The one criticism I used to have of George Orwell’s 1984 was that it put forward the idea of a society based on an inherent imbalance of power as being stable.
If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.
Whenever there is inequality, I thought, there is the possibility of insurrection. Orwell answered this in the book by using techniques that seemed unworkable: keeping a watch on every single member of the middle class [outer-party], and keeping the workers [proles] happy and content enough not to rebel, even if they are deprived of basic necessities.
The shock for me came quite recently when it became apparent that not only was this feasible, it had already happened. Obviously I can only comment using my limited experience of the US and the UK, but in both countries there are sections of society prepared to fight to keep things the way they are regardless of how badly-off they may be: the rich fight to keep themselves rich; and the poor fight to keep the rich rich, presumably so that they have something to aspire to.
The poor will then even fight to reduce taxes as if it is only the taxes that are keeping them from the world of yachts and personal islands. Some of them will even then stand up and defend their right to be paid less by their employers in the pathetic hope that the riches will “trickle down” to them.
There is a thought in their minds that one-day they will be able to break away from the rest of the mugs and live the high life. While they are waiting, they can relax by watching ordinary people trying to achieve greatness through celebrity, on X-Factor and friends. With the rest of the mugs.
It’s really bastard difficult not to be cynical. Advice welcomed.