In Ray Bradbury's novel, Farenheit 451, published in 1953, a future America is a nation in which books are banned. While it is the government which searches for and burns books, it has merely institutionalized a popular movement. In Bradbury's alternate history, book burning began as a popular movement. Americans came to believe that each had the right not to be offended. Since any book will somehow offend someone, ergo burn the books.

Books are not as important to Americans as they once were. (Is there an author from whom our culture eagerly awaits the next book, as in years past we awaited the next Updyke, Bellow, Hemmingway, Steinbeck?) But, Bradbury may prove a prophet yet for other forms of expression. This article covers fascist-style denial of free speech on college campuses. And this essay by Victor Davis Hanson on the loss of will in the West to defend free speech.