(Originally Published 24 Oct 2010)
The challenging and banning of books is a direct attack on our First Amendment as U.S. Citizens. From the ALA website:
Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. – From ALA.org
The restriction of access to books is a subversion of liberty–an exact instance of what I describe in my forthcoming book, Conservative Bohemian, as the destruction of “individual right and privilege to expound upon one’s whims, fancies and desires, whether that is of an intellectual, artistic or political nature.” It is heresy to freedom and individualist pursuit.
Excellent literature, such as Howl (Allen Ginsberg), 1984 (George Orwell), and Tropic of Cancer (Henry Miller; a personal favorite) have all been through the censorship ringer. If you’d like to know whether a beloved book was once banned, check this (incomplete) listing of books banned by government.
Banned Books Week and the WikiLeaks hoopla have galvanized my resolve to be a vocal proponent of free speech and anti-censorship. It’s incredulous the measures taken by our government over the decades, the hundreds of years, actually, to limit the information its citizens (its birth mothers!) are allowed to consume. I find it unsettling to the utmost degree.
For 2011 i pledge myself to spread the word on Banned Books Weeks in support of our First Amendment and the perpetual acquisition of knowledge.
Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers, and the National Association of College Stores. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.
Below is a mapping of the locations where books are banned throughout the US, courtesy of BannedBooksWeek.org: