Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Banned Books Week

This is the one week a year that we officially celebrate our freedom to read whatever we want. John Stuart Mill believed that if we were just allowed to explore all possible arguments we would come up with an enlightened answer. But Plato didn't trust that we would not be unduly swayed by the poets and rhetoricians. The battle still rages today. Reading is a civic responsibility OR reading is dangerous unless controlled for "truth." Libraries generally take the first position and are sometimes challenged by those who take the second.

Here is the Joint Statement by the American Library Association and the American Association of Publishers.

Take the Guardian's Quiz to see how much you know about book banning worldwide.

Here's a list of frequently banned books.

And visit the University Library to vote for your favorite banned book.

“If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. Were an opinion a personal possession of no value except to the owner; if to be obstructed in the enjoyment of it were simply a private injury, it would make some difference whether the injury was inflicted only on a few persons or on many. But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.” — On Liberty, John Stuart Mill

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