Archive for September 25th, 2017

Unwise Monkeys

Every year the last week of September is designated as Banned Books Week, but as I wrote for the occasion last year:

…top-down state censorship…is very rare now in the United States…the majority of “challenges” now…originate not with state officials or other “authorities”, but with individuals seeking to “protect the children” from thoughts their parents don’t want them to have…demands that books be burned controlled are just as likely to come from soi-disant “progressives” as from cultural conservatives, and the reasons may include “racism”, “sexism”, “religious viewpoint”, “violence” and so on…the majority of censorship now is the result of morons trying to self-lobotomize our entire culture…and…the same “right-thinking” folks who would march in protest if a school library declined to stock And Tango Makes Three grow strangely silent when Twitter bans a member’s account for “hate speech”, and may even be willing to march in support of censoring escort ads on Backpage…

Over the last few years, my “self-lobotomization” metaphor has grown a bit more literal; the “children” people are seeking to “protect” from icky thoughts are now actually young adults at universities, and the ones demanding they be “protected” are now as often as not the students themselves.  People who, like me, received our university degrees in the last century (especially those whose younger professors were themselves university students in the radical ’60s), find it almost unfathomable that biological and legal adults are not merely accepting, but demanding they be shielded from ideas they find uncomfortable for one reason or another; they not only display an ovine passivity in the face of censorship, but actively run to the nanny-state to hide in her skirts lest they see or hear some idea or word, or see some image, that will cause some ripple in the placid lakes of their privileged lives and perhaps actually require them to think rather than merely consuming and regurgitating the dogma they’ve been spoon-fed.  Nor are sheltered young people in their late teens the only ones hiding their eyes from reality like children; even fully-fledged adults in their thirties and forties are belching up idiocy about “hate speech”, apparently wholly unable to comprehend

…that someone else with very different ideas about what constitutes a menace will occupy the throne in a very short time, and [any]…weapon [given to the old boss] will still be available to [the new boss]…to use however he pleases.  Useful idiots are so convinced of their own righteousness, they’re unable to conceive of anyone branding them as evil.  It’s the result of a sheltered existence in which the force of the state has never been used against them, just against others they can feel good about standing up for…“hate crime” laws have already been extended to cops via so-called “blue lives matter” laws in several states…it’s only one more step to criminalizing speech that criticizes cops or politicians, and a package of laws going through Congress right now paves the way for paying for sex to be classified as a “hate crime” by defining it as “gender-based violence”.  And after that, it’s just one step…to defining speech about decriminalization as “hate speech” because it “promotes gender-based violence”…

The so-called “three wise monkeys” advise us to “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”.  That last directive might be good personal advice, but it becomes tyranny when “authorities” are the ones who get to decide what constitutes “evil” and enforce the diktat with violence.  But the first two directives, though perhaps intended in the same spirit as “ignorance is bliss”, are poor advice to any free adult; if one never allows himself to know what evil looks or sounds like, how will he recognize it when it slides up next to him…or installs itself as the censoring “authority” with the help of all the other unwise monkeys?

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