I find it a little ironic that a person who thinks as much as Beaty is against books. How can any person intelligent enough to understand why books are burnt want to burn books? I have a couple of theories, and it may be just one of them or both of them put together. It may not have been eithe of them.
My most reasonable theory is that Beaty wanted power over people by keeping them thoughtless. If controlling people is impossible, because you cannot control their thoughts, but if they do not have thoughts they are just like cows waiting to be led around. My first problem with that is that there was nowhere to lead people and nothing they were wanted to do. My other problem with that is that what in the world does a suicidal person want with power? I do not understand it.
My other theory is that Beaty is very, very mean. When he talks about people, the tone is sort of disgusted (Bradbury 61). I think he may like keeping people thoughtless because it makes him feel superior to them. That way, if he is a piece of absolute spitefulness, he can at least feel like he is better than the thoughtless cows. This makes more sense to me, because if he needs to help people stay that stupid to make himself feel better, then it is no wonder he wants to die.
I have to wonder why he hates himself so much. Maybe he hates himself for burning books, because he is smart enough to know how wonderful books are. Because he hates himself for doing that, he keeps burning books to keep people less smart than him so at least he can feel good about that. If that was the case, then that is one messed up man. Perhaps he read an unsavory book that started the process, because I can not imagine why anyone would start burning books.
Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York: Ballantine, 1996. Print.