A renowned American author wrote to a school board member who participated in the decision to burn his books:
“If you are an American, you must allow all ideas to circulate freely in your community, not merely your own.”
– Kurt Vonnegut in Palm Sunday
I speak to all conservatives who fight to keep books containing real life content such as profanity and violence or homosexuality and sexuality (I have news for you: these kids know they are sexual beings) out of their schools: you are not being Americans. I speak to all liberals who fight to keep books containing any kind of religious or conservative content or non-politically correct portrayals of characters out of schools: you are not being Americans.
While in some states moral watchdogs have renewed efforts to cleanse their schools of immoral reading material, in many states we have swung to the left in book burning these days. Although I understand it started out as pulling on the rope of literary influence that conservatives (and I say conservative and not Christian because books containing extreme political ideas have also been banned) had exerted for so long, once non-conservatives got their books in the schools they just kept pulling until they were able to get offensive books such as Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Brave New World removed from required reading lists (or summer reading lists or from school libraries). Books such as Tom Sawyer are still okay because they were written by a northerner and make fun of southerners, but serious books written by southern authors are often targeted. And, sadly, there are some people (I have no idea who these people are) who want to cleanse The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn so that they are no longer racially offensive (well, they actually published revised versions of Twain’s books where “nigger” is replaced with “slave” — don’t African Americans find it offensive that all blacks in Twain’s books are now presumed to be slaves???). Damn! I mean, darn!!!
We just can’t trust children with ideas. Ideas are dangerous. Ideas might influence a child in a direction in which a school administrator or school board member or government worker or pastor or parent might not agree they should go. Ideas must be controlled. Ideas must be contained. Ideas are just not for children, unless they are the right ideas. Who decides?