With Vox Day releasing SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police I dusted off our copy of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 to reread his 1979 essay Coda. Coda is a protest against everyone who would censor or edit his work, including those who would edit for brevity and those who would edit out “offensive” content. But Bradbury reminds us that the censorship in Fahrenheit 451 came from those who would censor content which offended them:
The point is obvious. There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches. Every minority, be it Baptist / Unitarian, Irish / Italian / Octogenarian / Zen Buddhist, Zionist/Seventh-day Adventist, Women’s Lib/ Republican, Mattachine/ Four Square Gospel feels it has the will, the right, the duty to douse the kerosene, light the fuse. Every dimwit editor who sees himself as the source of all dreary blanc-mange plain porridge unleavened literature, licks his guillotine and eyes the neck of any author who dares to speak above a whisper or write above a nursery rhyme.
Fire-Captain Beatty, in my novel Fahrenheit 451, described how the books were burned first by minorities, each ripping a page or a paragraph from this book, then that, until the day came when the books were empty and the minds shut and the libraries closed forever.
Ironically, his book about lilliputian censorship was itself censored by editors who couldn’t see the irony of their actions:
Only six weeks ago, I discovered that, over the years, some cubby-hole editors at Ballantine Books, fearful of contaminating the young, had, bit by bit, censored some 75 separate sections from the novel. Students, reading the novel which, after all, deals with censorship and book-burning in the future, wrote to tell me of this exquisite irony.
As Bradbury explains the impulse to censor the offensive exists to some degree with all groups, and he seems to be making an effort to be even handed in his indictment. Yet as we can see all around us, it is the Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) who are truly committed to censoring anything which they find offensive or disturbing. Bradbury’s account of his own experience lines up with this:
In my story, I had described a lighthouse as having, late at night, an illumination coming from it that was a “God-Light.” Looking up at it from the view-point of any sea-creature one would have felt that one was in “the Presence.”
The editors had deleted “God-Light” and “in the Presence.”
A final test for old Job II here: I sent a play, Leviathan 99, off to a university theater a month ago…
But, for now, the university wrote back that they hardly dared do my play—it had no women in it! And the ERA ladies on campus would descend with ball-bats if the drama department even tried!
In the real world the firemen don’t show up with kerosene and matches; they show up with trigger warnings and political correctness codes.