How Ray Bradbury Predicted Our 2020 . . . In 1953

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  1. GA Anderson profile image90
    GA Andersonposted 12 months ago

    I clicked on this essay because I am a Ray Bradbury fan, (a science fiction writer), but its message—relative to recent events and conversations, (hey Cred, it speaks to pure democracy), was so impactful I thought it deserved a thread.

    One sentence from a Farenheit 451 quote says it all:

    "There you have it, Montag. It didn’t come from the Government down. There was no dictum, no declaration, no censorship, to start with, no! Technology, mass exploitation, and minority pressure carried the trick, thank God."

    The full blurb is a discussion, (in the book), about how the book-burning started:

    "Now let’s take up the minorities in our civilization, shall we? Bigger the population, the more minorities. Don’t step on the toes of the dog-lovers, the cat-lovers, doctors, lawyers, merchants, chiefs, Mormons, Baptists, Unitarians, second-generation Chinese, Swedes, Italians, Germans, Texans, Brooklynites, Irishmen, people from Oregon or Mexico. The people in this book, this play, this TV serial are not meant to represent any actual painters, cartographers, mechanics anywhere. The bigger your market, Montag, the less you handle controversy, remember that! All the minor minor minorities with their navels to be kept clean. Authors, full of evil thoughts, lock up your typewriters. They did. Magazines became a nice blend of vanilla tapioca. Books, so the damned snobbish critics said, were dishwater. No wonder books stopped selling, the critics said. But the public, knowing what it wanted, spinning happily, let the comic books survive. And the three-dimensional sex magazines, of course. There you have it, Montag. It didn’t come from the Government down. There was no dictum, no declaration, no censorship, to start with, no! Technology, mass exploitation, and minority pressure carried the trick, thank God."

    And what did the Masses hate the most? The young genius who thinks independently and must be put in his place.

    "Surely you remember the boy in your own school class who was exceptionally ‘bright,’ did most of the reciting and answering while the others sat like so many leaden idols, hating him. And wasn’t it this bright boy you selected for beatings and tortures after hours? Of course, it was. We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against."

    It's a short essay and, I think, well worth the read.

    How Ray Bradbury Predicted 2020

    I think this statement sums up our situation perfectly:

    "Again, what matters so critically with these passages is that the tyranny comes from the demands of the Masses, not from the central government. In Bradbury’s understanding, the government might very well be wicked and evil, but it would always follow the lead of the Masses and become their tool, rather than the other way around."

    GA

    1. Credence2 profile image83
      Credence2posted 12 months agoin reply to this

      I read this and I disagree with the assertion that "tyranny" comes from the demands of the masses. I don't believe that having a society based on equal opportunity is the same as one insisting on equal outcomes.

      The jealousy consigned to the smart kid is the response of children at their most vulnerable and insecure.

      So, does it follow that grown people are going to act this way? Some field leveling is necessary for this society to become a true meritocracy, keeping to a minimum those advantages that are not earned, such as parents buying places for their half-wit kids at the finest universities or perhaps like "legacy" giving certain students preferential treatment because their rich daddies attended the institution in the past.

      I say that for the reason, I always say it, wealth and opportunity to acquire it, looking at the status quo, has never been a fair or equal process. Can it ever be? Probably not, but we need to working with this as the ideal in mind,

      Structural inequity is how we end up with today's status quo.

      Do conservatives really associate an increasingly heterogeneous society with mob rule by minority groups? It is a Ken and Karen phenomena, an exaggerated and misdirected fear and concern. For the Ken and Karen, any attempt at parity in this society is akin to something taken from them.

      We can say that a tyrant can rise with the support of the masses in a mob like frenzy, but I don't see that happening here to any real extent.

      To pine for a more homogeneous society, one without extraneous or dissenting voices, is basically cutting the heart from America and its vaulted ideals.

      It is my response to a Bradbury fictional story. I am more for the Animal Farm adage where "some are naturally consigned to be more equal than others". Is it based on merit or privilege?

      1. Kathryn L Hill profile image79
        Kathryn L Hillposted 12 months agoin reply to this

        merit vs privilege.
        You tell us.

      2. GA Anderson profile image90
        GA Andersonposted 12 months agoin reply to this

        "The jealousy consigned to the smart kid is the response of children at their most vulnerable and insecure."

        Do you claim that adults don't do the same thing? I say the reason for this behavior is insecurity. Kids are more insecure due to a lack of life experiences to diminish that feeling, but I say adults also suffer from it and behave the same as the kids.

        I don't see all your field leveling and Ken and Karen stuff having anything to do with this pointy. You should reconsider your adoption of that characterization.

        Did you go to that tangent because you don't like the truth of the
        Bradbury's observation? Also, I think the tyranny of the masses can be just as damaging to a society as the tyranny of a man.

        Where did the "pine for a more homogeneous society, one without extraneous or dissenting voices" come from? Did you draw that from the essay?

        GA

        1. Credence2 profile image83
          Credence2posted 12 months agoin reply to this

          "Do you claim that adults don't do the same thing? I say the reason for this behavior is insecurity. Kids are more insecure due to a lack of life experiences to diminish that feeling, but I say adults also suffer from it and behave the same as the kids."

          Yes, but do we really want to accommodate that?

          Ken and Karen is irrelevant to you but represents misperceptions and misunderstandings between the races and ethnic groups that, let's face it, are now at the center of controversy, today. So, I will keep it in lexicon for now and use it when appropriate.

          Whose, truth, GA?

          Ray Bradbury and Issac Asimov were great science fiction writers, but are they experts on the social sciences? This is what we are talking about. I mention Issac Asimov as he was the one that made the quote regarding "bread and circuses" or was it Robert Heinlein?

          I don't agree with your idea regarding choices made by a majority of fellow citizens as compared to the caprice of one man. How can America actually work in the scenario that you propose, rule by one man? Now that's tyrannical.

          All Western Democracies work in the same way fundamentally, the voices of many regarding a question is more fair and viable than the voice of one man making the decision for everybody. Does conservatism have a fundamental problem with the democratic process? Is authoritarianism better?

          Yes, when someone complains about  a cacophony of voices from a variety of sources and seem in that comment to reflect having a problem with the very concept of diversity, I am going to follow that to say that he has problems with heterogeneity.

          But that is the reality regardless of his thoughts.

          Like I said, whose says that Bradbury's opinion is gospel? I disagree with it.


          A funny thing about conservative people that is difficult to ignore, you give credence to people with no expertise in an area, while you patently ignore experts in their relative fields of expertise. Is it all about hearing what you want to hear regardless of the source?

  2. Kathryn L Hill profile image79
    Kathryn L Hillposted 12 months ago

    Yes. Americans are forward looking, expecting ever greater progress, ever greater improvements and ever better way of life.

    Yet, somehow, minority rule is encroaching upon us and this essay answers the question as to how. Now that we have isolated the difficulty, we can find a solution.
    What is the solution?

  3. Kathryn L Hill profile image79
    Kathryn L Hillposted 12 months ago

    What can we do to inspire common sense and common decency?
    What can we do to un-do decades of trying to seem above it all: hip and cool.
    No, now we have to draw upon what we know to be true on a level of actual reality
    rather than unreality.
    What is the unreality we have bought into?
    What?

    That America is a bad place full of evils?
    Why go there? WHY?

  4. Kathryn L Hill profile image79
    Kathryn L Hillposted 12 months ago

    Minority rule is occurring. How do we stop it is the question.

    1. Kathryn L Hill profile image79
      Kathryn L Hillposted 12 months agoin reply to this

      Majority pushback is the answer, but at present they are not pushing back.

      So we can ask,

      WHY NOT?
      Apparently, FEAR!

    2. Credence2 profile image83
      Credence2posted 12 months agoin reply to this

      But when the minority becones a demographic majority, we are no longer talking about "minority rule", is that right?

      1. Kathryn L Hill profile image79
        Kathryn L Hillposted 12 months agoin reply to this

        The becoming is the problem.

        1. Kathryn L Hill profile image79
          Kathryn L Hillposted 12 months agoin reply to this

          The resisting is the solution

          1. Credence2 profile image83
            Credence2posted 12 months agoin reply to this

            So, how do you resist?

            1. Kathryn L Hill profile image79
              Kathryn L Hillposted 12 months agoin reply to this

              Glad you asked:
              Thinking for ourselves involves the true inner self, not the outwardly oriented ego, or outer self. The self that cares about others, that willingly follows The Golden Rule and has the wisdom to follow the guidelines set forth by morals and Nature.

              We follow laws. We abide by mutual cooperation for the sake of our OWN peace and harmony in the world. After all, our laws are based on preserving life, liberty and the ability to guide one's own will toward happiness and the ability to survive.

              Now, if the government is called upon to keep every citizen alive as a parent does when his children are small and dependent, everyone will equally die because the government cannot rise to such a task.

              If however, each person thinks for himself and strives to live in an independent and self-reliant way, the government will only be required to protect them from inside and outside threats. What are those threats?

              The injustice inflicted by those who do not value the wellbeing others, who are greedy, manipulative, self-oriented and power hungry.

              We resist by holding Facebook and Google accountable for all their sins, which are many.

              1. Kathryn L Hill profile image79
                Kathryn L Hillposted 12 months agoin reply to this

                ....  Amazon

              2. Credence2 profile image83
                Credence2posted 12 months agoin reply to this

                If your points of concern surround the excessives of social media platforms, I really can't take any exceptions to your comments here.

                1. Kathryn L Hill profile image79
                  Kathryn L Hillposted 12 months agoin reply to this

                  Jeff and Mark, for two, are getting away with too much.

                  And the American people are letting themselves be exploited through  excessive social media.

                  It is social media which is allowing the tyranny of the masses.
                  Its a real problem.

                2. Kathryn L Hill profile image79
                  Kathryn L Hillposted 12 months agoin reply to this

                  What is the check on mob rule in this day and age?
                  What was in the past?
                  Or are we just commenting on the meaning of Bradbury.

                  1. Credence2 profile image83
                    Credence2posted 12 months agoin reply to this

                    How is there mob rule? Law enforcement is more than capable of penalizing those that take a peaceful protest and make it violent or destructive.

                    this nation has been around almost a quarter of a millennium, when have we as a nation really been threatened by rule from some unruly mob?

  5. Kathryn L Hill profile image79
    Kathryn L Hillposted 12 months ago

    What do they fear?

    PC police
    violence/bullying from strangers or fellow classmates or associates
    lack of acceptance/friendships of friends and neighbors
    loss of jobs
    loss of reputation
    being seen as Not Nice or in a bad light
    being labeled un hip/cool.
    loss of friends and family
    divorce

  6. Kathryn L Hill profile image79
    Kathryn L Hillposted 12 months ago

    We really need the ballot box.
    Where people can vote according to their private conscience. The demands of the masses should be tempered by the boundaries of morals, the laws of nature and The Golden Rule.
    Democracies do not work without boundaries. A republic prevents Mob Rule.

    Technology is facilitating Democracy.

  7. Kathryn L Hill profile image79
    Kathryn L Hillposted 12 months ago

    resisting what ?
    The societal influence of Facebook and Google

  8. Kathryn L Hill profile image79
    Kathryn L Hillposted 12 months ago

    Thinking for ourselves.

  9. Kathryn L Hill profile image79
    Kathryn L Hillposted 12 months ago

    What are those sins?
    There's an interesting topic.

  10. GA Anderson profile image90
    GA Andersonposted 12 months ago

    You ask about accomodating the insecurities of adults. I say no, we should no more "accommodate" those insecurities than we should that of children. But, their insecurities, and their actions driven by those insecurities aren't really any different than those of children, so the point remains valid. Unless, of course, you want to claim that adults are beyond childish behaviors?

    I completely disagree that your "Ken and Karen illustrations  are "misperceptions and misunderstandings between the races and ethnic groups."  Those examples, when applicable, (and I don't think they are applicable in this discussion), are simply examples of cultural bias and racism, not examples of sn unlevel playing field—the gist of the example where you used that characterization.

    The "caprice of one man," as in the tyranny of a tyrant was your thought, not mine. I never proposed a rule by one man. Once again, that is your reference to a tyranny of government. My point, originally and continually, was to address the tyranny of the masses. Do you deny that is a reality in a pure democracy society?

    I am not saying Bradbury's word is "gospel," or Asimov's or anyone else's for that matter. But, if the "word" is true, or truly representative of a situation, why should they need some sort of credentials to be valid? Is that like me not being qualified to note that it is raining outside because I am not a meteorologist, or a bystander not being qualified to comment on the rage of a fire because they are not a fireman?

    Address the message Cred, not the messenger.

    As for your "a funny thing about Conservatives . . . " thought, that is pure baloney. I gotta poke you bud on that ". . . hearing what you want to hear regardless of the source" comment. That really strikes me as the pot calling the kettle black statement. How many Slate articles have prompted you to respond, only to have to backtrack when pressed?

    GA

    1. Credence2 profile image83
      Credence2posted 12 months agoin reply to this

      Alright, I will skip your first 2 paragraphs

      If you not proposing rule by one man, what are you proposing?. You present a complaint without any real solution?

      If the word is true, can very well be subjective depending upon your point of view. But, I forget Conservatives love absolutes. The topics we are discussing involve a bit more discernment as compared to whether it is raining outside.

      I don't accept Joe Blow's opinion, as I will have to be satisfied of the facts from more than just his  observation, as he may well have an agenda that this "truth" is filtered through.

      Yes, I like experts who provide greater credibility when they discuss a topic for which they have acquired expertise.. I can make observations, anybody can, but whose observations am I going to give the greater credibility? It is like Fauci and Trump, who do I believe has the greater knowledge and thereby greater accuracy regarding the appropriate course to take on Coronavirus pandemic?

      I don't agree with "message".

      And by the way, you don't really think that your Conservative article site is completely objective and free of right wing bias do you? Could this just be your own version of Slate?

      1. GA Anderson profile image90
        GA Andersonposted 12 months agoin reply to this

        The Imaginative Conservative, (the essay source), is a Conservative-leaning source, but, I would not lump them in with the degree of bias that Slate or Fox have.

        Understanding that theirs will be a conservative perspective, I view them as a trustworthy source for thought stimulation. They do not try to present "facts" as true or not, they present essays for thought stimulation.

        This Bradbury essay is a good example. They present it as a perspective of a view of the possible dangers of tyranny of the masses. aka Pure Democracy, aka the passion of the moment, aka mob rule.

        Those ills of society that you spoke of; uneven playing field, unequal opportunity, the Ken and Karen rubbish, were not the point of Bradbury's perspective. His point was the source of the tyranny that was the response to those ills.

        Instead of a reasoned response to the mob's reaction, we got the emotional mob response of book burnings. Sort of like our current "statue" and sport's name issues, instead of addressing the angst some felt as a result, the passion of the moment is to just remove the burr.

        GA

    2. Credence2 profile image83
      Credence2posted 12 months agoin reply to this

      Maybe, I am missing your point?

      If you are talking about a raving mob without any decorum or restraint, just numbers, of course, I am going to dissaprove of that,

 
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