January 14, 2021

THE MOBBING OF A PORTLAND BOOKSTORE REMINDS US WHY FAHRENHEIT 451 WAS WRITTEN:

In the novel Fahrenheit 451, author Ray Bradbury depicted a world in which firemen do not put out fires; they ignite them. In Bradury’s dystopian world, books have been outlawed, and it is the fire department’s job to go around burning them, with the eventual goal of eliminating books entirely from society. That way, the authorities reason, they can control peoples’ access to information. And by controlling what information people may access, they can control public opinion.

“You can’t build a house without nails and wood,” one character explains. “If you don’t want a house built, hide the nails and wood.”

“If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one,” the same character later says in defense of the society’s book-burning efforts. “Better yet, give him none. Let him forget there is such a thing as war. If the government is inefficient, top-heavy, and tax-mad, better it be all those than that people worry over it.”

Exit quote: “Of course, history’s most infamous book burners were the Nazis, who also sought to ‘win the debate’ through censorship. Antifa’s ‘anti-fascist’ credentials are not helped by adopting typically fascist tactics.”

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