I remember a book that came out in 1953 called Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury about the censorship of books. It told the story of how books were being burned to stifle intellectual freedom. It was very graphic and it came out at a time when schools were trying to ban books in their libraries even though they were in violation of the First Amendment to the United States’ Constitution.
There were many schools that were trying to take classics off the shelves like Chaucer. Who ever heard of his Canterbury Tales being considered unfit to read? Or Shakespeare? So what if Romeo and Juliet consummated their marriage in advance of their wedding? That wasn’t the point of the story, and these holy rollers were trying to strip the school library shelves of classics like these.
But now, there’s a new concern, a very deep concern. Schools are trying to eliminate textbooks and substitute eBook learning. And why? Well, the first objection I ran across was that they were too heavy to carry. Too heavy to carry? These are kids, not octogenarians; they can carry books just like we did.
Educators are saying that students can go online and print out the pages that are important. Who is to say what is important to a child’s mind? School is the place where we learn to evaluate what we’re reading and where we learn to make decisions based upon what our fertile minds read in the pages of these books.
Another objection is that textbooks are expensive to print. If textbooks are too expensive to print and we are doing away with them, we will definitely be raising future generations of morons.
If these so-called educators are deciding what books are morally fit for our children to read, we will be raising generations of adults who can’t think for themselves and who can only accept the bowdlerized version of what is acceptable information. No wonder there is such a widespread theory that there is a conspiracy to keep us stupid and uninformed.
As someone who still has many of my high school and college textbooks on my library shelves, just the thought that tomorrow’s children will someday ask their parents, “What is a book?” is terrifying.
Online books are great for certain things but textbooks deserve to be given to students and to stay on the library shelves of every school. No one has the right to censor what the populace reads. And that means religious zealots, politicians, educators, do-gooders, and anyone else. Books are meant to be read and minds are given to people to use and, when we deprive people of both, we deny them their First Amendment rights and the right to choose for themselves.