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I’ve never cared for the phrase the wrong side of history, perhaps because it is so often invoked by progressives to justify the grinding away of traditions and values of which I approve and that I think we will miss. When invoked as a defense of as-yet unrealized ambitions, it’s presumptuous: who really knows, after all, how history will judge the latest transformative social experiment?
Speculating about future history’s take on our times is always a high-risk endeavor. Just ask Martin Luther King Jr. or Theodor Geisel, if you doubt that. Or Andrew Cuomo, for that matter.
But the regular kind of history, the kind that actually looks back and learns from the past, has something to tell us. And to the extent that everyone who makes any sense at all agrees that slavery is bad, that fascism is bad, and that totalitarianism is bad, we have accumulated enough history to recognize when those bad old things are coming around again.
First, they came for Dr. Seuss, but I wasn’t the most popular children’s author in history whose whimsical illustrated works have charmed and delighted hundreds of millions of children for most of the last century, introducing them to language and rhyming and the joys of reading, so I said nothing.
To hell with that.
Book burning, literally or figuratively, is something fascists do. And that’s what Amazon is doing, Facebook is doing, Twitter is doing, and every other we-can’t-leave-you-free-to-hear-ideas-we-think-are-bad-for-you tech giant is doing when it silences someone it doesn’t like.
Don’t burn books.Published in