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The Truth About “Book Banning”

Posted on Wednesday, December 21, 2022
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by David Lewis Schaefer
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AMAC Exclusive – By David Lewis Schaefer

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Following conservative victories in a number of school board races over the last two years and growing awareness from parents about the type of content their children are exposed to at school, many districts are now removing politically radical and sexually explicit materials that have quietly proliferated in school classrooms and libraries amid the far left’s attempted conquest of the education system. In response, the left has decried these efforts as “censorship” and “book banning.”

A recent New York Times headline which reads “A Fast-Growing Network of Conservative Groups Is Fueling a Surge in Book Ban” provides one example of the manufactured outrage from the left. The banning in question does not concern the prohibition of book publishing, let alone the persecution of authors. Instead, the article highlights a vote by the Keller Independent School District, a suburban district outside Dallas, to ban from school libraries books discussing “gender fluidity,” that is, the notion that your sex isn’t fixed at birth, but is something that even children should be encouraged to consider changing if their biological gender doesn’t feel right. The change was pushed by three new school board members backed by conservative advocacy groups, prompting grave concern from the Times authors.

The Times’s specific complaint is that while in the past “debates” about which books should be included in school libraries were conducted in one-on-one meetings between parents and teachers or librarians, leading (at most) to the removal of one or a few books, the issue has now been “supercharged” by various conservative groups and thrust into mainstream political conversations.

As the Times reports, left-wing groups now are organizing to fight the so-called bans, alleging that “banning books about gender fluidity creates ‘a pervasively hostile atmosphere for LGBTQ students’” and violates students’ “right to access a broad range of material without political censorship.” The ACLU as well as a group of Texas librarians called “Freedom Fighters,” and the “Freedom to Read” movement in Florida have all filed litigation to block the removal of books.

But as a founder of the Florida Citizens Alliance, a Florida parental-rights group, explained, “This is not about banning books, it’s about protecting the innocence of our children.” Florida Citizens Alliance has drafted a bill that provides all county residents, not just parents, the right to challenge a book’s being stocked in a school library, since as taxpayers, they are entitled to influence how their money is spent. The alliance also supports a bill requiring that all book challenges be forwarded by school districts to the state, which can distribute the list to districts for consideration in their selection procedures.

The real issue at stake in the “book banning debate” is who should decide what material public school students, especially young ones, have access to and are encouraged to read. Contrary to the ACLU’s assertions, children have no inalienable right to choose which books to read, any more than what films or TV shows they can watch or what video games they can play. Nor is it the job of teachers or librarians to take the lead in shaping their pupils’ sexual mores or encouraging (or discouraging) them from “coming out” as gay or transgender. It is also not the responsibility of school officials to promote “gender-affirming” care – that is, sexchange operations or hormone therapy.

Most parents would understandably be outraged if another parent, or worse, a teacher, showed their child a pornographic or excessively violent film without their permission. The case is far worse if schools are assigning or making available to kids books designed to encourage them to rethink their sexual orientation or even their gender identity. The same applies to including in the curriculum or library one-sided and propagandistic portrayals of U.S. history and American society like those promoted by Critical Race Theory and the likes of the Times’s 1619 Project, or Ibram X. Kendi’s How to be an Antiracist, which can only encourage contempt for our country and promote racial hostility.If parents want their kids to read these materials, they are free to order them online or in a local bookstore

At least as far back as Hillary Clinton’s book It Takes a Village, Democrats have sought to expand the government’s role in molding children, revealing a deep-set belief that most American parents are not “enlightened” enough to do the job right. The roots of that “progressive” attitude go back over a century to the educational theorist and exponent of anti-Constitutional “pragmatism” John Dewey.

But, contrary to the left’s assertions, the leading challenges that American youth face today don’t derive from insufficient awareness of doctrines like Critical Race Theory and transgenderism. (See Abigail Shrier’s excellent and deeply troubling book Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters for an examination of the enormous harm that indoctrination into gender fluidity has already caused impressionable young people.)

Instead, the biggest threat to America’s youth is the belief by the left that the state and so-called “experts” know better than parents how to raise their children. This worldview ignores real problems facing American youth and creates more challenges to raising healthy, productive members of society.

Those challenges include growing up in fatherless households, confusion about gender roles, uncertainty about their sexual identity or orientation, and encouragement to regard their peers as either “oppressors” or “oppressed” based on race. Teachers, who are supposed to teach pupils core academic subjects as well as art, music, and physical education, have no professional competence to address such issues. Even less do librarians.

A recent study by the Heritage Foundation and the Educational Freedom Institute demonstrates the difference in worldviews between professional educators in rural areas and the townspeople whose children they teach. Of the over 1,400 political donations made by educational staff living within rural Texas ZIP codes during the past two years, over 90 percent went to Democrats, while Republican governor Greg Abbott won over 80 percent of the vote in those same areas. The disparity exhibits what the authors of the Heritage/EFI study call a “disconnect in values between the parents and public-school employees” in those towns, with the latter “view[ing] their role as rescuing children from the backward ideas of their parents.” Nationwide, educators are interpreting their responsibilities in light of their political loyalties or the instruction they received in schools of education, regardless of the wishes of the populations they serve.

When Alexis de Tocqueville visited America in 1829, preparing his classic study Democracy in America, he was impressed by the free and democratic character of the American family, in contrast to the hierarchical nature of aristocratic families in Europe. However, he concluded his book with a fear that modern democracies would end up decaying into “tutelary” despotisms, where the authority of independent, self-governing citizens was replaced with rule by “expert” bureaucrats, meddling into every aspect of formerly private life, in the name, supposedly, of improving our lives.

America today is beset by this battle between self-styled educational experts and concerned parents striving to defend their children against the ruinous fads into which experts representing the “nanny state” seek to indoctrinate them. Tocqueville would be heartened to learn of the parental uprising against the educational-library establishment.

David Lewis Schaefer is a Professor of Political Science at College of the Holy Cross

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Sharon Ormsby
Sharon Ormsby
1 year ago

The problem today is while we need to protect our children, we can also take things too far. For instance, in our school, a parent came in wanting us to ban all books that had harmless “magic” in them. Her preacher had been condemning the Harry Potter books specifically. There isn’t anything wrong with Harry Potter. It teaches good from evil. Did they condemn Star Wars? It uses “magic’. Our librarian and principal had a tough time with this lady, several others, until they actually showed how many books would have to be taken out of the library. It was over half and many were chapter books. Are we going to ban hygenic books that show girls how to change menstrual pads and use tampons, they have those to, tucked away in very discreet places, usually behind the desk. They are also kept in nursing stations. There are also encyclopedias that show the basic human body. Dictionaries that show every word used in English language and many in French, Spanish, and Latin, etc. I don’t like these (depicting LGBTQ) books, any more than the next person, but if they are in school libraries, they can be put in to a particular section. This happened in our junior high library back in the seventies. Parents can also (usually) say what they don’t want their children to check out in elementary school. At least, in certain school districts. With the lady I described before, her child never was allowed to check out Harry Potter books, of course, she was also too scared to. That minister was something else, apparently. In our town, at least twenty chapter schools have opened up, so this isn’t a problem. It isn’t a problem in our district with these books anyway, people just want higher scores for their kids, so they put them in chapter schools. If a child is gay, they will be gay, no matter whether there are books or not.

George Washington's Admirer
George Washington's Admirer
1 year ago

Shock and Awe; President George Washington, President Thomas Jefferson, and President Teddy Roosevelt thrown under the bus for a bunch of Marxists; CRUEL Marxists. Hot Air Flatulence From the Pot Calling The Thimble Black. The Flipping Brainwashing Techniques of the Communists. Are we not tired of this? If, Cancel Culture wants to proliferate; then, the Marxists will have to pay for it; NOT the taxpayer. Since, parents pay taxes to help support schools; then they also have the right to express their views on brainwashing marinating techniques. Democrats/Marxists are wasting taxpayer money to clutter, brainwash, and push Marxism on our young people. Lots of questions? Oh yea, there are hundreds of questions. We should get in touch with a Movie Director and ask them just how are the democrats doing with their scripts and cinematography? Whilst our children at school are getting brainwashed; their parents watch: ‘made for television docudramas’. President George Washington’s picture looks down from the living room wall; accompanied by President Thomas Jefferson and an American Flag. And that is where they are staying! God Bless The United States of America!

skippy
skippy
1 year ago

Hmm

David Millikan
David Millikan
1 year ago

Excellent article.
The Left bans books just like the NAZIS.
Problem with Left is they don’t know how to read Intelligent and Educational books unless it promotes Socialism/Communism.
And they wonder why they can’t think Intelligently.

ladyj
ladyj
1 year ago

I am in my eighties and I recall Dr. Spock and his advice on how to raise a child. I did’t follow his advice and my kid turned out fine. Parents using common sense do just fine without the so called experts.

Philip Hammersley
Philip Hammersley
1 year ago

“Book banning,” as DIMMs & Marxist use the term, simply is concerned parents asking that non-age-appropriate books be placed in the adult section or be made available by request rather than being in the children’s section. Kids have NO need to learn about homosexualism, transsexualism, drag queens, or anything similar. Nor do they need explicit books using vile heterosexual language as well. Kids are KIDS!

Laura
Laura
1 year ago

I get it. Use our tax dollars to turn parents’ children against them so the Left can indoctrinate (or exploit) children whose brains aren’t even developed enough to make gender decisions. Books on this subject should be in the adult section. Like the article says, if parents want their children to learn about such things, let them buy the books themselves. If a person wants to look into some kind of gender surgery and all that stuff as an adult, knock yourself out. But let little kids alone!

George
George
1 year ago

If books cannot be banned from our children in school libraries because of explicit sexual and politically radical content, why do we have designations on movies? Why do television and other broadcast stations have to warn against “graphic” material before airing certain videos or opinion pieces? Why the double standard?

REB1957
REB1957
1 year ago

Does anyone remember the Democrat Socialist Communist Party’s dismissal of Dr. Seuss? I do. Hey DSC, ban books much?

Anonymous
Anonymous
1 year ago

Very often, I go to bookstores just to see what books are for sale that I might interest me. A few weeks ago, while looking at the section in a bookstore that has new books for sale, I saw a fictional paperback book written by a distinguished author. I read about its content on it back cover as well as inside the book itself. The story went like this: the government of the United States was populated by a radical, left wing group whose methods were very repressive, causing the American people to be very unhappy, just as many people feel right now. Then, a right wing collection of very experienced and combat-hardened special forces type-military veterans was formed. The purpose of this group was to terminate the those people who were causing this intentional repression. The end result of their actions was to completely restore America’s democracy as it had been before. I regret that I did not buy this book because when I went back to buy this book a week later, I could not find it. Also, I searched for it extensively on my computer, but got no results. Then I asked the owner of the bookstore to look for the latest book by this author, but again, the search any trace of this book came up empty. I think that this book was BANNED by those people who had enough influence to have it SUPPRESSED PERMANENTLY! I know that rhis book actually existed but I can’t prove it because I did not buy it. DOES THE US RADICAL U.S. GOVERNMENT FEEL THREATENED BY SUCH A POSSIBILITY??

xyz
xyz
1 year ago

Yeah right, it’s always about protecting someone. A book ban is a book ban which is part of an intrusive government. None of these bans are acceptable and I don’t care where the one doing the band stands politically.

I do not want the government protecting me.

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