Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Political Action

A few days ago I wrote a post about how my pro-freedom opinions frequently make me feel like an apologist for behavior that I do not agree with. That post was prompted by an email that was circulating to try to get our county library to censor and filter the material that can be viewed from library computers. I sent the following email to the library board to voice my opinions on the subject.

Dear Gwinnett County Library Board,

In response to the attached email I wanted to let you know that I agree with the current policy on internet use at the public libraries.

My family of six uses your library system pretty much daily. I am also a Boy Scout scoutmaster over a small troop that meets at a church that is less than one mile from a library branch. I serve in a leadership position at the same church. I personally find pornography repugnant and degrading to both men and women. I have a real vested interest in the morality of our society and am working hard to teach all those in my charge the value of making correct choices.

With these credentials you may find it surprising that I support your internet use policy. The truth is I get very scared when any one group tries to decide what is moral and correct for somebody else. Book burnings and restricting information access is historically one of the first steps toward tyranny. Karl Marx said that controlling the media was an essential early step to creating a communist state.

I respect your use of internet filters that would prohibit illegal images to be displayed. I draw the line when it comes to legal websites that may simply contain material that may be objectionable to someone else. I find most images of warfare to be objectionable but I do not expect the library to restrict access to this information simply because I object to it.

On the other hand in the past year I have read many books about the evils of polygamy. I have recently read a book which details the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. I have even borrowed books that are very critical of mainstream Christianity. I am sure much of this material would be very objectionable and even pornographic to someone who was just looking over my shoulder while walking around the library.

Please continue to allow me to be in control of what I decide to view while using library resources. Our founders would be proud that you have chosen to stand up for the first amendment and refuse to censor this media.

On a religious level, I believe that our free agency is a sacred trust that was given to us by God. We honor God by choosing as he would wish, not by restricting the ability of others to choose good over evil.

Thank you,
Michael Taylor

In response I received the following invitation:

Michael,

Thank you for your comments and support.

Given our current board and their reactionary policy, they are already working with the county to change the policy to allow librarians to look over your shoulder. I suspect this policy will be changed at the November board meeting. I urge you and anyone else you know to come to the board meeting on November 12th at 6:00pm and voice your opinion. You may want to request to address the board by e-mail before hand to be sure you get a spot on the agenda. These spots are filling up fast with people that have the opposite views.

Sincerely,
Brett Taylor
GCPL Board Member

I realize that there will be many people at this meeting who will not understand my position. I hope that I will be able to convince you that I agree with the moral values you are trying to teach, but just disagree with your strategy to teach them. I just feel too strongly about this issue to remain silent. As a Mormon, if I allow censorship based on a public opinion how long will it be before anything sympathetic to LDS causes is removed from the library?

4 comments:

  1. I love you and don't think your a perve or a supporter of perves!

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  2. Canisunis3:29 PM

    I think you are kinda creepy, but that has nothing to do with your choices of literature, or your belief that each individual should have the right to choose their own literature. It does semm from how you look when you try to wink,,,,, dude,, that is just creepy.

    If you need someone to go with you to the meeting, let me know. I don't live in your county but will be happy to accompany you.

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  3. I just overheard this on the TV and thought of you "They that start by burning books will end by burning men." Heinrich Heine

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  4. Canisunis8:55 AM

    Saw you on the news presenting your views. 46 had you covered, but I cant seem to find any links to the video.

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