I was recently rewatching the film version of Fahrenheit 451, an Orwellian tale by Ray Bradbury where firefighters burn books and other literature banned by the state.
What I failed to notice in the past is the role egalitarianism plays in justifying the mass censorship of everything from the Bible to poetry.
In one scene the protagonist Montage and his supervisor are inspecting a secret library prior to burning it and examine the various genres. His supervisor explains why they have to be censored, concluding with this line:
We’ve all got to be alike. The only way to be happy is for everyone to be made equal. So, we must burn the books, Montage. All the books.
After doing some research, I found it is a variation of a similar line made in the novel:
We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against.
For everyone to be the same means that you have to have a standard or template as to how everyone should be.
Of course, that standard is for everyone to be miserable. After secretly confiscating several books and poetry, Montage reads some prose in front of his wife’s friends, who are appalled at the emotions it invokes.
Go home and think of your first husband divorced and your second husband killed in a jet and your third husband blowing his brains out, go home and think of the dozen abortions you’ve had, go home and think of that and your damn Caesarian sections, too, and your children who hate your guts! Go home and think how it all happened and what did you ever do to stop it?
This is precisely why you should fear anyone who speaks of “equality,” because whether they’re conscious of it or not, this is what it will eventually lead. The only way to make everyone equal is to make them all equally pitiful, and that inevitable requires censorship and political repression against those who don’t comply.