Fahrenheit 451 takes place in a world of strict rules and order. Books are illegal, free thought is essentially prohibited, and activities are tightly organized. What’s interesting is that much of the restrictions on the general populous are self-enforced. The government has taken away the citizens’ ability to dissent and veiled all dissatisfaction with a cheap version of "happiness." This means that little external regulation is required, as the citizens conform contentedly to the status quo.
Beatty is a villain not for his book burning, but for his philosophy. He is the only character to understand the ramifications of his work and revel in it anyway.