September 29, 2017

“There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running around with lit matches.”

The Real Reason We Need to Stop Trying to Protect Everyone’s Feelings by Ryan Holiday who discusses Roy Bradbury's famous Fahrenheit 451.

How did it come to be that firemen burned books instead of putting out fires as they always had? The firemen have been doing it for so long they have no idea. Most of them have never even read a book. Except one fireman—Captain Beatty—who has been around long enough to remember what life was like before. As Montag begins to doubt his profession—going as far as to hide a book in his house—he is subjected to a speech from Beatty. In it Beatty explains that it wasn’t the government that decided that books were a threat. It was his fellow citizens.

“It didn’t come from the government down,” he tells him. “There was no dictum, no declaration, no censorship, to start with, no!”  In fact, it was something rather simple—something that should sound very familiar. It was a desire not to offend—of an earnest notion to literally have “everyone made equal.” ....

In the 50th anniversary edition, Bradbury includes a short afterword where he gives his thoughts on current culture. Almost as if he is speaking directly about the events above, he wrote: “There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running around with lit matches.”

There’s that saying: The road to hell is paved with good intentions. When it comes to censorship, one might say that the road to thought and speech control is paved by people trying to protect other people’s feelings.
Posted by Jill Fallon at September 29, 2017 3:30 PM | Permalink