Decembers 5, 2013
The Human Need for Knowledge Independent Thought
“Where they have burnt books, they will end in burning human beings.1” In attempting to create a perfect world, people face a conflict of either blanketly removing the unacceptable or directly confronting and conquering the incorrect behaviors through allowing independent thought. Both McCarthyism and Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 manifest this conflict and ultimately realize that knowledge and independent thought need to prevail.
In both McCarthyism and Fahrenheit 451 a higher power attempts to eradicate knowledge and independent thought through book burning. “In 1953 U.S Senator Joseph McCarthy recited before his subcommittee and the press a list of supposedly pro communist authors whose works his aide, Roy Cohn, found in the libraries and American cultural centers attached to U.S. embassies abroad… ordered its overseas librarians to remove from their shelves… Some libraries burned the newly forbidden books. President Dwight D. Eisenhower initially agreed that the State Department should dispose of books advocating communism: ‘I see no reason for the federal government to be supporting something that advocated its own destruction. That seems to be the acme of silliness.’2” McCarthyism stemmed from a fear of Communism with the intention of eliminating Communism. Joseph McCarthy – the leader of McCarthyism – compiled lists of authors, suspected communists, and zealots burned these authors' books. A comparable event occurs in Fahrenheit 451: “The brass nozzle in his fist, with this great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon the world, the blood pounded in his head, and his hands were the hands of some amazing conductor playing all the symphonies of blazing and burning to bring down the tatters and charcoal ruins of history.” Firemen destroy books for the public's good to promote harmony and prevent dissenting opinions. Similar to Eisenhower,...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document