Quote of the day—David S. Willis

Amid the technological chaos and Western culture wars of the 21st century, thinkpiece writers sporadically debate which of these novels more accurately foresaw our present predicament. Modern China most clearly embodies Orwell’s vision, and elements of both novels can be found in contemporary Western societies. However, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 offered perhaps a more accurate warning than either. Published in 1953, Bradbury’s novel is as gloomy and prescient as either Orwell’s or Huxley’s, but its explanation of how a dystopia is created comes closer to providing an understanding of our new reality.

David S. Willis
February 12, 2022
“A Pleasure to Burn”: We Are Closer to Bradbury’s Dystopia Than Orwell’s or Huxley’s
[I think he is right. Orwell’s vision could be on the horizon though.—Joe]


5 thoughts on “Quote of the day—David S. Willis

  1. Now I know what’s wrong with me. I never read any of those three novels.
    Even though 451 was required reading that year. The english teacher made a deal with me not to disturb his class.
    So while everyone else was reading 451. I was reading the Godfather.
    Which explains a lot actually.
    To me all those books are fascinating takes on human nature. And what it can become.
    I think that’s what keeps me coming back to the Bible. Especially the new testament. As Jesus is dealing with the same human nature. The evil of man. Just under different circumstances.
    The Tower of Babel, Noah, the book of Daniel. Always the same with humans.
    The only difference is the tools he uses.
    Going with Chris Langan’s CTMU model. It becomes quite easy to see of all possible choices. Man choses power and evil the most. Almost as a default.
    And the tools he uses to get there make for great fiction.
    And as were seeing, a horrid reality. Always needing a great hero, or massive sacrifice to start it all over again.
    Well thank God for death! Right, huh, what?

  2. ”…providing an understanding of our new reality.”

    Yes, well of course our “new” reality is in fact a very old one. One can never understand what’s going on today, nor look to the future with any insight, without understanding our ancient past. Regardless of how many or how powerful our computers, or how fast our jet aircraft, or sophisticated our latest manufacturing processes, the same principalities are at work today as ever before.

    If you could somehow pluck a team of leaders of the Inquisition out of Europe from the Dark Ages, transport them into our time, give them a cursory education regarding our modern technological, social and political systems, and then place them into key positions of title and influence around the world, you’d end up with exactly what we have today already. It would change nothing.

    “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities…”. Eph 6:12

  3. I have read all three of the dystopian warnings, and I think Fahrenheit 451 is more like Brave New World, and its Soma drug administered via the gigantic wall-sized Televisions with the house party TV programs. The dramas with the viewer participation shown more clearly in the movie version resemble today’s First-Person shooter games that have developed into multiplayer games teenaged boys can play with their friends. The problems of depression and suicide were also mentioned in Bradbury’s novel with Montag’s wife rescued by the EMT’s who give her a complete blood change to get rid of the drug, and casually comment on how many complete blood changes they’ve already done that evening.
    I attended a Speech and book signing of Ray Bradbury once (twice actually, one at the Pacific Ave. Library in Venice California in 1985 and another) about fourteen years ago at a Barnes And Noble store, where he said that he intended it as a Valentine gift to books and reading. Montag was a paper company, and Faber was a pencil manufacturer.

    I need to look up who said, “1984 was a cautionary tale, not a bloody how-to manual!”

  4. From 451:
    “Colored people don’t like Little Black Sambo. Burn it. White people don’t feel good about Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Burn it. Someone’s written a book on tobacco and cancer of the lungs? The cigarette people are weeping? Burn the book. Serenity, Montag. Peace, Montag. Take your fight outside. Better yet, into the incinerator. Funerals are unhappy and pagan? Eliminate them, too. Five minutes after a person is dead he’s on his way to the Big Flue, the Incinerators serviced by helicopters all over the country. Ten minutes after death a man’s a speck of black dust. Let’s not quibble over individuals with memoriams. Forget them. Burn them all, burn everything. Fire is bright and fire is clean.”
    The fireworks died in the parlor behind Mildred. She had stopped talking at the same time; a miraculous coincidence. Montag held his breath.
    “There was a girl next door,” he said, slowly. “She’s gone now, I think, dead. I can’t even remember her face. But she was different. How—how did she happen?”
    Beatty smiled. “Here or there, that’s bound to occur. Clarisse McClellan? We’ve a record on her family. We’ve watched them carefully. Heredity and environment are funny things. You can’t rid yourselves of all the odd ducks in just a few years. The home environment can undo a lot you try to do at school. That’s why we’ve lowered the kindergarten age year after year until now we’re almost snatching them from the cradle. We had some false alarms on the McClellans, when they lived in Chicago. Never found a book. Uncle had a mixed record; anti-social. The girl? She was a time bomb. The family had been feeding her subconscious, I’m sure, from what I saw of her school record. She didn’t want to know how a thing was done, but why. That can be embarrassing. You ask Why to a lot of things and you wind up very unhappy indeed, if you keep at it. The poor girl’s better off dead.”
    “Yes, dead.”

  5. There are plenty of dystopian novels the left might take as guide books. The three famous ones mentioned in the post don’t worry me quite as much because they are so far out from reality. On the other hand, I do worry about some of them adopting Matthew Bracken’s “Enemies foreign and domestic” and then continuing on with its sequel.

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