Initially, what is the principal reason to why the Fahrenheit 451 society stopped thinking? I understand that the prevalence of technology and media enabled the reflecive and though related process to decline; however, did thinking cause dissent upon readers? As Beatty asserts, books proposed various contradictive perspectives, thus causing a reader to think for themselves. Did independent thought itself afflict society? Didn't society aim for happiness and thinking caused the reflection of reality?
Bradbury was very anti-television. In several of his stories, television or technology causes the trouble. In this story, you get the idea that the government is trying to control people by denying them books and instead focusing them on television.
I think in addition to what lentzk stated, it is also true that people became uninterested in competition anymore. He mentions that the classics became shorter and shorter to allow everyone to read and understand it, but eventually, they just got rid of the classics. People wanted to be equal, and they wanted to ensure that no one was ever smarter or better than them.
As Faber notes, nobody stopped the censorship and banning of books. Nobody was left to stand up to the government and fight to keep books and thought around. It wasn't something people wanted - why fight for it? Looking around, I can identify with that sentiment. It seems like less and less people would stand up and fight to keep certain books on the shelves and off a banned list.
If you have ever read "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonneghut has similar opinions on striving for equality and reducing competition.
Bradbury's novel seems predominantly to make the argument that excess of entertainment rots the brain. If society is continuously bombarded with media and entertainment like television shows, then people are not challenged to think for themselves; rather they become like Millie, complacent to be spoonfed more and more entertainment from their television walls.
Beatty's idea that books created conflict is mostly just propaganda, created to underscore the importance of destroying books--but the real motive behind the burnings is to eliminate dissent.