Has book banning ever been the right move?

Seems to me that almost all of the leaders who’ve been known to ban books in the past have all been on the wrong side of history.

Certainly Republicans who want to ban books in schools are in that camp as well.

But does this extend to social media censorship?

Certainly I think there are books (and social media) that aren’t appropriate for all ages. So I would hope that librarians curate their selections with their audience in mind. Whether that is book banning or not is a matter of semantics, perhaps.


Banning by whom?

Even in the case of books, there are some books I don’t think a school library or even public library should carry. Whether a government should be able to insist that a school or public library not carry certain books? Harder call. (For most books, no. For some, maybe.)

As to Social Media, should the government decide what we may or may not read? Government better be cautious about such intervention. Should Twitter be able to say that some things cannot be posted? Tend to think there surely are some things Twitter should not allow.


The government banning people from writing/tiktokking things on social media or removing posts? Yes, it would be wrong to do so.

I agree with this. It should be up to the institution whether to carry a book, or whether to sell it to a person. Perhaps have a section that requires parental approval if you want a middle ground.

If a library wants to implement a strict 18+ section, go for it. If they want to loan out The Anarchist’s Cookbook and Mein Kampf, have at.

I can think of books that overall seem like net bad things for the public - take Bill O’Reilly’s “literature”. However, it could be studied in an English class as an example of convincing writing with subtle bias, so it’s not all bad.

The question sort of boils down to who trust:

Adults, voters, priests, children, moms, corporations, librarians, teachers, dictators, etc.

Most libraries I’ve been to have a separate children’s section. Parents know about it and watch over their children there. They don’t let them sneak into 613.96.


such as

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Anarchist cookbook

Extremely racist works, for example. Just because someone publishes it, why should a library choose to carry it.

Why? Shouldn’t the recipes fall under the 2nd Amendment? Like blades longer than 3.5 inches it seems to fall afoul of the no one makes money off it, so the constitution doesn’t apply.

I think it’s important to have those works. Lets say you’re writing a paper on racism and you need to do research. Won’t be able to do that without the books.

Or let’s say you’re racist and you just wanna be more racist. Then you can read a how-to book on it.

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Trust no one.


I can’t quite tell if your “why” is regarding the Anarchist’s Cookbook. But from what I recall, some of the recipes in it are plain wrong, and literally dangerous to follow. And the people most likely to try to follow those recipes are likely teens without the knowledge to know which parts are dangerous, or the wisdom to know not to make the attempt.

Maybe some of these arguments can be diminished by the fact that so much can be found online today. But that doesn’t mean the libraries “should” carry them. They can’t carry every book, so they have to filter somewhere.

  1. Not every library serves every population. e.g. our local K-3 school has a library, and none of it is blocked off.
  2. If you don’t let them browse 613.96, you’re essentially book banning to them.
  3. Kids go to libraries unsupervised all the time.

I could see it making sense to not have easily distributable books on “Do It Yourself Bomb Making Guide”, but as described that’s all up to the librarian, etc. The government certainly shouldn’t have the authority to ban it.

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Yeah I’m mostly talking about the government banning/burning books.
People/companies are free to pick what books they want to keep.


If it’s not protected under the First Amendment then I’d be in favor of an amendment to take that authority away from the US government.