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A term commonly used today is to be “politically correct”, to speak so that you appeal to all minorities without offending anyone, as a politician would. This is played out dramatically in the book Fahrenheit 451; the society believed that every book offends some minority, turning people against each other with the strong statements and opinions which lie inside. They concluded that by burning the books they would be free to think what they wanted and live in peace. They tried to make everyone the same, forgetting that being unique makes them human. Government was just the tool used to enforce the burning, society had already done it in their mind.
When people stopped reading it was their own choice, “it didn’t come from the Government down. There was no dictum, no declaration, no censorship, to start with, no!” Censorship began when people feared freethinkers, people who would die for what they believed. With books being feared, they were destroyed, furthering the process of making everyone “equal”; society began to have a personality, not individuals. In America today we see the beginnings of a nation that wants to live peacefully, asking no hard questions and remaining too prideful to admit wrong doing. People are told to “tolerate” others and their beliefs, but this makes their beliefs forfeit; both parties end up offended or compromising their morals to keep the other happy. A country will deteriorate in this state of mind and become ignorant of its own danger.
Government is often controlled by society as it is just a group of people that are, notably, ungoverned. The similarities between this fictional world and reality are striking, but concerning. One individual cannot possibly see all sides of a topic, this shows the value in constructive criticism and judging ethics often. A civilization that forces “peace” on itself by halting free thought has forgotten that true freedom is the right to reflect on a worldview and act upon it. The hard questions must be asked and groups should be offended for real peace.
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