Censorship and the Why of It

I have been trying to hold my tongue — and typing fingers — on the subject of banned books for some time, but it’s hard to hold both at the same time.

I’ve written books (see also http://wkeithbrenton.com). They’re not great books. They’re not classics. They’re not destined to be. Hopefully they’re fun to read, as they were to write. But I wrote them with young readers in mind; so that the subject matter and language would be suitable for them.

But that being said, not all the characters in them are straight, which the way it is with people in 1973, 1886 or 2014, when these novels take place.

There’s nothing about these stories that grooms young people (or any people) to question who they are, one way or another. They simply recognize that such people exist, have existed, and have as much to contribute to the world as people who are straight/cisgendered.

How would I feel if my books were (should they ever become popular) banned by a school district or library board or state or the nation’s rulemakers?

Just as incensed as I am that books of any kind are being banned.

Because the motivation behind banning is fear and power and a sense of moral/ethical superiority.

“I know better than you,” is the thinking behind banning books. “Therefore you are not qualified and should not be allowed to read, think, and choose for yourself.”

It’s a whole mindset behind an entire political movement right now that’s based on fear and power and a sense of moral/ethical superiority.

“You do not deserve these rights: self-expression through reading/writing books … voting by mail … having an abortion (even if raped or a victim of incest or underage or your life is endangered by the pregnancy) … earning equal pay for equal work or a living wage … having equal opportunity to work … having affordable access to healthcare or life-sustaining pharmaceuticals … entering this country while endangered elsewhere … driving or appearing in public while not-white.

“I know better than you. And I decide.”

Well, pardon my Franglish, but screw that.

“I know better than you and I decide for you” is not the basis of democracy or a republic or any rational, decent, moral, stable system of government.

And it’s certainly not the rationale behind the Constitution of the United States of America.

It’s authoritarianism. It’s fascism. It’s totalitarianism.

Read what you want. Think what you want. Be who you are.

Be free.


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