Book bans represent latest chapter in right wing need for control

David Pakman
Liberal Opinion

David Pakman

Host of The David Pakman Show
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Banning books at schools is just one step in the right wing strategy to control curricula and ensure students learn to conform to the conservative worldview. Maus is the latest book on the right’s “do not read” list. A Tennessee school board recently voted to ban the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel about the Holocaust because of what it called objectionable language and nudity.  Similar campaigns all over the country label books “pornographic” when, really, the right wingers are concerned about depictions of Black or LGBTQ characters.

Representative Matt Krause (R-TX) has gone so far as to create a list of about 800 books he claims are objectionable. According to the Huffington Post, Governor Greg Abbott (R-TX) is capitalizing on that list with a vague request to the Texas Association of School Boards to remove such content. Many of those books are books authored by women, people of color, and LGBTQ writers.

This battle is part of the same war pitting creationism against science-based stories about the history of the universe. We’ve been down this road with conservatives many times. They take a stand on free speech until it’s inconvenient to the worldview they espouse.

And of course we know that they are merely hypocrites because they don’t want to ban the Bible. They are for free speech, but they are banning books because of violence and nudity and all these things, but not banning the Bible. There’s murder in the Bible. There’s incest in the Bible. There’s genocide, there’s sexual content. There’s extramarital affairs.

I mean, what, it’s all in the Bible. And if you describe it to right wingers, and in fact, there’s videos of this being done. If you say, listen, there’s a book available in school libraries right now. And it contains a story of murder and of a guy who killing his brother, you know, incest genocide, should we have that book? And they go, absolutely not. And they say, oh, that book is the Bible.

They say, oh no, no, no. Different rules apply.

And so I recognize that to some degree, especially with kids, banning these books is going to make them interested in the books, but the bigger problem is the total control that these people want. 

Horrifying, absolutely horrifying. And this is why when we say voting for president, very important. Senators, of course, very important. What’s happening at the state and municipality level, school, board, state, senator, state representative.

This stuff impacts the day to day for children, high school students, college students, and more. And so we can’t forget to remain active at the local level.

There’s a new right wing movement in the United States which is just like an offshoot. It’s a branching movement off of the movement focused on making what students around the country learn conform to the right wing worldview and ideology through the control over textbooks and curriculum.  

One battle within this war was whether creationism would be taught alongside, science-based stories about the history of the universe. That’s the, that’s the war that we’re talking about. 

A new battle that conservatives are now waging is that of trying to ban books from school libraries. And, this is an area of significant projection from the right, the right in the United States has taken over the last many years to pointing to the left and saying, you want to censor, you want to suppress, you want to stop the dissemination and discussion and debate around ideas. When in reality, it is they who overwhelmingly want to do that.

And unfortunately, this is a common thing with the right where they have their principles one of which is free speech until it’s no longer convenient to the worldview that they want to espouse. 

Social media regulation is a really good example. When we saw at the start of the pandemic, the lion’s share of COVID disinformation came from the right on Twitter, Twitter had to start banning a lot of accounts, and all of a sudden, instead of being against regulating businesses and tellingTwitter what to do, they say, we must tell Twitter what to do. Twitter’s free speech to do what they want as long as it’s not illegal on their platform goes out the window. 

That’s an example of where their principle is in conflict with their actions when it’s no longer convenient. 

And suddenly they wanna start banning books. They claim that the left wants to ban books that are inconvenient to the left, but who has been saying, for example, that the anti-vaccine anti Fauci book by Bobby Kennedy Jr. should be banned? No, what I say is it’s a dumb waste of money.  

Don’t waste your money on that stupid book. Read actual books written by scientists and doctors and people who understand vaccines rather than a book by Bobby Kennedy, Jr. 

We want to educate people so they don’t fall for buying these books in the first place. 

Well, right wingers have a different perspective. Even though they claim to be against censorship, they are now putting together lists of books that should be banned. And it’s all being done to protect children. They say.  

There’s a Tennessee school board that voted to ban the book Maus, which is a Pulitzer winning book that it’s sort of the, of the Holocaust in cartoon form. And they said it’s objectionable language in there, nudity, et cetera. There’s similar campaigns all over the country. 

Oftentimes the books that they want to ban are called pornographic because of their depictions of black characters, LGBTQ characters, et cetera.

The Huffington post reported that in Texas Republican governor Greg Abbot is capitalizing on this movement to ban pornographic and obscene books all based on a list of about 800 books circulated by the Republican representative, Matt Krause. And a lot of those books are books written by women, written by people of color, written by LGBTQ writers, et cetera. 

And of course we know that they are merely hypocrites because they don’t want to ban the Bible. They are for free speech, but they are banning books because of violence and nudity and all these things, but not banning the Bible. There’s murder in the Bible. There’s incest in the Bible. There’s genocide, there’s sexual content. There’s extramarital affairs.

I mean, what, it’s all in the Bible. And if you describe it to right wingers, and in fact, there’s videos of this being done. If you say, listen, there’s a book available in school libraries right now. And it contains a story of murder and of a guy who killing his brother, you know, incest genocide, should we have that book? And they go, absolutely not. And they say, oh, that book is the Bible.

They say, oh no, no, no. Different rules apply. So a few different stories here. 

Number one, the stated principle of a free speech that they espouse means nothing to them when the results or the outcome are inconvenient.

Number two, a really good way to get kids interested in stuff is to tell ’em that it’s bad for them and that they shouldn’t do it. And so I recognize that to some degree, especially with kids, banning these books is going to make them interested in the books, but the bigger problem is the total control that these people want. 

And a couple weeks ago I sent correspondents to a Trump rally in Texas and our correspondents talked to people and they said, is Joe Biden a communist? And they all said, yes, yes, yes. And then they asked, well, what policies make him a communist? They don’t know. 

They don’t have any. And they asked, is critical race theory bad or good. And they would all say it’s bad. And then our correspondent would say what is critical race theory? And they’d say, I don’t actually know, something about LGBTQ, one woman said.

Those are the same people that want to be determining what your kids will learn in school. The same people that we talk to at the rallies are the people that are showing up at the school board meetings, demanding books be banned and saying, we know what children should be taught.

Horrifying, absolutely horrifying. And this is why when we say voting for president, very important. Senators, of course, very important. What’s happening at the state and municipality level, school, board, state, senator, state representative.

This stuff impacts the day to day for children, high school students, college students, and more. And so we can’t forget to remain active at the local level.


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