Wednesday, November 30, 2005

All in All, It's Just Another Brick in the Wall
The Rude Pundit wrote yesterday about a parents' group in Overland Park, Kansas, that maintains a website listing all the "objectionable" parts from books they want removed from their school district's library. While the group claims to be protecting some set of agreed-upon community values, the Rude One believes that their true purpose is thought control--and that their book-banning efforts are only a part of the drive to achieve it:
[Y]ou connect the fuckin' dots, between the parents of Overland Park, Kansas, the federal government spying on us, even the latest "let-me-see-your-I.D." movement in Miami, and you realize that those kids don't stand a fuckin' chance. 'Cause all they're gonna learn is that power can strip away rights indiscriminately, all under a mad rubric of "protection," from terrorists, from impure thoughts, from each other. And they're gonna learn it's just easier to give in than to fight it.
But the Rude One is a bit behind the curve on this issue. Many students have already learned that a world is a place in which constituted authority (however it chooses to constitute itself, from a group of "concerned parents" to an administration in Washington) can place limits on what people are permitted to think, and that those limits are necessary to the continued functioning of society, and so it's prudent to go along. Nearly a year ago, I wrote about a poll that showed one-third of high school students believe the First Amendment "goes too far," and that half think newspapers shouldn't publish stories without government approval. This doesn't represent some kind of philosophical turning away from settled ideals Americans used to hold dear, like the 60s kids turned from 50s ideals. It's the intended outcome of a propaganda campaign--perhaps not one orchestrated from a central location like the Kremlin was supposed to be orchestrating worldwide Communism, but one with many facets, all leading to the same desired outcome:
Think about the world your average teen has grown up in over these past several years. They've been repeatedly told by parents, teachers, political leaders, and other authority figures how much danger they're in--from strangers, drugs, sex, and, for the last three years, terrorist evildoers under the bed. Some authority figures are fond of suggesting that bad thoughts--political, sexual, cultural--represent the worst dangers of all. Why shouldn't kids who've been brought up on such talk think that the people charged with protecting them from danger should have the right to do so by any means necessary, even if it's by censoring opinions and thoughts that used to be OK? After all, this is an era like no other, right?
You Can Talk Plainer Than That: Headline on The Capital Times, our local liberal afternoon newspaper today, regarding Bush's Iraq speech: "'Time, Patience'". They musta thought "Yada yada yada" was a little too strong.

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