Banned Books - Are We Repeating History?

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“Those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it.” – Santayana

USA Today reported an increase in banned books and, more so than in the recent past, an increase on trying to ban books.

Now, there are two sides to this issue. The first is a parent’s right to monitor what their children are reading. Parents have to fulfill their role as a moral compass for their child, and decide which books and media their child is exposed to. 

The flip side is that parents do not get the right to say what other children should or should not be exposed.

Book banning is another case of stepping down to the lowest common denominator. Not in terms of moral high ground, but the lowest common denominator of “allowed” access and freedom. Why should the people with the least tolerance determine what every child has access to?

Especially when these problems could have a simple solution. If people continue to be outraged by books, then rate books like they rate movies. Elementary schools only have G-rated books and junior high school gets up to PG and then High School gets R-rated books.

Then, beginning in Junior High school, children who want books from the PG section need to have permission from their parents. Uneasy parents can simply ask that their children not be given access to such books.

Instead of trying to repeat history, can we please learn from what has worked, like the ratings system, and make life a bit less problematic?