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Copyright (c) 2009 Ginny Maziarka. All rights reserved.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Censorship - a bunch of "Non Cense"

I read this interesting court case today about censorship called Ginzburg v. United States.  It supports what I have been saying all along about protecting children from inappropriate materials.  Someone who claims to be against censorship tried using this court case to support his viewpoint.  If one didn't do the research, he would almost be believable!  

Censorship-Free Libraries seems to be confused about the usage of this case to lend credibility to his cause.  Or is he?  

He posts this much of the case HERE:

"Censorship reflects a society's lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime. Long ago those who wrote our First Amendment charted a different course. They believed a society can be truly strong only when it is truly free. In the realm of expression they put their faith, for better or for worse, in the enlightened choice of the people, free from the interference of a policeman's intrusive thumb or a judge's heavy hand. So it is that the Constitution protects coarse expression as well as refined, and vulgarity no less than elegance. A book worthless to me may convey something of value to my neighbor. In the free society to which our Constitution has committed us, it is for each to choose for himself."
US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart
In his dissenting opinion, Ginzburg v. United States
383 US 463 (1965)

Here is the interesting thing about this post on a blog that opposes "censorship."  (I oppose censorship, too, by the way!  When it comes to protecting children from inappropriate materials, we know that even the Supreme Court has lent it's support in acknowledging it to be "legitimate and even compelling" to do so.)

Non Censor (the blog owner) fails to provide the footnotes to the quote!  Why?  Because the footnote indicates and affirms that the quote does not support the opposition of censorship! 

Read the footnote for yourself:

Footnote 1 ] Different constitutional questions would arise in a case involving an assault upon individual privacy by publication in a manner so blatant or obtrusive as to make it difficult or impossible for an unwilling individual to avoid exposure to it. Cf. e. g., Breard v. Alexandria, 341 U.S. 622 ; Public Utilities Commission of the District of Columbia v. Pollak, 343 U.S. 451 ; Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 . Still other considerations might come into play with respect to laws limited in their effect to those deemed insufficiently adult to make an informed choice. No such issues were tendered in this case.

Look at the last two sentences:  "Still other considerations might come into play with respect to laws limited in their effect to those deemed insufficiently adult to make an informed choice. No such issues were tendered in this case."

Non Censor makes the point again and again that keeping inappropriate material from children is censorship.  In this blog post he says nothing, but presents a quote.  The quote makes it appear, indirectly, that keeping inappropriate material from children is censorship and Non Censor is correct.  But he leaves out the footnote.  That footnote specifically exempts the case of "those deemed insufficiently adult to make an informed choice."  Non Censor deliberately left that part out.  If Non Censor were a real lawyer, this kind of thing might be called malpractice, and worse.

What a disgrace.  What a fraud.

Now let's turn the tables a little and take a look at the American Library Association's (ALA's) own Deborah Caldwell-Stone.

The tactics appear, well, similar if not identical.  Misleading, fraudulent, false misrepresentation.  Caldwell-Stone practiced her stratagem on the citizens, parents and taxpayers of WEST BEND, WISCONSIN.  We will not forget.

Here's a tidbit from Dan Kleinman at SafeLibraries.org discussing that issue:

"Lest anyone think it is always censorship to move or remove books in a public library, and if Caldwell-Stone's own comments aren't convincing enough in the context of moving books, consider what the former de factoALA leader said in the context of removing books: "On rare occasion, we have situations where a piece of material is not what it appears to be on the surface and the material is totally inappropriate for a school library. In that case, yes, it is appropriate to remove materials. If it doesn't fit your material selection policy, get it out of there." Get it out of there! If it doesn't fit your material selection policy, get it out of there! Censorship! The ALA believes in censorship!
So the ALA president wrote a totally misleading and propagandistic piece in an effort to fool the West Bend government into doing what the ALA wanted, not what the community wanted."

Kleinman goes on to state "You know what is really outrageous about this? The ALA continues to push its policies on local communities despite having lost on this very issue in the US Supreme Court in 2003. What once used to be a theory that might have been legitimate lost its legitimacy when the ALA lost on the issue six years ago. Yet the ALA continues to insist that anything goes.

Contrast that with the ALA and Deborah Caldwell-Stone. They say the exact opposite. They say protecting young library users from material inappropriate for minors is not legitimate and not compelling. They say it is actually censorship.

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, though, does it?  Just take a look at how Caldwell-Stone's, and Non Censor's, activities mimic the battle cry of the former (now deceased) leader of the ALA, Judith Krug, who once stated ""Parents who would tell their children not to read Playboy'don't really care about their kids growing up and learning to think and explore.'"


Mpeterson said...

Potter's view was superseded in later decisions.

SafeLibraries said...

Professor, could you please specify? Thanks.