Friday, September 25, 2009

Neither SafeLibraries Nor Mitchell Muncy have a Clue!

In anticipation of Banned Books Week, the SafeLibraries blog repeats an anti-ALA diatribe by columnist Mitchell Muncy.  It is obvious that neither SafeLibraries nor Mr. Muncy have the slightest clue what censorship is.

To be brief, consider Muncy's statement:
In the common-law tradition, censorship refers specifically to the government's prior restraint on publication. None of the sponsors claim this has happened; the acts they have in mind are perpetrated by private citizens. Yet the cases on the map almost all involve ordinary people lodging complaints with school and library authorities. Before Banned Books Week began in 1982, such behavior was known as petitioning the government for a redress of grievances.
As I've pointed out before, this is an artificial definition of censorship or banning.  By Muncy's ridiculous abuse of logic, it isn't censorship if a citizen goes into a public library and rips pages he or she doesn't like out of books.  He claims it isn't censorship if a library (government employees) give in to public pressure and remove a book. By Muncy's definition, burning books isn't censorship, because it isn't "prior restraint."

That's stupid.

The shell game Muncy plays with definitions of terms reaches it's peak when he characterizes attempts at censorship this way:
What inflames the ALA, in other words, are attempts by parents to guide their children's education.
Would that it were so!  If all that was going on in West Bend or elsewhere was parents trying to guide their OWN children's education, there'd be no debate.   The problem is that some people are trying to control what OTHER people can read.  And yes, that's Censorship, even if some people just can't face the plain facts.

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