Wednesday, December 06, 2006

censors in civilization

Senator Robert Byrd makes no secret of the fact that he walks around with a pocket-sized copy of the U.S. Constitution in his pocket. I suppose it serves as a constant reminder of the ideology that governs our Legislature.
At times, I consider carrying around a copy of the American Library Association's "Library Bill of Rights" (and its Rule Interpretations) with me. Say what you like about the ALA, I am a proud member and fully support the organization. As corny as it may sound, the text of the "Library Bill of Rights" inspires me.
I've always been a bit of an ideologue, a trait which can sometime be a liability if you habitually let it cloud your ability to render practical solutions. However, there are times when my tendency for the abstract is steadfast, like when library materials are met with challenges from the censors.
We've all heard: "I don't want my tax dollars to be used towards the purchase of materials that I (or anyone in my family) might find objectionable." This is the argument that the censors make and it's a troubling one because that logic does not hold up when you extend it to other areas. For instance: "I don't want my tax dollars to be used to fund the school system because I don't have children so why should I pay to educate someone else's child according to a curriculum that I didn't write (or even approve) in the first place."
If you don't want your tax dollars to be used in a manner that you do not deem appropriate then your best option is to move to a part of the planet where a taxpayer-funded government does not exist. This will likely be a very remote location where other human beings do not currently reside and will thereby accomplish the secondary objective of never having to be offended again since you will be in a position to avoid human contact entirely. Those of us that remain in civilization will feel pretty good about the arrangement too.



The Editor said...

Gary, that reminds of when I lived in the Milwaukee area, and the Brewers decided they needed a new stadium. There was a vote, and the Milwaukee county taxpayers got hit with a $400 (or something along those lines) one-time property tax to help pay for the stadium.

Didn't matter if you liked the Brewers, baseball, sports, etc. You had to pay it if you owned property in the county.

A friend of mine (who worked in the Milwaukee theatres) was irate and said something like, "If they voted on whether to provide tax money to renovate a theater you know it would get shot down! But because it's sports, no one blinks an eye."

If he was the sole tax payer for an institution (i.e., his money was the entirety of the funds for the library) then you could make the argument that his opinion mattered. But, what about people who provide tax money for the library who think have a different view point and find something Mr. Byrd liked to be objectionable? Maybe Mr. Byrd likes hunting magazines and some of the vegans in town object to it. Who gets to choose?

Thankfully, no one. We provide service to everyone, no matter what.


Gary S. said...

Moody: Ban Books "At Your Own Risk"

Now -- if you don't want to read a book, fine. Don't read it. If you don't want your children to read it, fine. Don't let them read it, even though you'll likely make them want it more than ever before. (It seems that the more authority figures squeeze ideas, the more the subjugated revolt.)

But don't you dare try to ban them for me -- whether you're the government, a moral arbiter or just the kook next door.