Over the past two years, we have seen an increased desire to radicalize children through the education system. In recent months, parents have woken up to the indoctrination that is targeting their children. They have attended school board meetings to protest and call for a ban on books that contain critical race theory, LGBTQ themes, and overtly sexual material. Despite parents’ efforts to protect their children, groups like Parents Defending Education and Moms for Liberty have been labeled as hate groups.
Nicole Tucker-Smith, in an opinion piece for the Daily Caller, argues that the book ban sweeping the nation is not only wrong but disingenuous.
“The attack on books, primarily those offering non-white, non-straight perspectives, is an affront to free speech and free expression, two principles that conservative America has confusingly claimed as their own.”
This sentiment is not held exclusively by Tucker-Smith but is shared widely among progressive communities. They express outrage at the seeming hypocritical nature of conservatives, who call for a banning of books, and yet advocate for freedom of speech. They argue that it is an erosion of our freedoms and equate it to the dangerous precedent set by Mao, Lenin, and other communist agendas. Because the use of the term “ban” is both inflammatory in nature and deliberate, this issue can only be properly addressed through the definition of terms. Specifically, the use of three terms: ban, location, and education.
Before continuing, it is important to note that the First Amendment’s freedom of speech and expression language is not being misused. None of the arguments made by parents, legislators, or officials advocate for the eradication of these books. They only question their intended use and location. It is not the desire of parents to silence the authors’ voices, it is instead their goal and duty to protect the hearts and minds of their children.
It is important to note the intentional use of the word “ban.” It is not necessarily the wrong term, but the Left has used it as a comparison to events like the Nazi’s book burning saying that this is “restricting education.” “Ban” for their purpose, has evoked emotions of fear, outrage, and concern. In standard fashion, the Left has hijacked the term and weaponized it to paint straw-man images of what is currently taking place, in order to, point a finger and cry wolf. It is hyperbolic in nature, causing many conservative citizens to distrust their own motives in calling for the removal of certain titles.
The accurate terminology to depict what is taking place across the nation is “filtering.” Parents are appalled by the audacity of the education system, which not only allows an influx of books containing sexually explicit content and deliberate social agendas to don the shelves of American public schools uncensored, but also its willingness to conceal. Their objective, as aforementioned, is not to eliminate the existence of these books, but to instead filter the books chosen to be in these public-school libraries using a criterion, to safeguard against an intentional targeting of children.
Tony Kinnett wrote, in a response to Tucker-Smith, “Removing a book isn’t a book banning, it’s a practical part of curating any curriculum.” An example of this criterion is the controversial Florida bill House Bill 1557. It details that instructional content that contains sexual orientation and gender identity cannot be taught without parents being notified, and if it is not age-appropriate, especially for grades 3 and below, then it cannot be taught at all. Statutes and criteria like this can be applied not only to instructional materials but also to educational resources found in libraries.
The next term that must be defined is the “location” of these books. Kinnett notes that it is important to differentiate a public school library from others like public, college, and private libraries. The difference between school libraries and those libraries is that public school libraries are “provided for the exclusive use and edification of students, housed on campus of that K-12 school, and are completely accessible to any student at any time.” There are two important points to make:
- Public school libraries are educational.
- Schools are taxpayer-funded.
First, public schools are typically places where educational resources are held. Due to America’s right to free speech, the existence of these books is not the problem. If they were to be placed in other libraries, then there would be no issue, because these are public spaces, with public resources, for public use. However, schools are made for a specific purpose, in a specific space, for a specific demographic. They’re strictly made for the education of young persons ages 5 to 18. The alarming part is that a lot of these books are labeled as Young Adult, Mature, 17/18+, and yet they are lining the shelves of elementary and middle schools. Secondly, these institutions are taxpayer-funded. American citizens pay for the books, the curricula, and the staff; therefore, American citizens should have a say in which books are placed in the schools.
The last term that must be discussed is “education.” The distinguishing characteristic between public libraries and public school libraries is education. School libraries are designed to hold educational resources. However, the Left would argue that the books in question are educational. They allege that their removal could, “rob youth of the opportunity to feel represented, heard and seen. If we only give voice to the white experience in our school’s libraries, we don’t just rob our children of different perspectives.” Nonetheless, is this education or engineering? There are three types of education: academic, social, and moral, and I would argue that only two of these belong in schools.
Academic education is intended to develop intelligent individuals, who are proficient in reading, writing, arithmetic, history, science, etc. The end goal is to develop critical thinking skills. Academic education has the explicit role of developing intellectually competent individuals.
Social education is a tool through which cultural and social ideology is taught. Social ideology has evolved based on the prevailing philosophies of the time. Currently, these prevailing philosophies push critical race theory, gender ideology, and moral ambiguity. The end goal of this type of social education, which simply put is social engineering, is to create citizens who will conform to the global narrative. Tucker-Smith states that without these resources (books discussing race, sex, gender, etc.), “we disenfranchise them of the education they need to succeed in a global society.”
Moral education teaches students the origin, purpose, and use of right and wrong. This is so important, because it instills value, so that when children become adults, they can steward their freedom and make decisions that are not based on what they want to do, but rather on what they ought to do. This is also important in subjects like history and science. How can a teacher explain the right and wrong side of war without having a standard upon which to measure against? In science, humanity has always asked the questions “What is our purpose?” “Why are we here?”, or even “Why is it wrong to not share a toy, pen, or seat, with another person?” Of course, the next logical question is, which value system is best to use? As a Christian the Bible is the most reliable, provable, and perfect measuring standard; however, that is an argument for another time.
Ultimately, the Left will weaponize language to bring division, confusion, and silence. But that does not mean that we should just give up. We must learn to reclaim terms and stop them from manipulating the narrative. So, my challenge to you is do not feel intimidated by the language theft of the Left, but instead be emboldened by truth.