Thursday, August 27, 2015

Ray Bradbury; pinko fear-monger

" appears that science fiction may be a lucrative field for the introduction of Communist ideologies.

"Communists have found fertile opportunities for development; for spreading distrust and lack of confidence in America [sic] institutions in the area of science fiction writing.

"...the general aim of these science fiction writers is to frighten the people into a state of paralysis or psychological incompetence bordering on hysteria which would make it possible to conduct a Third World War in which the American people would seriously believe could not be won since their moral had been seriously destroyed [sic].”

I love Bradbury, grew up on him, and he was probably the biggest literary stylistic influence in my writing from the earliest age, and there's a whole lot more to his writing than just this. But frankly, yes, this is actually a pretty fair critique of some of the political and philosophical background of his work. In fact, re-reading his short stories, which I still love, his southpaw moral relativism, and often silly pseudo-mysticism is absurdly transparent. This piece presents it as all a ridiculous joke, but really it was true. No, I don't think he was formally a commie himself, but he was part of that more general movement of our society to embrace the lefty proposals.

I remember being utterly terrified by the nuclear threat when I was a kid, and from a very early age. And I was convinced by a lot of the sci fi I read and watched on TV that it was the US that was the biggest threat. They were always portrayed as the bad guys, the ones who would be most likely to "push the button." We were told over and over that the poor dear Soviets were just misunderstood and the victims of a propaganda campaign from evil, greedy, militaristic America.

But really the effect was a lot worse than this. A whole generation of us grew up completely convinced that any given fifteen minute period could be our last (they told us it would take about 15 minutes for the bombs to reach us from the Soviet Union over the Pacific) and that we were all likely to be dead before we were thirty. This preaching started in elementary school and carried on all the way through high school. It was preached in all the movies, tv shows and books. Everywhere, constantly.

The Boomers seemed to take pleasure in terrifying their children with stories of spending our last hours, if we were unfortunate enough to survive the blast, stumbling helpless, dying, burnt and blind through the wreckage, envying the dead. I had regular nightmares about the bomb, sometimes several a week, all through my childhood. It never seemed to occur to anyone that they were damaging us with this stuff.

And it was a mythology very strongly promoted by the lefty sci fi writers of the time, and it did a lot to convince a huge number of us that there was just no point in making plans for life, that there was no hope for the future. It created a generation of nihilists who firmly believed that working to build up anything, a marriage, a business, a society, was completely futile, and that ultimately it was better to be dead than alive. I've talked about this before and I know other people my age who had exactly the same experience. They used to call "Gen-X" the "slacker generation" because we had been so firmly convinced that life itself was futile.

So, yeah. Bradbury helped to create this modern terror that did in fact generate a kind of long-term moral paralysis for a huge number of people influenced by him and his fellow lefty doom-sayers. He wasn't the only one, but he certainly influenced me, a rabid fan, to believe it.



Louise L said...

So true.

Anonymous said...

Also the environmental movement. It helped me justify a life of selfish singleness by allowing myself to think it was good for the planet.


A Daughter of Mary said...

Odd, though, that Americans who saw themselves portrayed as 'the bad guys' did not go to the next step to ask if it was true. The pull of American Exceptionalism and the good life obviously overcame any preaching that they were responsible for any evils in the world.
I see this replayed now. Weak Catholics simply cannot see that the degenerate society we live in might be because they did not live their Faith.

Lynne said...

Don't read the Canticle for Leibowitz, especially chapter 27...

Maclin Horton said...

We baby-boomers had the same experience. The level of fear was higher for a while in the 1980s, but the basic syndrome goes all the way back to the immediate post-war period. It had its effect on us, too. I've always thought it was a factor in the '60s cultural revolution.

I very distinctly remember at the time of the Cuban missile crisis standing in the schoolyard with a friend, looking up at the sky, hearing him say "You know they're going to do it. You know they are." I had those nightmares, too, though it wasn't nearly that often. Post-nuclear-apocalypse fiction and films were almost a sub-genre in the '50s and '60s (e.g. On the Beach). Etc.

Mary Kay said...

I was also a child during the Cuban missile crisis. I remember we had 'bomb practice' when I was in 2nd grade--7 years old!---when we had to quickly hide under our desks. As if that would have protected us! On the Catholic side, my adolescence was consumed with speculation that the 'Comet Kahoutek' would crash into the earth and bring on the Three Days of Darkness (TM). The thought of any normal future was absent. The hippy days were a few years before me, but I remember the sense of the futility of existence, and believe that the rebellion of the post-Vietnam, Kent State riots, Woodstock era should have been expected. Many people look back on them as the 'good old days'. I look back at that era as a real nightmare and, although my sins are mine to claim, I certainly think some bad choices in my youth could have been encouraged by the sense of doom so pervasive then.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Yes, that's the story I've heard again and again. We made no efforts to do anything lasting with our lives because we had been told all our lives that there would be no future worth planning for.

Anonymous said...

It seems that promoting self hate and shaming people is a potent weapon of the new communist movement overtaking the western world.

For example if you point out the facts that Thousands of people barging into the west from Arabic and third world countries is:

1: Unsustainable and detrimental to the economies and communities of those western countries.

Also that:

2: Not every person coming over is escaping persecution.
3: In many cases these people travel through countries where they could stay but don't.
4: When these people get to the western countries, they try to change them to suit themselves. Often with the help of do gooder socialists.
5: They are harboring terrorists in some cases.

You're branded as a racist. Often by fanatical left wing lunatics.

Yes shaming people does serve to snuff out common sense, dumb down the masses and fattens the western world up for the left wing slaughter.