One of the misconceptions about Banned Books Week, I think, is that it is an alarmist overreaction to a nonexistant threat…that somehow books are being burned under our noses and no one is doing anything about it. However, I don’t see it that way at all. I see it as an opportunity to celebrate the fact that we don’t have wide-scale book-banning or rampant government censorship in the United States. It celebrates the present, where school boards and librarians (despite my snarky Twain quote) are holding back a growing tide of paranoia about freedom of thought and expression. It remembers the past, because we have not always enjoyed those freedoms in this country. And it cautions against the future, when those freedoms could be quickly taken away by simply ignoring them and giving in to the comfort of “safe” thought and easy acquiescence to the majority. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, would you rather fight for your freedom now–when it’s easily won–or later, when you are surrounded and have no chance of winning?
“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.” – Bertrand Russell
[ As seen at the Banned Books Project ]