Opinion / Politics

Socialism: After Statue Toppling – Comes Book Burning

In 1953, science fiction writer Ray Bradbury released “Fahrenheit 451.”  The book was a hit, and scary.  The story describes a society determined to erase history, intent on burning books. Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which paper burns.  The author’s fear – at that time – was America might someday tip that way.  Although no longer alive, one wonders what Bradbury would say about where we are.

In truth, attempts to erase history – such as recent destruction of historic statues across America – are almost always the work of socialists, communists, fascists, or fiction writers.  The common point among socialists, communists and fascists is total control.  Of course, fiction authors also have total control.

What Americans must remember is that our world is real, and at risk.  America is under attack, from within – the idea of radical socialism is noxious.  It is anti-freedom, antithetical, anti-American.  The Soviets, Chinese, and Nazis all sought to erase history – and accompanied their statue toppling and church burning, with mob mayhem, intimidation, coercion, killing, and book burning.

Some may say, that cannot be so, or think progression from a free state to coerced, socialist or fascist is slow.  They may doubt that any society would make such radical turn, but history is our teacher.

Russia fell to Soviet dominance fast – over in six years, 1917 to 1923, foreshadowed by events in 1905.  The people of Soviet Russia and contiguous countries suffered tens of millions of deaths from communism – only escaping 70 years later, with the help of an American president named Reagan, British prime minister named Thatcher and, and Polish Pope named John Paul II.

In Soviet Russia, after destroying pre-revolutionary statues, churches and culture, Soviets burned books, then killed those found with such material – causing citizens to burn their own books.

Likewise, China got a communist party in 1921, which took control in 1949, despite best efforts of post-war America.  Like Soviet Russia, Communist China under Mao killed tens of millions, erasing history.

China burned books after the takeover.

In a frightening return to the past, Xi Jinping’s China has again been burning books.  Centralizing power, expanding surveillance and military power projection, Communist China’s cyberattacks grow, as they impose a national security law on Hong Kong, and again burn books – a directive issued in October 2019 burned all books critical of Communism in all school libraries in the country.  See: https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/12/11/china-burning-book-censorship-online-outrage/.

Nazi Germany followed a similar course, eliminating cultural symbols and burning books, before horrors of wartime, concentration camps, executions roundups.  Beyond statues and street names, Nazis erased history by burning books – by such noted writers as Albert Einstein, Victor Hugo, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Hellen Keller, Jack London, Upton Sinclair, Joseph Conrad, Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence, H.G. Wells, James Joyce, and hundreds of others.

The point is that – in reality, as well as in fiction – extreme behaviors occur, flourishing societies imagine never facing this, then do.   Relatively free, they are accosted by disintegrating rule of law, street mobs, anarchists, socialists, and communists.  The last hundred years are rich with this human tragedy.

That is why respect for history – good, bad, and ugly – is the hallmark of freedom-loving, life-loving, law-abiding societies, essential to a republic.  Destroying statues, names, descriptions, and books is mob rot.  It is anarchy, and worse – socialism, communism, and fascism.

That is why the turn of recently peaceful anti-racist protests to mob violence, church burnings and hammer and sickle graffiti on WWII cemeteries – is disturbing.  The basis for any democratic republic is rule of law, non-violent interactions, ordered liberty, respect for history, and for personal property.

When we lose that respect – when lawlessness overruns law enforcement, when public ignorance permits derision of police, bad things lie ahead unless corrected.  Put differently, anyone who pushes violence as a means for changing republican government is out of step with America.  Anyone who does not stand up to lawlessness – mayor, governor, House, or Senate member – is out of step.

The next step after tearing down statues is violence buildings, books, and people. That is why actions to preserve rule of law are essential – now.   Ray Bradbury wrote about it, history teaches it, and we should be attentive to the need for it.  Support for freedom, rule of law, and enforcement are the bulwark against anarchy, socialism, communism, and hybrid fascism – even in the name of “social justice.”

Violence is not how democratic societies work, or society-enhancing reform.  The way forward is tolerance for peaceful opinions, debate the merits of those opinions.  We cannot shut out fair calls to review police tactics and approaches, but we cannot default to society-wide violence – or justify it.

A final story makes the point.  Many moons ago, studying politics and economics at Oxford, I happened onto my conservative economics don in a library.  He was reading Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto.  “What are you doing?” I asked. “Oh, I read Marx every year, just to recall why I believe what I believe.” Lovely, even inspiring.

The point was simple – reach out to understand what you may disagree with, as the result is always positive.  You learn something you did not know or have forgotten; you reaffirm what you believe; you may even persuade others.  That is what learning is about and what civil society depends on it.

Violent anarchists, socialists, communists, and fascists do not spend much time reading, let alone on conservative thought.  I am sure Antifa has not recently brushed up on Reagan, Burke, or Russell Kirk.  That is one way to distinguish them.  They want to upend society, violently end it, get their way, then impose it on a free society.  They are not interested in books – except for burning.

That is why we do not topple statues – or burn books.  Preserving history and ideas with which we disagree is how we inform ourselves and future generations of why we believe what we believe.  That is how we learn what is indefensible, not worth retrying, what offends, disturbs, deprives, and depresses.  It is also how we learn what is solid and good, what worked, uplifted, inspired, and improved life.

Truth – not suppression of it – is the goal.  History is about remembering truth accurately, the heroic and despotic, noble, and ignoble. History is proof of individual rights, rule of law, Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” allowing upward mobility, John Locke’s idea that with security we work, save, and invest.

History is about understanding and teaching what failed, without compromise and shading, without pretending it worked:  Communism’s eye-popping destruction and human horrors, in places like the former Soviet Union, dominated Eastern Europe, Cuba, Laos, Venezuela, and China – all examples of how not to govern, how to suppress individual rights.

Applied to our moment, Ray Bradbury’s famous “Fahrenheit 451” is a cautionary take.  Beyond destroying statues, defacing noble leaders, debasing intellectuals, and erasing history, his dystopian world is the modern Left’s dream.  We must never let it come to pass.  That is what he would say.

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3 months ago

Autocrats might order the burning of books to prevent their people from learning about history, and those idiots who want to crumble Mount Rushmore choose not to learn about history. That requires studying and taking tests!   Most of these criminals wreaking havoc on the streets have no idea what they stand for, beyond the cursory satisfaction of destroying something and stealing stuff. They lack more than just a moral code; they lack intellectual curiosity and rational thought. They’re oblivious to how good they have it in this country! Evil entities are paying them to show up, to shake things… Read more »

3 months ago

The truth of what is discussed in this article is made all the more significant because of the events unfolding today that are rapidly becoming a mirror of 1930’s Germany.

3 months ago

We have to re-elect Trump in November or our nation is toast! he is the only gov. employee standing up publicly for us.

3 months ago

History has a habit of repeating itself! … We the People MUST FIGHT TO PROTECT OUR AMERICAN RIGHTS, VALUES AND FREEDOMS! … If it’s to be a Civil War again, we must be ready and determined to do whatever is necessary to Win!

Paul W
3 months ago

The leftists are using every tyrannical takeover method employed since tyrannical takeovers began…in one form or the other. I agree with Bobby’s article, the left is resurrecting 1930s Germany ideology. If the the dims win any, or worse, any combination of the presidency, the Senate or the House, this country will be toast…just like those books.

Rodney Ernst
3 months ago

If conservatives, Christians and Trump supporters are called Natzies, supremacists etc. Well, the BLM, Democrats, and all their supporters are the ones who should be tagged as what I just mentioned. Read Ezekiel 7:8 which says ” Because Gods people had repeatedly rebelled and chosen to turn an unceasing ear toward his will, God is about to let them face the consequences of their sinfulness. God is ready to judge them using the harshest of standards because of their entrenched rebellion. Let’s be faithful to God, no matter the VALUES OF OUR CULTURE.

3 months ago

You can burn all the books, destroy all the statues, but you cannot erase history. These prominent men, good or bad, lived and formed our history. I do think there are many people that feel that are protesting justly; however, unfortunately there are others taking advantage of a situation by trying to destroy our Country. I point directly to the SQUAD. They want to dismantle our Country and looks like the progressive leftists democrats are willing to go along with them. Even Biden is now part of it, as well If these people make it into office, you can kiss… Read more »

R.J. from Arizona
3 months ago

Like it or not, we are watching history unfold and that is the crumbling of America. Many years ago some author, I don’t recall the name, say that if America fails it will be from within. The national socialist party is gaining a strong foothold. Eventually the Silent Majority will rise up. It will not be pretty.

3 months ago

So true and a must read. We must not let this insanity continue. These people who destroy and burn and kill are brainless and stupid. We have to control these evil ones, not let them destroy us. God help us all and God bless America! Pray without ceasing for our country.

Patrick McClurkin
3 months ago

I truly hope independents and people on the fence will soon realize that this upcoming election has nothing to do with personalities or even political parties. We are engaged in a historical struggle of good vs evil. Your vote in Nov. is to preserve America – our culture, our history, our Constitution, our economy, our freedoms, or to descend into chaos, anarchy and socialism! Hopefully, it will be an easy choice for most voters!

Lawrence Greenberg
3 months ago

We would do well to remember this:
German Jewish poet Heinrich Heine wrote in his 1820–1821 play Almansor the famous admonition, “Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen”: “Where they burn books, they will also ultimately burn people.”

3 months ago

Also read 1984 just to realize how scary and dangerous things can be.

3 months ago

Democrats, fake media, higher education indoctrination, social media and the outright ignorant are like the blind leading the blind. Like animals lead to slaughter they follow each other down the Shute of no return.
Sad but true

3 months ago

Take a look at history. What’s going on has been happening since the beginning of the human race. It’s growing exponentially, and is predicted in the Bible. Read 2Timothy:3:1-5. It’s a tidbit of the predictions for the times we live in. Basically, God loves everyone. He wants a relationship with everyone. However, those who won’t accept His gift of salvation through His Son, Christ Jesus, won’t receive that gift. This life is short. Eternity is forever. The human behavior we see now will eventually be put to an end. It’s time to make the decision where you want to spend… Read more »

3 months ago

Morbid ignorance is the base of the current Democratic Party. It’s their gruel. They employ the use of “intellectual elitism” (ignorance) to accomplish their purpose: the destruction of of an ordered democratic society.

David Spade
3 months ago

All of the examples of the people trampling on the history of the world show the dark side of society very clearly. Universities who don’t allow free speech are some of the first signs of what goes wrong in the country when they indoctrinate the students with leftist agenda teachings. Book burnings, statue attacks, riots under the guise of righting the wrongs, and anarchy rule are further evidence of evil penetrating good social order. The government officials, college leadership, misguided sports figures, and the socialist media are the folks that should know better. When they cannot use good common sense,… Read more »

3 months ago

Burning books is one thing, but refusing to discuss them in today’s schools is quite another, and it produces identical results, unless the books praise Socialism and its dreamed-up “advantages” in all areas over Capitalism.
When one of the little snowflakes is asked questions as to why they are promoting and practicing chaos and statue destruction, they really have no idea, other than it is “something to do,” which is the same answer they give when asked how they spent their time in their high school Civics and American History classes.

Last edited 3 months ago by Grumpyoldcoot
3 months ago

we need to keep fighting to keep our country!

3 months ago

Stand strong America! It will be worth it

Mary Metzler
3 months ago

I found your article very thought provoking. Thank you.

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