In Ray Bradbury’s classic “Fahrenheit 451”, readers are given a window into the future where America has reached a point where firefighters are repurposed as book burners in a society where all literature banned. The book covers a particular firefighter, Montag, who struggles with the reality of his occupation and dedicates his life to the preservation of the very thing he was sworn to destroy. “Fahrenheit 451” refers to the temperature at which books catch on fire.
While Bradbury’s efforts have largely been opined as a commentary on McCarthyism, the themes in the book provide a scary look into our not-to-distant future should we continue down the path on which we are currently. When several years ago, there was the mass canceling of Alex Jones and his InfoWars channel, I held back at supporting the action because I felt it was a dangerous path to go down. Why? Because at some point, the “powers that be” might decide that what I do and say amounts to “fake news” or “propaganda.” That doesn’t mean that I agree with the content on InfoWars or the rancorous delivery of Alex Jones. What it does mean is that I think that he has the right to say it, even if it amounts to nothing more than opinion.
Bradbury has since come out and stated that the book is more of a commentary on media becoming a threat to literature, as television discourages the exploration of the literary world. In many ways, he isn’t wrong, however, I believe there’s more to Bradbury’s commentary from 14 years ago than any time previous. In the lead-up to the 2020 election, RedState published numerous articles regarding topics like the COVID-19 spread and business dealings of Hunter Biden. Mainstream media and BigTech did their best to silence our voice, labeling our articles as “misinformation” and “fake news,” despite the fact that the vast majority of the information contained in those articles was sourced to places like the CDC and the United States Secret Service. Nevermind, the effort and research our writers put into educating people about the real workings of the world, some SJW troll at some BigTech firm labeled or flagged our articles while switching between Pornhub windows at work. Exchanged for the words, written through deep research and legitimate effort to inform, were flashy images on a screen telling them that they shouldn’t even bother reading it as it somehow would misinform them. Nevermind the fact they were flat out wrong. Their conduit into people’s homes, “trumped” ours, and eliminated the potential of the readers becoming more engaged and informed. The modern left has become the firefighters of Bradbury’s novel.
Our society has taken a hard left in recent years, canceling images on the sides of boxes of rice and bottles of syrup, believing that somehow that publicizing their actions would call off the cancel culture vultures, circling above, looking for their next target. Instead of enacting real change, by doing literally anything of value, they bow to the wishes of impotent actions that change next to nothing. Does eliminating Aunt Jemima from the side of the syrup bottle end racism? No. Does it even make a dent in the potential systemic issues our country faces? No. The modern left would seek to blame generations of racial tension in this country on a brand, while simultaneously ignoring their own actions which continue to victimize minority communities across the country. As they burn the records of Jemima and Uncle Ben, they worship at the altar of the War on Drugs and Poverty which continue to victimize members of the black community today.
They burn historical books and tear down monuments in the name of “tolerance,” despite many of these things being reminders of our own checkered history. While we tolerate the left calling people on the right “nazis,” these same people ignore their own hateful and divisive past. They seek to hold those accountable who attacked the Capitol on January 6th, while the very perpetrators of the last attack on the Capitol are elevated within their own ranks. The occasional earthquakes we feel here in Los Angeles are likely less seismic activity, and more Ray Bradbury rolling over in his grave on a continual basis.
It isn’t government censorship that Bradbury was worried about. It was the lack of education based upon the spread of technology that caused him to fear. In a time where the literal totality of information in the world is on a device in our pockets, our society continues its nosedive into ignorance. This was Bradbury’s nightmare. When the quest for knowledge used to be found in books, it is now found in memes and tic tok videos. When people used to make decisions based upon the wealth of information at their fingertips, it is now made based upon what is likely to offend the least amount of people. We are living the dystopian nightmare Bradbury wrote about nearly 70 years ago.
Instead of 451 being the temperature at which books burn, 2021 is the time in which society does.
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