From No More Fake News
"...intellectual freedom is a deep-rooted tradition without which our characteristic western culture could only doubtfully exist. From that tradition many of our intellectuals are visibly turning away. They have accepted the principle that a book should be published or suppressed, praised or damned, not on its merits but according to political expediency. And others who do not actually hold this view assent to it from sheer cowardice." (George Orwell, 1953)
When those who control public discourse, in a nation, see that they are losing to upstarts, that their flimsy ideas are being supplanted by much stronger ideas from these newcomers (who are actually traditionalists), the shocked controllers turn to the more direct strategy of censorship.
In terms of substance, and even popularity, the ministers of truth are losing; so they abandon reasoned discourse altogether. They desert this fertile, competitive, and NECESSARY territory. They no longer debate. They ban.
Among their supporters are crowds of illiterates.
There are many people who, because their education was a vaporous thing, have no interest in the written or spoken word.
The reason is obvious: they can't read.
Their natural impulse is to make excuses. "Who needs books?" "People who write books are showing their privilege."
For these excuse-makers, book burning would mean NOTHING. All that matters is: what slogans should I shout?
For the illiterate, a book is a mystery. How could anyone put all the words together and write one? Somehow, the author must have a secret method of downloading the book from an elite source, a cloud, a machine, a trick in their DNA.
A book, a report, an article, a study, an essay -- millions of people in "advanced societies" don't have a clue. When censorship tightens, who cares? It's just words.
IT'S JUST WORDS.
Long ago, when I taught school, I had an experience I wish many people could share. Twenty children in a 10th-grade classroom. No student was reading up to that grade level. Each student was reading at a DIFFERENT (sub-standard) level. Time to teach reading. How could it be done? It couldn't.
Elite societal players welcome illiteracy. They love it. It's one of their cherished goals. Ignorance is good. More than that, illiterate people are easy to convince that repressive censorship isn't a problem. It's just something that "happens."
If you don't have "the right ideas," you should be censored.
IT'S JUST WORDS.
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