Curation Or Censorship?: Debunking The Left’s ‘Book Ban’ Narrative

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Gage Klipper Contributor
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For all the talk about “book banning,” one could be forgiven for thinking that government actors in the United States have prevented the sale, distribution, and maybe even the reading of certain books.

The mainstream media covers it as a nationwide trend, with particular emphasis on Florida and alleged book banning. Free speech groups issue panicked reports, questioning whether they can even quantify the “true magnitude” of books being banned. Even corporations are getting in on the action, with Barnes & Nobles releasing a banned books list and streaming platform Wondrium launching a new docu-series titled “Banned Books, Burned Books: Forbidden Literary Works.”

“It is clear that the chief agenda of the GOP is to advance a set of speech laws that criminalize discussion in schools of anything but the white heterosexual majority’s perspective. The media’s portrayal of these laws as moves in the ‘culture wars’ is an unconscionable misrepresentation of fascism,” Jason Stanley, professor of philosophy at Yale, wrote.

When Americans hear the phrase “book banning,” they likely think Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, or perhaps overly prude Puritan edicts that would no longer ruffle even a staunch modern conservative.

In such instances, the government takes an active role in preventing the distribution of a book anywhere in society. Nazi Germany for instance repealed the Weimar Constitution’s free expression clause making dissident authors and distributors subject to arrest, Pop Matters reported. This set the stage for the ideological take over of the entire German publishing industry. (RELATED: ‘Keep Your Dirty Books In The Closet’: School Removes Multiple Books Following Muslim Community Complaints)

But schools are not instructing students to burn piles of classic literature. Neither are governments banning books from being sold to or read by the general public.

A look at the Barnes & Nobles list shows a variety of books on the extensive 41 page list, but they are not in the same category as those banned by the Nazis, despite attempts to depict it as such. Curriculums can be curated for a variety of reasons, including age appropriateness, and literary, moral, and intellectual value. For example, a recent Rasmussen poll found that 77% of likely voters are concerned children are being introduced to age-inappropriate material, including sexual content. (RELATED: Dems Plan Resolution To Keep Explicit Books In Schools)

The Barnes & Nobles list, however, includes classics such as Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird.” This book was not banned but rather, it was left out of certain school libraries and reading lists, as even the American Library Association admits in its own detailed list of banned books. Reasons for the so-called ban included profanity, vulgarity, and adult and sexual themes.

Also included on the list are more modern and controversial works. The “1619 Project: A New Origin Story” is a project by Nikole Hannah-Jones that seeks to re-frame the American Founding as centered on slavery. It has been widely disputed by historians for inaccuracy. Another book, “Gender Queer: A Memoir,” features a character with “e/em/eir” pronouns navigating being “queer,” and shows cartoon images of a boy masturbating and performing oral sex on another man.

As a former teacher writing for the Heritage Foundation explained that indoctrinating the next generation of Americans into a new set of values is the only way they will accept the leftist agenda. “The education system designed to teach them how to think critically has been weaponized by the radical left to push an anti-American agenda,” Douglas Blair told the Foundation. (RELATED: Biden Bemoans Banning Of Pornographic Children’s Books)

Various groups of parents are starting to push back and are speaking out against what is being taught, with new resources springing up to help them.