Here’s the thing about the recent rise in attempts to ban books from public libraries and schools:
In all likelihood, it’s temporary and fleeting.
Every time some conservative know-nothing, pandering politician, or religious zealot attempts to shackle intellectual, personal, or artistic freedom, it ultimately fails.
Society progresses. sometimes in fits and starts, and not without the occasional backsliding, but ultimately, we move forward, leaving old notions of tradition and expectation behind in favor of greater freedom of expression and will.
One of the best examples is comics, which suffered from widespread censorship in 1954 by the US government after prudish, moral crusaders took their case to Congress. Those laws decapitated the comic book industry and put many publishers out of business almost overnight.
Yet comic books persisted.
Last year the total market for North American comic book sales on both print and digital download hit $2.075 billion, which represents a high water mark for the industry. Films and television shows based upon comic books dominate the entertainment landscape.
No one is complaining.
If those moral crusaders of the 1950’s were transported to 2022, they would be appalled to discover that comic books are alive, well, and considered acceptable, popular mainstream content.
We would laugh at those moral crusaders for their naiveté, prudishness, and old fashioned sensibilities.
I suspect that the same will hold true for the recent spate of book banning. Years from now, these books will seem utterly innocuous. We’ll scoff in disbelief at the notion that these books were banned by some communities, and their opponents will look as stupid as the lawmakers and zealots who attempted to ban comics 70 years ago.
It doesn’t mean it’s not wrong. It doesn’t mean that it’s not doing damage to the readers who should have access to these books and the authors who wrote them.
But it’s blessedly temporary. An unfortunate but hardly permanent moment in time.
Like the comic book bans of the 1950’s and the moral outrage over bands like The Rolling Stones and laws against interracial and same sex marriage, this, too, shall pass.