Is There A Case For Banning Books? 24 April, 2023 – Posted in: Articles, Books – Tags: Opinion
Banning books has been a hot news item for the last couple of years. Every time we expose ourselves to a news outlet they’re reporting on a new wave of books removed from libraries. Whenever I see this happening my gut reaction is one of sadness. To someone like myself books have been and always will be a source of happiness and comfort. The idea that someone would take to banning books for some spurious reason is utterly foreign to my way of thinking. But if we’re to have open minds we must consider both viewpoints. Is there a case for banning books?
So why ban a book? The first thought that comes to mind is that there is something so repugnant about the contents of the book that is in the public’s best interest for them not to have access to it. This is the version parents and censors use to decry a book about being not suitable for their children. The problem is that most parents or censors haven’t read the book for themselves so are in no position to say anything about the contents of the book. Instead they rely on headlines and echo rooms to bolster their convictions.
The next thought I have is that parents and censors think banning books will work. They assume that by banning books from schools and libraries they are taking some sort of moral high ground. This is a short-sighted and limiting view. The ‘banners’ – for lack of a better word – seem to think that they have the right to make these restrictions. But they then restrict the rights of other parents have to decide what is best for their children. Banners would scream bloody murder if someone restricted their rights, so why give banners such an opportunity?
Banning books has a long history, but it is a privilege the wealthier classes indulge in. I have no hard data to back this statement up, but from what I’ve seen in the news it’s not people struggling to make ends meet that want books removed. It is wealthy people that can buy any of these books they deem so unsuitable. This means that children whose parents don’t have the means to buy books are unable to access the information contained in those books. This is a steep and slippery slope to tread. How long until books that are essential to education are removed from libraries to prevent people who can’t afford them from getting a complete education? I shudder to think.
Banning books is a fruitless task. It wastes time and resources that could be better spent on problems the world actually needs to be solved. The sudden rise and focus on what constitutes suitable reading feels like a con game perpetrated on an unsuspecting and ill-informed public. I associate banning books with the worst aspects of extremism and everything that implies.
At Ab Astra Books we believe in books and reading. Books are about freedom. The freedom to read, the freedom to learn, the freedom to think for ourselves. And in the end isn’t that the greatest freedom we can offer children? Also remember to read dangerously.
Do you have a thought about banning books? Let us know in the comments.