May 31, 2023

The Ugly Truth Behind the ‘Book Banning’ Dog Whistle

The radical Left knows it truly wins when parental rights are completely taken away.

Controlling the shaping of our children is of paramount importance to radical leftists. They aren’t hiding the ball either.

Take, for example, ex-Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe articulating this campaign-fatal phrase: “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” Or First Lady Jill Biden: “All books should be in the library. All books. This is America. We don’t ban books.” Or Chelsea Clinton: “Over 50 percent of the attempted book bans last year involved books with LGBTQ+ characters & themes. Books are a vital way that children, adolescents and adults learn about themselves and our world.”

In other words, parents should have no say in what books their children are reading. If parents send their children to public school, they have lost all rights in directing their education. They have capitulated that right to the state and the discretion of government-employed teachers.

Not all public school teachers are going to put inappropriate or controversial books in the hands of young children. However, there are a growing number of them who are more than willing to do just that. Teachers have assigned in-class reading books that range from encouraging disrespectful behavior toward parents to rudeness toward others to discussing body image to sexuality to abandoning the morality that had been carefully cultivated by parents.

In April 2022, the School Library Journal (SLJ) and National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) created a summer reading list for middle schoolers and high schoolers. They replaced 10 classics with 10 modern books of varying repute that were very leftist in messaging, many dealing with CRT and some dealing with LGBTQ+ themes. Why would they replace Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë with The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas? It’s simple: They want those ideas to influence the culture. The Left isn’t banning books; it’s replacing good books with woke mind candy.

But this is tame compared to other deviant and demented literature being foisted on children.

Parents of all stripes have been calling for book bans on inappropriate material. In The Spectator, Amber Athey discusses in graphic detail the main books in question — Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison and Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe. As Athey articulates, “The left’s spin on ‘book bans’ … deliberately oversimplifies the issue — and leaves out the fact that the most challenged books contain sexually explicit content that is obviously unsuitable for children” (emphasis added).

These books talk about sex acts.

Because the radical Left has its hooks in the public school institution, parents are left with no other recourse besides direct attacks. They are suing schools for promoting, reading, or making available in the school libraries books that are inappropriate. Parents are going to school board meetings and raising a ruckus, demonstrating exactly why they are against the material their children are being forced to imbibe.

Athey also points out that in spite of the attempts to downplay or belittle parents’ complaints, “The passages contained in those books are so obviously inappropriate for minors, particularly without parental consent, that even leftists who otherwise oppose the ‘book bans’ have balked when confronted with them.”

Chelsea Clinton was right when she said, “Books are a vital way that children, adolescents and adults learn about themselves and our world.” But if the only choices offered pervert the growing minds and hearts of our kids, then the books — and the ideas they present — are not vital; they’re fatal.

Yet the Left has the power and is using it accordingly. It even has its own woke virtue-signaling market. There is a section on the Etsy website that features a graphic tee with a shelf of books with varying titles and the phrase, “I’m with the banned.” All the titles are great works of literature that were banned at various times. Then, stuck in the middle, is Lawn Boy. This shirt design is at least honest enough to include a title that is currently at issue. The other versions are not.

The Left and those who are carrying the “conservatives are the book banners” narrative are hoping most people are ignorant enough to overlook the discrepancy. It’s a manipulative and clever marketing strategy and one that the radical leftists are employing on the larger political scale. Conservatives, concerned parents, and those who oppose the radical ideological agenda that the Left is pushing are painted as puritanical and ignorant.

This battle of the books is a metaphor for good vs. bad ideas and who has the power in society. If the Left can reduce the question of who has authority over children and their education to demeaning parents over books, then it has already won. If parents keep their eyes on the larger, more sustainable solutions for their children — such as school choice, homeschooling, and steadily and practically declaring and demonstrating that they are the authority over their children — then the Left loses.

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