Why would society make "being a pedestrian" a crime?

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As Beatty explains, as people in their society started making choices to abandon reading for either television or mindless magazines, it also became clear that those who didn't conform to society would stand out all the more. They became the bullied misfits. Therefore, the people in power decided it was...

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As Beatty explains, as people in their society started making choices to abandon reading for either television or mindless magazines, it also became clear that those who didn't conform to society would stand out all the more. They became the bullied misfits. Therefore, the people in power decided it was best to engineer and legislate conformity. This resulted in the legal banning of all books and the increased labeling of people who did not conform to using technology as insane.

The state is highly suspicious of the mindset of people like Clarisse and her family who prefer to do unusual things such as walking and talking to each other. After all, why would you walk when you comfortably drive? Why talk when you can watch television? Families like this are watched by the state, and, as far as possible, criminalized so that their behaviors won't infect others with the dangerous idea of thinking independently.

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The idea of a pedestrian is deemed as a crime because it is something that the government cannot control.  A pedestrian is not at home, watching television, and submitting to the control of the state. They walk freely and perhaps engange in thoughts that are not controlled.  The same tendencies present in being a pedestrian is reflective in why the society makes book reading a crime.  The entire premise of seeking to eliminate books is because books help to trigger thought and reflective analysis.  In reading, individuals are able to formulate opinions and thoughts that cannot be controlled by an external reality.  Pedestrians are outside of the realm of control.  They walk freely and are not being controlled by the government and the social order.

In making pedestrians criminals, society has found another way to ensure its control over its individuals.  The society wants its citizens to be like Millie, emotionally tethered to the television in which there is complete focus or submission.  Making the pedestrian a crime ensures that individuals are not outside of control of the social order.  Criminalizing the status of being a pedestrian is another way in which individuals' attention are harnessed so that there is no creation of thought or even the possibility of reflection and understanding.  It is in this aspect in which the society makes being a pedestrian a crime.

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