I have always believed that one must be given all the information on a topic to be able to independently assess, explore and intelligently discuss that topic from all possible angles and only then determine what their opinion ought to be. But where can one find accurate, reliable, and non-biased information? The truth can be complicated, and often, very little is absolute. Furthermore, the death and/or denial of expertise is a major contributing factor to the nigh insurmountable accumulation of misinformation and plague of cancel culture that is out there.
I’ve been following the rising tide of attempted book bans in the United States for the past few months. For the “Land of the Free,” there is a startling number of books that various individuals, organizations, and even governments feel are an insidious threat. In the last six months of 2021 alone, 155 book ban attempts were recorded. (1)
Sadly, this isn’t just a problem in the US but around the world too. Whenever information of any kind is surprised, but especially books, I often wonder, what are those trying to ban them afraid of? Humans are remarkable creatures, but our fear and ignorance are limiting. If we would only teach people to think and do so critically, and from a place of trying to understand instead of trying to elevate our own opinions, most of which are rarely based on a proper evaluation of all information, what we could accomplish as a species would be mind-blowing.
People might respond to my question with, “but what about all the nonsense, and the purposeful misdirection that occurs? What about the outright lies, false narratives, and dangerous opinions that might ensnare the weak-minded or vulnerable?” That is a risk, yes. But they will find that information if they are seeking it with or without access to these banned books.
Being able to hear someone’s opinion, course-correct your own as appropriate, and then move on with your own life, has become a long-forgotten or ignored skill. Maybe that’s where we need to start to have a brighter future. Banning books is not the answer.