Letters: Banning books

Town Brian Bennett

Updated: 34 minutes ago Published: 34 minutes ago

Historically, banning books moves from the classroom, to the curriculum, to the public-school library, to the public library, to the book store. Should any court cede to the states (or the communities) the making and keeping of laws to affect the private aspects of people’s lives, this will effectively subject individuals’ fundamental moral and ethical issues and constitutional rights to state and community preferences, often based from an aggressively vocal and hostile minority.

Teachers and librarians have been unbelievably brave, honorable, patriotic and intelligent about opposing book bans. The defense of any book is to defend every book, good or bad, as it is the defense of the First Amendment, Article 1. Teachers and librarians understand: Democracy demands access to, and critique of, every opinion and information. Even this one.

The majority of support or popularity of the ban does not matter. Nor does the belief that the laws of nature or the laws of their god supersede the Constitution, particularly as they apply to people other than themselves. For those applying religious objections, they could win, if they followed the Quran and lived in Iran, Afghanistan, Egypt, Sudan, Turkey, Indonesia, Iraq and Iraq as recent examples. But fortunately, we have Bibles, the Bhagavad Gita, the Quran, the Dhammapada, the I Ching and many other books here, explaining the “right” way of living.

There is a low-viscosity, negative incline that book banning leads to: more bans. I learned about the good, the bad and the indifferent from a book — many books. I think I’m the better for it. Books I read, discussed and debated, in classes and out. Books I checked out from libraries in my schools — kindergarten through post-graduate — and the public library. Public schools and public libraries are extensions of the government, and no government that has ever banned books or banned information from its public has been remembered as the good guys on the correct side of history.

—Brian Bennett


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