Surveillance in the Post 9-11 World at 7pm at Madbury Library
"Civil Liberties in a Fahrenheit 451 World" at Philp Read Memorial Library (Plainfield) at 7pm
Ray Bradbury's remarkable account of life in a thoroughly repressive society was written in the midst of the "McCarthy Era" in the late 1940's and early 1950's. Many government officials and agents regarded communism as a sufficient threat to justify the suspension of civil liberties. To
accomplish that objective society had to be persuaded to suppress those who spoke and acted to protect those liberties. Bradbury's account relies on that pattern to construct a society which accepts the destruction of books (and one assumes, all other forms of art and literature) as an appropriate and necessary means of assuring "happiness." Those who do not accept that formula suffer a cruel fate. Are we living through a contemporary version of Fahrenheit 451 or have we insulated ourselves from that form of oppression? We will examine the trends in our society following 9/11 to take our temperature and determine how close we are to Fahrenheit 451.