Banning books stifles curiosity and ultimately puts society at risk

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of books have been challenged, banned or have been the subject of proposals to be removed from schools, curricula and libraries across the country. They have been deemed “controversial” for various reasons. Some say they contain “objectionable language”, are “too sexually explicit”, or are falsely accused of being linked to critical race theory. In some cases, the problem with these books is that their content may make a young reader, or more likely their parents, uncomfortable. There are a host of arguments advanced against the books – some are simply prudish, but several are clearly racist or homophobic or transphobic, and most are anti-intellectual: the same type that brings us climate deniers and anti- vaccines. Simply put, banning books is bad. It deprives young and old of exposure to ideas, concepts and worldviews that are not their own. It stifles curiosity. It perpetuates stereotypes. And when you dampen curiosity, you weaken our ability to think critically – to know when you’re being fooled. Banning books will make us a stupid society, vulnerable to misinformation and manipulation. We are less informed when our choices about the range of information we consume are arbitrarily limited. Sometimes it feels like there’s too much to fight for and it’s hard to win. But don’t let this one slip away. YOU can actually make a difference in this one, we all can.

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