Quick, belated thought on book-burning: - Packbat's Journal
Quick, belated thought on book-burning:|
What is wrong with book-burning is not that a book has been set on fire - it is that the book is no longer available to be read.
Consider a few cases:
1. A government deems a particular book to be subversive literature and orders every copy burnt. Agents of the government seize all copies found in libraries, bookstores, or private residences and commits them to the fire. This is wrong.
2. An ideologue arranges to purchase every copy of a rare book and burns them. This is wrong.
3. An ideologue arranges to purchase several copies of a commonly-available book and burns them. This is not wrong.
Apologies to everyone who got sick of the whole debacle over two weeks ago.
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Tags: politics, read time: 10 seconds, thoughts
It's not wrong from a censorship standpoint, but when it's directed at what is still a minority group in this country and ostensibly aimed at the very few members of their group who actually pose a threat... it qualifies as a nasty act towards a member of another religion if not an out-and-out hate crime. If I go around saying that Jews are horrible people who will burn in Hell, technically I'm not wrong... I'm allowed freedom of speech... but that doesn't make it ethically or morally RIGHT, either.
Let me clarify: what I wanted to say here is that the means of communicating the message
was not reprehensible in and of itself. A retort against this response
Depends what you mean by wrong.
Personally, I would say 3 should be allowed, but depending on the nature of the text in question and the message it sent it could be morally wrong.
Fahrenheit 451 levels of book burning are definitely wrong in ever sense of the word though.
There are innumerable means that a morally wrong message may be sent. What I wanted to address was the moral content of the mode of communication.
I think it is wrong because it supports #1 and #2, if only by implication. For example, people marching down the street of Skokie, IL, is no big deal. However, in the 1980s, when the Neo-Nazi's wanted to do it, it was a big deal (because it had an unusually high population of concentration camp survivors).
Now, obviously, just because it is "wrong" does not mean it should be prohibited (while #1 and #2 are both wrong and should be prohibited).
Hate crimes are problematic. I don't think we disagree.
Yeah, but I wouldn't call that a hate-crime. It was just marching. People should be able to march in support of even despicable points of view. But because of that location and the context, that particular march was unusually unacceptable (while it might have been okay, for example, in Jacksonville or Washington D.C., etc.). Similarly, a protest against Muslims, while it supports a despicable point of view, gains added heinousness when it also supports totalitarian actions. To me that crosses some amorphous line from 'permissible social protest from a minority group with offensive ideas' to 'deeply wrong protest.' Which, of course, doesn't mean I would want the government to prevent anyone from doing it, but rather that I think all fair-minded people should vociferously protest/boycott/raise holy hell as compared to passively ignore.
I can see what you're talking about, although I don't feel as if it is qualitatively worse this way. I don't know where I draw that particular line - probably nearer the level of campaigning for legislation.