Monday, March 16, 2009

from "Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Political Correctness, and Soft Totalitarianism"
by Thomas F. Bertonneau at The Brussels Journal

My favorite portion (but do read the whole thing!):

Elsewhere in The Martian Chronicles, in the story whose title is a line from Lord Byron, “And the Moon be still as Bright,” a complicated character named Jeff Spender, in a tense dialogue with his senior officer Captain Wilder, sketches the socio-cultural path by which society went from freedom to slavery. The first phase consisted in the destruction of long-standing symbols in the name of reason. A cult of the hard fact arose that stood in implacable hostility to metaphor and intuition. “That’s the mistake we made when Darwin showed up,” says Spender: “We embraced him and Huxley and Freud, all smiles. And then we discovered that Darwin and our religions didn’t mix.” As a result, when “we tried to budge Darwin and Huxley and Freud,” they refused to move, “so, like idiots, we tried knocking down religion.”
Spender’s peroration is worth quoting in full:
We succeeded pretty well. We lost our faith and went around wondering what life was for. If art was no more than a frustrated outflinging of desire, if religion was no more than self-delusion, what good was life? Faith had always given us answers to all things. But it went down the drain with Freud and Darwin. We were and still are a lost people.

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