Ignorance is Bliss, So Throw Another Book on the Fire

Today, CNN is reporting online about the charming little town of West Bend, Wisconsin. There, a group of residents are protesting the inclusion of "pornographic" books for young adults, including some that they target as "gay-affirming" in the young adult section. They advocate moving the purported smut to the adult section of the library in order to "keep our library clean." Their position further includes putting warning labels on the books, and not allowing them to be checked out by minors except with the permission of their parents, as reported by the National Coalition Against Censorship.

Additionally, they demand that the library start purchasing books by such people as "ex-gay" writers, and from more faith-based perspectives, in order to keep the shelves fair and balanced.

Books are certainly important in the ConsimWorld universe, and indeed one of the most popular forums is titled What are you reading? So there probably is a vested interest among many in defending rights of all, including teenagers, to read what they want, and to keep the libraries relatively free of special-interest propaganda.

There are also some members who might be concerned about what sort of material is there for their children to read, watch, and experience on their game consoles.

My personal view is that the activists campaigning against the West Bend Community Memorial Library are small-minded mental defectives, motivated by self-righteousness and a compulsion to enforce that upon others. If parents are worried about what their children are reading, they should sit down and talk to them about it, and perhaps present some guidance. They should be moms and dads, not moral policemen for the entire community. If nothing else, that passes the buck for involvement in their childrens' intellectual and moral development to someone else, someone who does not necessarily have those duties in their job description.

The library story actually gets worse, as the debate spreads to Milwaukee. There, four old men, comprising the Christian Civil Liberties Union, moved that the "pornography" in the library be burned, suing for the right to do so.

I've posted here about freedom and expression and its repression in other countries, especially Iran and Venezuela. Those who know me know that I am a fair radical when it comes to the Bill of Rights, including all of the freedoms guaranteed in all of the amendments. I criticize the ACLU quite frequently, not because they are too aggressive in defending civil liberties, but because they are too selective in that mission.

So when issues of censorship, book-burning, and aspirations toward theocratic nonsense arise in this, my own country, it gets my attention.

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Comment by Gerald-Markus Zabos on July 23, 2009 at 7:01am
I'm for warning labels on books, similar to the ones they put on cigarettes.

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"WARNING: Reading might lead to unsolicited education"
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And i am pro censorship. Censorship has to take place - in each individuals head.
Comment by Jim Werbaneth on July 22, 2009 at 11:38pm
Stupidity is always going to be present in that market, but usually left on the shelf.
Comment by Smitty on July 22, 2009 at 3:03pm
For the most part I simply subscribe to allowing a free market place of ideas where they compete against one another - enuf said.

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