The Fantasy and Realism of Ray Bradbury

The passing of Ray Bradbury has received a lot of commentary by conservatives online. This is apparently due as much to an affinity for his opinions as for his creative talent. Perhaps it is also a tribute to his undeniable impact on American culture. Even when that influence was not explicit, it was surprisingly pervasive.

I was not a serious reader of Bradbury, but it was impossible to overlook his work. As a child I remember seeing the 1966 François Truffaut film version of Fahrenheit 451 on television. More significantly for me (and others) is the fact that he wrote screenplays for many of the science fiction shows, mysteries and even westerns that generations of people grew up on.  It is an interesting aside that while his most famous novel has long been hailed as an “anti-censorship” piece, the message Bradbury had in mind was the impact of modern electronic media on human behavior. This great prognosticator of technological advance was circumspect about many of the things that had actually come to pass. He eschewed e-books and the internet.

Though Bradbury was not a religious traditionalist, neither did he conform to the hostile secularism of his peers. As Fahrenheit reveals, he was a “libertarian” in the full sense of that term, being skeptical of mainstream left-liberal views as much as any other. It seems that Bradbury admired Ronald Reagan, opposed high taxes, criticized Roosevelt, and was a foreign policy realist. For some surprising quotes and interesting commentary see Ed Feser’s blog entry on the famous writer.

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