Cork Green Party Councillor Dan Boyle has joined those attempting to portray protests against questionable books being placed in the teenage section of libraries as part of some “far right” attack on libraries per se, and indeed books themselves.
Well, as Niamh Úi Bhriain pointed out here this week, not only are there legitimate grounds for objecting to the explicit content of books that are aimed at children, but that stance has been vindicated by the decision of the Department of Education to reverse the inclusion of one of the books, This Book is Gay, in its reading recommendations, and a similar decision by Children’s Books Ireland to remove it from its reading list.
The question to be posed of the libraries then, and of individual library staff and their professional representatives, is why they see fit to ignore the clear concerns of others regarding the suitability of the books for children under the age of 18. It also ought also be pointed out that the decision to close the library in Cork last week was taken by the staff. As far as I am aware none of the protestors attempted to physically prevent anyone from accessing the library.
Nor are the vast majority of those who have objected to the books, a concern that is obviously widely shared, responsible for every one of those who might take it upon themselves to turn up to protests. No more than the local community organisers of protests about migrant accommodation centres are responsible for every individual or small group that might attach themselves to such events.
The huge number of people who dissent from the establishment position on transgender ideology and mass immigration are no more responsible for someone who thinks that the Illuminati of Bavaria or lizard Free Masons are behind the whole thing, than the organisers of any left wing protest are responsible for the attendance by people carrying the bloody hammer and sickle flag under which tens of millions perished.
In the same way, all manner of left-wing groups are not accountable for the murder of Lyra McKee because people who support those responsible have attached themselves to several left wing events as an “anti-fascist” militia.
More to the point, the sudden concern by Dan Boyle and others regarding books and intellectual freedom reeks of hypocrisy given the stance of their own side regarding such matters.
Just last year, the Green Party representative for Longford Catherine Joseph demanded that two books, To Kill a Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men be removed from the Junior Certificate syllabus.
Unlike the books which the liberal left have chosen to defend, both the Harper Lee and John Steinbeck books are not only classics of American literature, but carry an underlying message that is quite the opposite of the racist slur cast on them by ignorant fanatics.
And lest the Greens feel that I am picking on them, a big shout out to Labour Party TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin who was also among those who wished to ban the same bukes. Indeed he was ahead of the game as he made this demand in September 2020 when the entire Irish left was in deep veneration and mourning over the unfortunate death of an American, George Floyd.
Of course, the fact that Ó Ríordáin supports book bans has not prevented him sanctimoniously declaiming in regard to the protests over the books.
It takes a peculiar type of double think to believe that wishing to allow children access to sexually explicit material in public libraries is compatible with wanting to deny school children of the same age the chance to read two books that if they have any didactic purpose, it is to promote tolerance.
Back in 2020, a Labour office person defended the call for the books to be “othered” on the basis of “the hurt they are causing.”
Well, the only hurt which those books might cause would be to the cranium of people used to reading material no more challenging than graphic novels about Ché Guerara or whatever it is Clockwork Orange lefties read these times. Books by authors like John Steinbeck were once an integral part of the reading of millions of people who considered themselves to be of the left.
On the other hand, the books which people are objecting to being made available to children are clearly unsuitable under any reasonable criteria.
No one is calling for them to be banned, merely that they not be deliberately targeted at children without the consent of their parents. This is not some extreme demand of the “far right,” but a perfectly reasonable exercise of responsibility on the part of parents and others who have the best interests of the children under their care at heart.
Not only, as pointed out, has this clearly been taken on board by the Department of Education and Children’s Books Ireland but that would not have happened had people not objected and had they not refused to be bullied by those who believe that nobody, including parents, has any business interfering with their agenda to employ state authority to push extremist ideology across every facet of society.