Banning books

What makes us feel the need to shut off access to different opinions in order to protect our own viewpoints? Recently there have been book bans, or attempts to ban books, with the intent to protect, encapsulate, or, in a more insidious manner, perhaps to indoctrinate. In this New Yorker piece, critic Katy Waldman examines book bans, starting in my home state of Florida.

Some bans take parts of Florida’s controversial Stop WOKE Act, citing that “media specialists should avoid material that provokes feelings of ‘guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress’ related to race or gender.”

There’s an element of hypocrisy to the whole thing. On one side, we have those who want to ban books they deem “questionable in nature”. They will criticize their opponents for canceling, or attempting to cancel, those who have spoken or acted in ways that offend and demean. 

However, on the flip side, detractors of book bans often claim that certain types of free speech aren’t protected under the free speech principle. Which is, fundamentally, what those advocating for book bans are claiming. 

In the end, it’s not the principles that differ between them – it’s rather how they interpret them that is different.


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