The ACLU and ‘Book Banning'
by Humberto Fontova
by Humberto Fontova
Say I wrote a book that claimed the life expectancy, infant-mortality and nutrition rates for Black South Africans were all immensely better during the diabolical Apartheid regime than after the glorious liberation by Nelson Mandela & Co.? Pinks have a fetish for exonerating Cuban Stalinism with the reverse of this development as it applies to Cuba — though it's a patently bogus claim as exposed and fully documented in Fidel: Hollywood's Favorite Tyrant.
If improved health-care justifies Cuban Stalinism shouldn't it justify African segregation? I don't claim it does. I simply ask.
At any rate, does any moderately sober person out there think public schools in New Orleans, Harlem, Chicago, Detroit and Watts would stock my book with that unconventional claim about South Africa in their libraries?
Yet my book would be reporting facts completely verifiable by U.N. statistics.
Well, two children's books, one titled Let's Go to Cuba another Cuban Kids that depict Castro's fiefdom as a combination Emerald City and Willi Wonka's Chocolate Factory are currently stocked in Miami-Dade public school libraries. Some American parents of Cuban heritage in Miami saw that these books were crammed with the usual academic lies about Cuba, but in BigBird-speak for 9-year-olds. So they filed a complaint with the Miami-Dade school board who voted to remove one of the books.
The ACLU claims to be scandalized and filed suit to retain the book. "Today's precedent — if allowed to stand" said the ACLU attorney, Howard Simon, "opens the door to yank virtually any book off the shelf of a school library at the whim of a single parent and a school board judgment that there is some inaccuracy or omission in a book."
A little perspective: between 1990 and 2000, the American Library Association documented more than 6,000 protests against school books in public school libraries by American parents. For every protest actually recorded, they estimate that four or five go unreported. The door the learned Mr. Simon so dreads to hear creak open was yanked open long ago. It was propped open with a sturdy door-stop by a Supreme Court ruling in 1982 where none other than William Brennan wrote that local school boards had "broad discretion in the management of school affairs," adding that if they removed a book based on it's "educational suitability" or because the books were "pervasively vulgar," such actions "would not be unconstitutional."
Granted if we endeavored to remove every asinine book from public school curriculums we're in for a task to cower Sisyphus. But hey, it's a start!
According to the American Library Association, over the past two decades, every single year sees between 400 and 600 such schoolbook protests in the U.S., much of it over material considered "racially insensitive" as when The Adventure's of Huckleberry Finn were yanked from an Illinois school. The Tales of Uncle Remus and Little Black Sambo (though about low-caste Asian Indians rather than Negroes) also bit the dust long ago.
In brief, attempted "book bannings'" identical to the one in Miami-Dade, have occurred at a rate of over one a day for past two and half decades from sea to shining sea. In most of these the ACLU and New York Times have been conspicuously mum.
But AH! Just let those insufferable right-wing Cuban-Americans try it! Then the ACLU promptly blasts its bugles, their media cronies affect grave frowns, and cries of "censorship!" and "book- banning!" flood the airwaves and headlines. "Miami-Dade School Board Bans (italics mine) Cuba Book" headlines the New York Times.
Heaven knows Castro gets enough free publicity and soft-soaping from the worldwide Media /Academia axis as it is. Some Miami-Dade taxpayers have simply balked at subsidizing any more of this malignant idiocy, as millions of taxpayers throughout the U.S. for decades have balked at subsidizing everything from Heather Has Two Mommies to Huckleberry Finn to Catcher in the Rye to Harry Potter — usually without objection from the ACLU and the New York Times — indeed often with their accolades.
How the Miami parents' objections amount to a vile and unprecedented lust to "censor!" and "ban!" while all the others amount to spreading "tolerance" and "sensitivity" and "upholding community values" might be best explained by George Orwell who coined the term "Newspeak."
In choosing its books, a public school library is in effect "banning" all others, which include all of mine by the way...... Come to think of it?.....Every single college I attended (LSU, UNO, Tulane) — my own HOME STATE Colleges — the very Colleges whose diplomas I hang in my office — "BAN" every SINGLE ONE of my books! Do you see ME getting all indignant?! You see ME getting all bent OUTTA SHAPE and wailing about the first amendment and CENSORSHIP??!!..HECK NO!...I'll have them know some of my books have been picked up by EUROPEAN publishers, translated and appear in MADRID'S RITZIEST bookstores and libraries! Spain's former FIRST LADY did the Madrid BOOK READING!! — You HEAR THAT!!!...But you SEE ME running to the ACLU moaning and bitching because some PASTY-FACED PINKO professors in some TWO-BIT, freshwater colleges in some HICK state refuse to stock MY BOOKS!!??.....HECK NO!!!!!.. Do you see ME ranting and .....???!!!"
"Calm down, honey!...please...calm down now. Here.....and in a frosted mug and everything." (My darling wife often comes to the rescue at these moments.)
Now where were we?......Okay, as all know, Mencken's reporting on the Scopes trial makes for delicious reading. Little remembered is that Mencken, the free-speech fanatic, was, legally speaking, in full agreement with the prosecution. "The Tennessee anti-evolution law, whatever its wisdom," wrote Mencken, "was at least constitutional...the yahoos of the state had a clear right to have their progeny taught whatever they chose." This was local government in action, the principle of States' Rights at work.
The ACLU doesn't like those principles at work — at least in South Florida.
"The Soviet Union has already created liberties far greater than exist elsewhere in the world," rhapsodized the ACLU's founder, Roger Baldwin, after a visit to the Bolshevik fiefdom. "Today I saw fresh, vigorous expressions of free living by workers and peasants all over the land."
But that was early in the game, you say. Nobody knew how Bolshevism would play out. It was an honest mistake. Come on, cut the guy some slack.
Actually Baldwin wrote this in 1934. He greatly admired Stalin's Russia.
Frank Bolanos the Cuban-American School board member who urges the "book-banning," according to the New York Times and ACLU, seems to appreciate the U.S. constitution better than most of his native born journalistic and legal opponents with their multifarious and glittering LLD degrees. "This is not a First Amendment issue," Bolanos wrote. "Censorship occurs when government refuses to allow people to purchase material, not when it refuses to provide that material at no charge."
Mr. Bolanos, again unlike his illustrious and mega-credentialed native-born foes, also appreciates America's founding fathers and quotes Thomas Jefferson "To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.''
Alas, by bringing up Thomas Jefferson in attempting to influence the ACLU and the teacher's unions, Mr. Bolanos erred grievously. The ACLU's founder and guiding light proved in his proud pronouncements that he much preferred Stalin. And the teachers' unions probably think Thomas Jefferson was the latest runner-up on American Idol.
July 13, 2006
Humberto Fontova [send him mail] is the author of Fidel; Hollywood's Favorite Tyrant, described as "absolutely devastating. An enlightening read you'll never forget." by David Limbaugh. Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart says, "Humberto Fontova has done a great service to all those who wish to discover the truth about the only totalitarian dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere."
Copyright © 2006 LewRockwell.com