Bibliophilia; Or, Your Tax Dollars At Work

November 20, 2007 § 13 Comments

The best things in life are free, and columnist Kevin Jones explains how public libraries are becoming the new taxpayer funded peep shows.

Money quote:

While acknowledging that library rules forbid overt sexual conduct from patrons, the administrator insisted sexual arousal does not violate regulations: “We offer lots of materials that patrons might use to arouse themselves; they range from romance novels to photographic works,” she writes. Even in context, this reads more like a recommendation than anything else.

It all makes sense if you think about it. We aren’t permitted to make moral judgements about the substance of things in the advanced liberal order, especially not when it comes to public services like libraries. As Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy said in Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” So as far as the government in the advanced liberal order is concerned content is arbitrary, and public libraries have to cater to the needs of all content consumers equally. Anything else would be unfair, biasing one concept of “the mystery of human life” over another in the use of public funds, and we can’t have that.

If that means you have to watch where you step and send your teenage daughter to the library with a bodyguard, well, that’s just the price of progress.

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§ 13 Responses to Bibliophilia; Or, Your Tax Dollars At Work

  • Anonymous says:

    Dear Zippy,While pornography is deeply disturbing and unsettling, there are other things as bad and perhaps worse. Running by the gamut of screens at my local library with son in tow, I saw the usual e-mailing, social networking, and gaming. In addition, I saw sites that cater to bomb-making and mayhem, and sites that extol violence toward individuals of different creeds (this one a anti-muslim site). And people think I’m crazy when I go and sit in the unair-conditioned precincts of the dance studio for three hours as Sam goes through his lesson. I can’t imagine what parent in his or her right mind with everything going on today could leave their child alone, even in a class. We have certainly become a society of people in dementia–from our libraries to our malls–sense and sensibility are perishing in the streets and we all too blithely step over the corpses and natter on about the most recent ball game or what was on the tube last night.Oh, and I don’t believe the first amendment ever intended unlimited “free expression.” It’s chief purpose was to guarantee an uninterfered with right to disagree with the government–hence the strong negative reaction to the Alien and Sedition Laws of John Adams’s Presidency. We would do well to encourage everyone to inhibit their expression somewhat more.shalom,Steven

  • Anonymous says:

    I don’t see the reason for too much concern.The Catholic Church already encourages children to learn about and observe adultery when they teach that it is perfectly acceptable to force the children of a valid marriage to accept and approve of either parent sleeping with and having children with an adulerous spouse. For the good of the children of adulterers, enslavement of innocent spouses is actively encouraged and supported. The destruction of the parental relationship is actively encouraged.This is the established teaching and practice of the entire Catholic Church, officially. Confession allows this and the reception of communion. I know you will disagree and you are simply wrong. Until there is formal, written, enforced excommunication for unjust divorce, this reality will continue and people like me will leave the Catholic Church. Until people like you cease donating money to the Church and instead put it in escrow until this changes, you are actively encouraging adultery. You and all Catholics like you are our MORTAL ENEMIES and ENEMIES OF JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF.I love you Zippy because you think with great discipline and try to live by it, so please do not be hurt by this, but we are few who speak up and say what we are living. You are many and money talks, brother. Money talks.My words are not empty, nor theoretical. They come from my personal experience with many priests and bishops.Bai McFarlane wrote a letter to Archbishop Burke, among others, asking for answers to problems like I face and he has not even given her the courtesy of a reply. Nor has any other she wrote to.I had some respect for the Archbishop. But since he has not responded in any discernable manner, I no longer do. He is a blow hard, loser, just like the rest and his article about the Eucharist and the unworthy is just BS.He should openly be bad-mothing the Vatican for its failure to address the injustices of the annulment system and the consequences of its failed pastoral methods regarding all issues involving marriage and respect for it!!With his intellect he spits on the grave of the great Saint Thomas More and the courageous Bishop John Fisher. He does nothing as we are martyred, slowly. These men would not be silent. Karl

  • zippy says:

    Steven: good comments. Maybe one way to to think about it is that porn has more than one subject matter.Welcome back, Karl. It may seem odd given the content of your comments, but I’m glad to hear from you, and that isn’t just because of my general affection for those who say what they really think.The relationship between money/property and the Church is an interesting subject, and I probably haven’t thought about it as much as I should. For what it is worth, I think cracks are beginning to form around the edges of the McAnnullment charade. I fear though that any reforms may come too late to help my friend and brother Karl, and many others besides.

  • Kyle R. Cupp says:

    At the heart of liberty is the right to be a dictionary. That’s so much more profound than saying that the heart of liberty is the power to discern and to choose the good, or the right to think and interpret accurately, or the right to proclaim one’s understanding of the truth. Seriously, what was Justice Kennedy’s basis for definition? Did he have anything other than arbitrary whim in mind? If self-defining is our mode of being in the world, it’s no wonder that community is such a difficult concept for us, for community requires that we be defined by something outside ourselves and that we be open to that and united by it. Without genuine community, we can’t have communal morality, and so we are blessed with communal perversions.

  • Tony M says:

    The library code is even worse than you present here, Zippy. My sister-in-law has worked for (or, to put it more properly, against) her local library for 10 years. This is what they do (meaning virtually all libraries). The American library association sets out certain standards which all libraries feel they have to abide by. One of them is, of course, that they cannot prohibit pornography just because some clients find it offensive. Secondly, they say that they cannot be responsible for refusing to allow minors to access such materials – that is a parental function, not the library’s. The library is not a nanny, you know. If you don’t want your kid getting pornography, perform your role as parent! Last (but oh not least), they cannot divulge one client’s record to another client – that would violate confidentiality! That would mean the first client loses privacy (and, thereby, autonomy). So, of course, a parent cannot check up on a teenager and find out what he/she obtained from the library. How are the parents supposed to exercise oversight???This is one MORE wedge the extremist-liberal establishment is trying to shove between proper family relationships. If they have their way, a child becomes <> directly <> the ward of the state, subject to state whim, without any interfering parental “rights” to make decisions on behalf of the child. Gone, in their minds, is the notion that the child’s rights are a moral and legal extension of the parents’ rights until they reach their majority.

  • Rodak says:

    “Gone, in their minds, is the notion that the child’s rights are a moral and legal extension of the parents’ rights until they reach their majority.”Yes, few are the outcries from the conservative camp when the state wants to try a 13-year-old as an adult after the commission of a major felony.

  • Tony M says:

    Rodak, yeah, you are right. I have never understood that at all, even though I am more often than not on the conservative side of things. The whole point of “trying” kid as a juvenile as precisely that they are not morally and intellectually the same as adults. The degree of nastiness or maliciousness of the crime does not do a thing to alter that. If they were to try a 17-year old as an adult, on the grounds that THIS one really is morally and intellectually adult-like, the argument might be part-way sensible, but that does not seem to be the argument they make.

  • Rodak says:

    Tony M–The sad thing is that a 13 year old who murders or rapes is manifestly so spiritually damaged that the only remedy for what ails him is love; the one thing he is least likely to receive.

  • zippy says:

    I agree that it makes no sense to distinguish between juveniles and adults by the heinousness of the crime — what a strange nonsequiter! But I do think there is a problem with the way the law treats juviniles as not responsible, and a juvenile who rapes and murders should not, for his own sake as much as the sake of others, be treated as not responsible.I know a man who when he was under eighteen signed up for a bunch of record clubs and amassed a huge library of CD’s for a penny each (or whatever). When they tried to force him to fulfill his contractual obligation by buying a bunch of them at regular price he pointed out that the law of contracts is a one-way street when it comes to minors: a minor can sue to enforce a contract against an adult, but not vice versa. The record clubs walked away.So the legal nonsense goes both ways in our system: that is, it harms minors by <>failing<> to hold them responsible at least as much as by doing so.

  • Rodak says:

    Zippy–My feeling is that sociopaths are made, not born. Should it be proved by the human genome project, however, that they are born that way, and that their pathology is predictable by prenatal testing, what then? Straight from the cradle to the cage?

  • zippy says:

    <>My feeling is that sociopaths are made, not born.<>My feeling is that that distinction is mostly irrelevant when it comes to the prudent and just application of the blunt instruments of public authority.

  • Rodak says:

    Zippy “the Hammer” strikes again!

  • Mattheous says:

    I just wanted to point out that bibliophilia is the <>love of books<>. It doesn’t have anything to do with arousal.

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