Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Should Some Books Be Banned?

That's the question recently asked by Lit Reactor.

From the post...

That’s the problem facing the Indian government. Criticism, however mild, of any group – religious, tribal, regional, political – is liable to set off major upheaval. The same is true in Pakistan, which also labours under the burden of a border almost guaranteed to cause trouble, because of how it divides tribal regions. 

Look at it this way and book banning becomes a lesser of two evils, a way of keeping the lid on a situation which might spiral into bloodshed. And in practice, the Indian government polices its bans lightly. The point appears to be to reassure touchy factions that their concerns are being taken seriously, and so far, this is a policy which has worked. You might say that in other, more peaceful countries, banning books which incite hatred – racial, gender-based or religious – can be justified on the same grounds. 

Consider another issue with regard to political dissent. Books can seek to obscure as well as enlighten. Is it acceptable to allow revisionists to publish their arguments? To deny the Holocaust happened; to downplay the massacres in Bosnia? 

It's one rule for all. If we want the authors we approve of to have freedom of speech, that same freedom has to apply to those we don't approve off as well.

No comments: