Emmy Griffin / September 16, 2022

Book Burners Against Smut

“This is America. We don’t ban books,” says Jill Biden. Except…

First Lady Jill Biden was asked in an interview on Tuesday where she thought the line should be drawn on banning books. “All books should be in the library,” she replied. “All books. This is America. We don’t ban books.” She did not say it hatefully, but she may have said it thoughtlessly. After all, this is a major talking point for her party.

Her statement is patently incorrect. There have always been banned books, even if by simple virtue of exclusion. Other books like Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird are specifically banned because they use the N-word. The Bible is banned because of “separation of church and state” — which isn’t in the Constitution; that phrase is in a letter written by Thomas Jefferson and it does not mean what leftists think it means. Many books are banned or at least not available in the children’s section of the library because they contain inappropriate material such as obscenity or sexually explicit content. Frankly, Democrat activists are the ones more prone to banning books than are conservatives. Remember when they canceled Dr. Seuss not too long ago?

Anyway, this whole discussion is a major ongoing battle in the culture wars. And with the advent of “Banned Books Week” (which is September 18-24), it’s worth discussing why certain books are banned. But to say, as Jill Biden did, that “we don’t ban books” is really a straw man argument meant to provoke conservatives into a response. We suppose it’s self-evident that it worked.

The purpose of banning books or keeping them in age-appropriate parts of the library is an essential part of education. It’s also a statement of educational, cultural, and academic priorities. What Biden is advocating for is the “freedom” to have all books in the library available to children. The central push of the “anti-book ban” argument is to give children access to books that push the gender identity and critical race theory agendas. And when parents complain or fight back at school board meetings, the Department of Justice labels them “domestic terrorists.”

The total allowance of any book in the public or school library is ultimately pretty evil and illegal. Some books, like Gender Queer, have explicit sexual material in them that alone break obscenity laws. Yes, we still have obscenity laws in this country, though they are not enforced as they ought to be. Most importantly, parents have every right to influence the standards in their child’s education. If public schools don’t meet those standards, it should be the parents’ right to pull their child out of that school and put them into one that meets their standards and their child’s needs. But school choice — though part and parcel of this same argument — is a subject for another time.

At the end of the day, who is Jill Biden to actually make this claim?

After perusing her career in education, astonishingly, she majored in English and specialized in reading intervention. Her students were mainly high school and college students and not the target audience of these horrid books (elementary and middle school).

Who is she to make such ludicrous statements that we should listen to her? Did we elect her? No. And as for Jill Biden’s much-ballyhooed doctoral degree, National Review’s Kyle Smith accurately points out, “People who are actually smart understand that being in possession of a credential is no proof of intelligence.”

Even so, one would think that with a concentration like that, she would be more discerning or tempered in her statements. As an English major, she of all people should be familiar with the distinction between books of quality and books of smut. As a teacher, she should have the instincts to tell the difference between books that are going to enhance a child’s education and those that are going to derail it. As a Doctor of Education, she also should be aware of the history of why certain books should be banned. This is not a sincere proclamation, unless she’s an idiot — and unfortunately that may also be the case. Hers is a thinly veiled attempt to use the credential of her “academic achievements” as a baton to convince the very public she assumes is ignorant.

Most parents aren’t stupid, nor are they okay with the level of degradation, perversion, or indoctrination that these books are expressing. But by all means, “Dr.” Jill, keep pushing that narrative. Terry McAuliffe learned that lesson the hard way. Perhaps you will too.

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