalitarian coalitions that constantly manipulated their servile populations by means of gigantic media that whipped up hatred and war frenzy.
The Cold War ended some time ago, but the media are more devoted to hatemongering than anything Orwell could imagine. The media’s hate sessions are aimed not only at inconvenient heads of state but at designated private citizens accused of hate crimes. When John Derbyshire challenged—correctly or incorrectly—the egalitarian party line, his “friends” at National Review joined the further left in pronouncing a fatwa against him. I skimmed hundreds of tweets in response and failed to find evidence of conscious human life. The future belongs to them.
A generation before Orwell, Aldous Huxley sketched out a Brave New World in...