I am sure that most of our citizens are appalled by this. But they don’t seem to be concerned enough to do anything about it. As a result, more and more of them slowly become acclimated to the new norm and one day find themselves on the side of evil. Look at Nazi Germany and today’s Russia.
Is there any hope?
I don’t know. I like to think so, but I see little evidence.
One tiny prick of promise hit me when I recently visited a small independent bookstore. I bought an item and, while my credit card was being processed, I asked, “Are you going to carry all the books that currently are being banned?”
To my delight, the reply was, “Yes. We’re planning to have a special shelf devoted to them.”
I hope they follow through.
A day or so later I was in a Barnes and Noble, looking for a book to make me think I might actually be able to learn Spanish (which seems hopeless). While searching for the proper section I came across a bookshelf separated from the others and labeled “BANNED BOOKS.”
This is what every bookstore, independent and chain, should be doing.
And every library too.
I am convinced that the vast majority of librarians would be more than willing to display these books.
Libraries, though, usually are under some level of government control. If that government, as is often the case, is the institution pushing the banning, there may be little the library can do. However, they should push the envelope as much as they can. Even the more so if there are no draconian directives otherwise.
On the other hand, bookstores should have the freedom to do what they want. Notice the word “should.” There used to be a time when government would not dare to control a business decision as long as it broke no laws. That is no longer the case. Autocratic governments have no compunction about interfering with the actions of a business. To make such demands appear legitimate they often pass new laws to justify them.
But, so far, I am unaware of any law against displaying banned books in private stores. I believe, however, that governors and legislators, given the idea, would have no hesitation about enacting such a law.
But, for now, I urge everyone of us, whenever in a library or a bookstore, to indicate to someone in charge that you are in favor of making banned books available. It’s the least we can do.
This shouldn’t be necessary, but we live in dark days.