Pluralistic: 20 Sep 2022 Book-banning wingnuts are a tiny, vocal minority

Originally published at: Pluralistic: 20 Sep 2022 Book-banning wingnuts are a tiny, vocal minority – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow


Today's links



The public burning of non-German writings and books on the opera square Unter den Linden in Berlin, by students of the Berlin universities.

Book-banning wingnuts are a tiny, vocal minority (permalink)

"The Moral Majority" is a stupendous marketing gimmick: it allowed a small minority of vicious, paranoid, hateful creeps to brand themselves as a "silent majority" who were all around us, afraid to speak their minds.

The impact of this wasn't merely in convincing politicians and the press that the views of these unhinged, fringe conspiratorialists should be taken seriously – just as important is the zap it put on the heads of their enemies, the people who wanted to love whom they loved, take care of one another, and let folks be themselves.

For these people, the Moral Majority created the impression that they themselves were the minority. These people were convinced that their broadly shared, commonsense values – entiirely compatible with the Christian gospels, as it happens – made them outliers.

This is such a useful move for the far right that they've pulled it over and over again. Take the climate emergency: the looming peril it presents to all of us is so manifest that the vast majority of Americans support taking immediate, decisive action to address it. However, Americans think they're all alone in this, underestimating popular support for climate action by 50%:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-32412-y

Or take the whole Sanders 2020 platform: Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage, student debt cancellation, an end to foreign military adventures, funding for rail and infrastructure, a climate transition, and taxes on the super-rich – wildly popular among the electorate, but somehow credibly pooh-poohed as unrealistic because "no one will vote for it."

The latest mutant strain of right wing culture-war swamp fever is the supposed crisis in library books, spawning a million viral videos of swivel-eyed, spittle-flecked "Christians" demanding that school libraries and public libraries divest themselves of books that mention gender, sexuality and race, in the name of preventing "groomers."

Ironically, this latest blood libel's most prominent public figures are a collection of kid-fiddlers and human traffickers from Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbot (who trafficked a baby!), to the pardon-thirsty ephebophile Matt Gaetz. As ever, it takes one to know one:

https://doctorow.medium.com/takes-one-to-know-one-104d7d749408

The book-burning crowd sure do know how to put on a spectacle, but it's mere puffery. Americans may be weird, but they don't want to ban books. They really don't! A new survey from the Everylibrary Institute confirms it:

https://www.everylibraryinstitute.org/bookbanpoll

The nonpartisan pollsters at Embold Research asked 1,123 registered voters from August 31st-September 3rd how they felt about book banning, and those people gave a resounding no. For starters, Americans love libraries. Libraries have a higher approval rating than any governor, than Donald Trump, than Joe Biden, than the GOP and than the Democratic Party. Don't mess with libraries.

Majorities (D-95%, I-80%, R-55%) oppose book banning and will consider politicians' policies on book bans at election time.

Only 8% of voters think "there are many books that are inappropriate and should be banned" (this isn't evenly distributed – only 31% of Republicans oppose book banning under any circumstances).

Only 18% of voters want books banned on the basis of race and "CRT." More than 90% of voters oppose the list of classic novels that the right has proposed banning from classrooms and children's collections at libraries.

Only 1/3 of voters support bans on books about sexuality. 75% of voters will consider book banning in the coming midterm elections. The majority of voters are "concerned" about book-ban bills.

You are not in the minority. You are the majority. Those book-banning freaks at the school-board meeting? They are freaks – they are on the fringe, out-of-step with American values and the American electorate. Don't let them convince you otherwise.


Hey look at this (permalink)



This day in history (permalink)

#20yrsago Scientology silences critics at Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine https://web.archive.org/web/20121108101856/http://groups.google.com/group/alt.religion.scientology/msg/c2a9c4952ae57848

#20yrsago New bill will make analog VCRs and TVs illegal in 2006 https://digitalconsumer.org/press-release-2002-09-19.html

#20yrsago Groucho to Warner Bros: Get Bent https://web.archive.org/web/20020604031835/http://www.princeton.edu/~flannery/quotations/casablanca.html

#15yrsago My Guardian column on “the information economy” https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2007/sep/18/informationeconomy

#15yrsago DRM violates Canadian privacy law https://cippic.ca/sites/default/files/CIPPIC_Report_DRM_and_Privacy.pdf

#15yrsago Private doc does “e-visits” by email or webcam https://web.archive.org/web/20070925030643/http://www.jayparkinsonmd.com/

#15yrsago Soviet top-level domain refuses to die https://web.archive.org/web/20070101000000*/http://www.newscientist.com/blog/technology/2007/09/does-top-level-domain-make-nation.html

#15yrsago London’s panopticon of CCTVs aren’t solving crimes https://forum.pafoa.org/showthread.php?t=9728

#10yrsago Fresco “restorer” wants a royalty from the church https://www.techdirt.com/2012/09/19/old-lady-ruins-fresco-claims-copyright-demands-money/

#5yrsago America’s execs increasingly believe health insurance industry is worse than useless https://truthout.org/articles/even-business-leaders-are-realizing-health-insurance-companies-serve-no-purpose/

#5yrsago Trump’s cutback-crazed health secretary loves billing private jets to the US taxpayer https://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/19/tom-price-chartered-planes-flights-242908

#5yrsago Quiz: Breitbart headline, or KKK newspaper headline from the 1920s? https://www.slate.com/blogs/the_vault/2017/09/14/quiz_tests_whether_headlines_came_from_breitbart_or_1920s_kkk_newspapers.html

#5yrsago 20% of Manchester police systems run Windows XP https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-41306321">



Colophon (permalink)

Today's top sources: John Chrastka (https://twitter.com/MrChrastka).

Currently writing:

  • The Bezzle, a Martin Hench noir thriller novel about the prison-tech industry. Yesterday's progress: 517 words (40974 words total)
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  • Picks and Shovels, a Martin Hench noir thriller about the heroic era of the PC. (92849 words total) – ON PAUSE

  • A Little Brother short story about DIY insulin PLANNING

  • Vigilant, Little Brother short story about remote invigilation. FIRST DRAFT COMPLETE, WAITING FOR EXPERT REVIEW

  • Moral Hazard, a short story for MIT Tech Review's 12 Tomorrows. FIRST DRAFT COMPLETE, ACCEPTED FOR PUBLICATION

  • Spill, a Little Brother short story about pipeline protests. FINAL DRAFT COMPLETE

  • A post-GND utopian novel, "The Lost Cause." FINISHED

  • A cyberpunk noir thriller novel, "Red Team Blues." FINISHED

Currently reading: Analogia by George Dyson.

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  • Red Team Blues: "A grabby, compulsive thriller that will leave you knowing more about how the world works than you did before." Tor Books, April 2023


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