If your beliefs are weak, ban books with opposing beliefs

One man who challenged the Harry Potter books did so because he believed the spells in the book are actual curses that summon demons. My response to that “logic” is:

  1. Can you prove it?
  2. If these purported demons appear, isn’t your faith sufficient protection?

No, of course he can’t prove it, and one reason he can’t is that he doesn’t know how spells work, and for most people considering his charge, he’s going to need some evidence. Show us the demons.

Suppose he produces the evidence. Can his faith not protect him? Apparently he’s unsure.

Most book challenges sound about this cowardly and absurd. That is, rather than disseminating opposing information to give readers an alternative, people choose to take the offending book off the shelves if they can:

Do you remember a game show called “The Weakest Link”? Banning these books shows that because an individual says, “I don’t like them so we should remove them from the library so that nobody else can read them,” we say, “okay,” and demonstrate the weakest link system of decision making.

We can do better. If we can’t, we’ve let things go too far and the contry is now in the hands of people who can’t think and/or who are scared to think, much less engage in a dialogue about opposing ideas.

You can fight the weakest links by reading everything they don’t like and asking your friends to do the same.

–Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell

Publisher: Thomas-Jacob Publishing

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PEN America to Focus on the Right to Read in the Nation’s Prisons 

“America’s prison system implements that largest book ban in the United States. This year, as part of national Banned Books Week (Sept. 22 – 28), the free expression and literary organization PEN America will launch a weeklong initiative to shed light on the practice of banning books in the nation’s prisons and jails. ‘Literature Locked Up: Banned Books Week 2019’ will feature events across the country, online activities, and public education to highlight restrictions of the right to read for the 2.2 million people currently incarcerated in the United States.”

Source: As Part of National Book Banning Week, PEN America to Focus on the Right to Read in the Nation’s Prisons – PEN America

We hear about prisoners’ lack of access to books from time to time, but it always seems isolated to one jail or another. That obscures the issue. Book banning in prisons is worse than all the book challenges in all the school and public libraries put together.

We’re not talking about books with titles like “How to Tunnel out of Sing Sing” or “Bomb Making for Dummies.” I often wonder under what authority does the warden or those he reports to ban the same titles the rest of us are reading.

I hope PEN America’s initiative brings the problem to the attention of more people and shows how pervasive it is.

Malcolm