Monday, September 29, 2008

it's banned books week

throughout history and in every totalitarian state, the dissemination of ideas was one of the first things to come under attack. why? because a nation of the ignorant is easier to control. a country that desires freedom for all, is a country that defends freedom of speech above all else. the right to be heard and the right to hear are integral if we are to avoid oppression. knowledge is the most powerful tool. if you want to start a revolution, pick up the pen not the sword. if you want to suppress a movement, you must silence its voice. we, here in america often fall into complacency, erroneously thinking that the war has been won and that our freedom of speech is secure. now, more than ever, our civil liberties are increasingly under attack and we, as the american people must defend those rights. in the face of the decidedly unpatriotic patriot act and government pressure on libraries to turn over their reading lists, freedom of speech is in grave danger and may soon be nothing more than a memory. but freedom of speech is a tricky thing because if we are to truly have it, we must advocate for it even when the ideas being espoused are contrary to our own beliefs. it may gall me that o. j. simpson published a book in which he recounted the murder of his ex-wife, the way it would have been committed had he done the odious deed but i must defend his right to write such a book. my power of censure lies in not purchasing the offending book not in banning it. i may not believe in the klan but they have a right to distribute their brand of hate. i think that with freedom of speech comes a great responsibility to contemplate the consequences of one's words but even the fool has a right to speak his mind. i would like to encourage everyone to read at least one banned book this week and tell everyone about it. tell them why it was banned. tell them what you got out of that book. tell them knowledge is power and freedom of speech is a fragile thing.

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