Space Ramblings

Ray Bradbury, Conservative?

I saw this linked on a blog somewhere and while I never had the privilege of meeting Bradbury, and don’t know much about his politics, there’s not much to it.

On the contrary. Bradbury stood with the Tea Party in his final years.

“I think our country is in need of a revolution,” Bradbury told the Los Angeles Times in 2010. “There is too much government today. We’ve got to remember the government should be by the people, of the people, and for the people.”

Or he stood with anyone who wanted a revolution. A group that covers a lot of territory. It’s a libertarian view loosely, but there’s also no context for it. The only source for it is a brief sketch in the LA Times that looks like they took a few of Bradbury’s most controversial statements and pieced them together.

Bradbury had positive things to say about Reagan and Bush and negative things to say about Carter and Clinton, but that doesn’t make him a conservative. Maybe open minded. Maybe just not very political. There’s not enough context to draw any conclusions about his politics.

Salon asked him what he thought of Bush in August 2001. This was before September 11 or Iraq. So Bradbury’s comments weren’t about war patriotism.

What do you think of President Bush?

He’s wonderful. We needed him. Clinton is a shithead and we’re glad to be rid of him. And I’m not talking about his sexual exploits. I think we have a chance to do something about education, very important. We should have done it years ago. It doesn’t matter who does it — Democrats or Republicans — but it’s long overdue. Our education system is a monstrosity. We need to go back and rebuild kindergarten and first grade and teach reading and writing to everybody, all colors, and then the whole structure of our education will change because people will know how to read and write.

This gives us some context. This is pre-war so Bradbury isn’t referring to September 11 as I assumed after first reading the quote. So what is Bradbury talking about? My best guess is No Child Left Behind.

It’s hard to remember now, but Bush ran as a compassionate conservative. No Child Left Behind was a big topic in the summer of 2001 because it was being debated in Congress. It seems as if Bradbury was praising Bush for No Child Left Behind.

Bradbury was conservative in some ways and liberal in other ways. He distrusted the government and that comes out in a lot of statements. He praised Reagan for cutting taxes and giving money back to the people. He advocated space exploration. He disliked the police. He was skeptical about most things, except the power of reading.

That’s a profile of most people in Science Fiction. Bradbury was touchy about being associated with the field, but his political  views were typical of American Science Fiction writers.

So what about that Tea Party thing? Maybe.

I don’t believe in government. I hate politics. I’m against it. And I hope that sometime this fall, we can destroy part of our government, and next year destroy even more of it. The less government, the happier I will be.

Bradbury really did believe in cutting government. That put him to the right and the left of contemporary politics. Bradbury wasn’t a joiner and while he might have supported any group that wanted to cut the government, I’m not too sure he would have wanted to be a member.

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