FBI kept tabs on Aldous Huxley’s dark vision of the future

Bureau followed with interest Huxley’s warnings of technology eroding the foundation of democracy

Written by JPat Brown
Edited by Beryl Lipton

The FBI file of Aldous Huxley, released after a FOIA request by Joseph Lloyd, reveals that while the English author was never under official investigation, the Bureau found his dystopian view of the future interesting enough to follow him and take notes.

The file begins in 1958, after Huxley had been interviewed on television by Mike Wallace. The interview was the work of the Fund for the Republic, a think tank founded in opposition to McCarthyism, which was itself enough to raise the FBI’s eyebrows. Huxley, the file notes, had never been deemed sufficiently suspicious to warrant an investigation …

though the Bureau was wary about his strong views on pacifism.

Despite the lack of official investigation, the Bureau taped the program and even took notes on Huxley’s views.

Those views include the literally growing threat of overpopulation …

the danger of emerging technology’s ability to erode reason …

the gradual conditioning of human beings to accept and embrace totalitarianism …

and the unfathomable horrors of science’s unintended consequences.

The Bureau, interest piqued, did their own version of subscribing to Huxley’s newsletter and started collecting press clippings.

Huxley apparently left enough of an impression on the FBI that when he spoke at a conference at UCLA three years later, there was an agent in attendance, again taking notes.

The last few years must have mellowed Huxley somewhat, as his “science will doom us all” message had been tempered into “science shouldn’t doom us all, if we can help it.”

(The old man still had enough harsh truth in him, however, to start the occasional “riot.”)

And in a true reversal, he even managed to end on a pretty heartwarming, optimistic note …

or at least as heartwarming and optimistic as you can get in the notes of an undercover FBI agent.

Read the full conference summary embedded below, or on the request page.


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