Fahrenheit 451

ARTICLE | Ray Bradbury: Anarchist at Heart Thumbnail

Ray Douglas Bradbury (August 22, 1920 – June 5, 2012)

On June 5, acclaimed author Ray Bradbury passed away. I can’t say I have been much affected by the loss. My relationships with most authors typically begin and end within the pages of their books. I find that delving into writers’ and actors’ lives — specifically the components of their political beliefs — is often a disappointing venture to complete. Yet it still saddens me that our world is no longer graced by the man’s presence.

It is interesting that he descended from Mary Bradbury, a woman who was convicted and sentenced to hang in the 1600s during the infamous Salem witch trials. After such brutalities were imposed on the family, I can’t tell if it’s nature or nurture that Ray grew up to be skeptical of the way things were. Among Mary’s other descendents is Ralph Waldo Emerson, the world-renowned individualist writer who grew up to say, “The less government we have the better.” I found out a few years ago that one of my great-great-great-great- ad infinitum grandmothers, too, was prosecuted as a witch during the Puritans’ wicked trials. I can take this only as a fantastic compliment and hope that my antistate relatives were fighting the good fight with the Bradbury family, leading to the libertarian ideals I now cherish so deeply.

Bradbury’s first original book, Fahrenheit 451, is a fiery testament against the censorship of opposing ideas. He maintained repeatedly that the people — not the state — were the book’s antagonists, but the real enemy, more than the actual individuals in question, was their obsession with political correctness, which led to the shredding and burning of old literature in the first place. And as anyone will tell you, we libertarians typically have little patience for political correctness. It does nothing except dilute the true meaning of words and stupefies the population into apathy.

[Keep reading…]

{ 0 comments }

Help Promote Prometheus Unbound by Sharing this Post

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

In light of Ray Bradbury’s recent passing, it may be apropos to revisit an old episode of Jeff Riggenbach’s Libertarian Tradition podcast from 2010 in which he discusses why we should revisit Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 45.

You can also read the transcript below:

Ray Bradbury celebrated his 90th birthday this past Sunday. He was born August 22, 1920 in Waukegan, Illinois, a medium-sized town of around 20,000 people about midway between Chicago and Milwaukee on the western shore of Lake Michigan. Bradbury has depicted Waukegan fondly, even idyllically, in his fiction, most notably in his 1957 novel Dandelion Wine — even though the Waukegan conjured up in that book, which is set in 1928, is a bit larger than the Waukegan Bradbury was born into in 1920. The town’s population grew by more than 50 percent during the ’20s. By the beginning of the Great Depression, there were more than 33,000 people who called Waukegan home. The Bradbury family was not to be among these people for much longer, however.

They had already spent a year in Tucson, Arizona in the ’20s, for reasons having to do with Ray’s father’s employment. Tucson was where Ray attended first grade. And in school year 1932/33, when Ray was 12, they were back in Tucson again. Then, after a few months cleaning up loose ends in Waukegan, not long before Ray’s 14th birthday, they moved to Los Angeles, where they remained. Ray Bradbury himself is there to this day. It was in Los Angeles that he went through high school and in Los Angeles that he launched his extremely successful career as a fiction writer.

It is common to hear Ray Bradbury described as a “science-fiction writer,” but this is misleading at best. Only a minority of Bradbury’s total production is science fiction by any normal standard, and at least half of it is straightforward realistic fiction like Dandelion Wine. The fact is, however, that Bradbury’s second, third, and fourth books, his first three books to come to widespread attention —The Martian Chronicles (1950), The Illustrated Man (1951), and Fahrenheit 451 (1953) — were works of science fiction, or, at least, were widely believed to be. Bradbury was typecast early, you might say. He came to fame as a “science-fiction writer,” and a “science-fiction writer” he will therefore forever remain.

For our purposes here, on the other hand, Bradbury’s most important book is undeniably the third of those titles I just listed: Fahrenheit 451, his short novel about censorship, one of the most influential libertarian novels of the 20th century, first published nearly 60 years ago. And of all Ray Bradbury’s books, Fahrenheit 451 is probably the one most entitled to be called “science fiction.”

[Keep reading…]

{ 0 comments }

Help Promote Prometheus Unbound by Sharing this Post

If you enjoy dystopian fiction, and dystopias often provide great fodder for libertarians, be sure to keep an eye on Tor.com this week.

From the announcement:

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” —Nineteen Eighty-Four

Over sixty years later, 1984 has come and gone, but Orwell’s unsettling vision of the future continues to resonate throughout our culture, along with so many other great dystopian works of the last century, from Fahrenheit 451 toThe Hunger GamesMetropolis to Blade RunnerHarrison Bergeron to The Handmaid’s Tale…the list goes on and on and so, on this bright, not-so-cold day in April, we’re pleased to announce a weeklong celebration of a subgenre which has continually challenged the comfortable boundaries of our imaginations.

[Keep reading…]

{ 0 comments }

Help Promote Prometheus Unbound by Sharing this Post

In a new addition to the Mises Institute’s online media library today, part of The Libertarian Tradition podcast series, Jeff Riggenbach discusses libertarian science fiction.

Riggenbach discusses the role of science fiction in keeping individualism alive, the phenomenon of all the best known libertarian novels being science fiction novels, Eric S. Raymond’s “A Political History of SF” in which Raymond argues that science fiction has a natural affinity with libertarianism, and the importance of dramatizing our values (pdf).

Reviewed in some detail are A.E. van Vogt’s novel The Weapon Shops of Isher and Eric Frank Russell’s novel The Great Explosion.

Transcript.

{ 3 comments }

Help Promote Prometheus Unbound by Sharing this Post

Archives (by Date)

  • 2014 (2)
  • 2013 (20)
  • 2012 (125)
  • 2011 (73)
  • 2010 (22)

Categories

  • Admin Updates (7) 
  • IP (30) 
  • Statism (15) 

Support Prometheus Unbound








$


Donate toward our web hosting bill!




Get 1 FREE Audiobook from Audible with 30;Day FREE Trial Membership


We recommend Scrivener as the best content-generation tool for writers.

Recent Comments