George Orwell... Ray Bradbury... John Christopher...

These authors offered us their disturbing descriptions of imagined dystopian futures; futures in which a privileged, power-mad establishment seeks to suppress the fundamental freedoms of others.  In Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, the efforts at censorship have reached such a fever pitch that reading has become illegal, and books are burned by those in charge.

Americans like to believe that these sci-fi novels depict no more than counter-fantasies - or at worst, scenarios that could only play out in either a faraway land or a distant time.  But what if such a dystopia already exists... right here and right now?

I released my book, The Truth Comes Out, in June of 2017.  Since then, two periodicals (one "liberal" and one "conservative") have denied me the opportunity to purchase advertising space for it.  The representatives of numerous bookstores have refused to carry it - never mind the fact that they scarcely even looked beyond the cover.  An aggressive Boise resident cursed at me, stole door-to-door flyer ads for the book, burned them, and boasted of her actions on Facebook.  Several librarians have quickly dispensed of donated copies, and zealous Amazon website visitors have left bogus single-star reviews to decry the "hateful" text of a book that they've never read.

Most recently, I offered a writing contest for young people who might want to submit a relatively short analysis of The Truth Comes Out. I sent hundreds of e-mails to various faculty members, administrators, and staff at numerous high schools and colleges to inform them of the contest (and of the nice prizes that were available to entrants).  I personally handed out flyers to young people that I believed to fit the age eligibility requirements.  The response of those institutional leaders - and/or their students - was to either ignore the opportunity, or worse yet, to send brief and/or angry replies indicating a resounding sentiment of "not interested!"

How far are we from Bradbury's vision of the future?  If the contemporary authorities attempt to suppress a book that expresses a viewpoint other than that of the dominant paradigm, how different are those authorities from the Fahrenheit 451 "firemen" who burned books altogether?  If today's youth are only encouraged (or allowed) by their educators to hear one perspective regarding issues of great importance, are those youth really being educated?  And what kind of adults will they grow up to be?

If you're reading this, I encourage you to think for yourself.  Seize the chance to explore the information that's available to you - even if your self-professed professors want to keep it hidden from you.  You don't have to surrender your freedom to read, to analyze, and to express yourself just because of the way the academic and social winds are blowing.

And remember that censorship by any other name - such as the state-sanctioned stifling of alleged "hate speech" - is still censorship.

If you don't care much for the suffocating thought suppression of ThisTopia, you're not alone.