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Welcome Information Connoisseurs

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Banned Books Week: No sympathy for books banned by Amazon

Banned Books Week official has no sympathy for revisionist books banned by Amazon

By Michael Hoffman • RevisionistHistory.org

In the wake of our article on “Books Banned by Banned Books Week”—concerning “Holocaust denial” volumes policed out of the banned category—we received an e-mail from James LaRue, director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, which administers Banned Books Week. This organization appears to mainly promote the freedom to read proscribed books that dont threaten the canon of Leftist ideology. Conservatives who are critical of publications that undermine traditional values are usually the villains in this rigged morality theatre. In the case at hand, revisionist authors who cast doubt on aspects of the Establishment’s hallowed historical dogmas, have virtually no presence in Banned Books Week. The American Library Association (ALA) and the American Booksellers Association are engaged in a cynical ruse, posing as champions of all banned books while almost exclusively promoting as banned those volumes which do not challenge the Leftist, or in this instance, the Zionist agenda.

In responding to this writer’s column, Mr. LaRue wrote, “Banned Books Week reports on challenges - attempts to remove or restrict access - to books held by publicly funded libraries and schools. Amazon, not publicly funded, not a library, falls completely outside of the scope of our work. Private businesses can carry, or not carry, any merchandise they choose to.”

If we understand Mr. LaRue correctly, he and the ALA have zero interest in banned books when they are suppressed by book stores as part of a commercial enterprise. LaRue’s insouciance with regard to the many dozens of revisionist books banned last February by Amazon.com at the behest of the World Jewish Congress, belies the public pose of the American Library Association and its “Freedom to Read Foundation” (FTRF), as expressed in 1970 by Judith Krug, in her articulation of its founding mandate: “To promote and protect freedom of speech and press...and...the public right to hear what is spoken and read what is written...”

Whether or not libraries and schools are the focus, for the “Office for Intellectual Freedom” and the “Freedom to Read Foundation” to be indifferent to the fate of any other banned book in any other setting other than libraries and schools, would probably be news to the majority of the public who are the intended audience for Banned Books Week, which in its 2017 advertising, depicted a clenched fist and the slogan, “Stand for the Banned.” Other catchphrases employed officially include, “Our Right to Read," "Stand for Intellectual Freedom,” and “Words Have Power: Read a Banned Book.” There are no “fine print” disclaimers accompanying these mantras, which are printed on bags, cups and bumperstickers sold by the ALA — stating that these noble sentiments apply only to books forbidden by public libraries and schools. 

The “Stand for the Banned” message is without qualification and is apt to beguile donors and supporters who have no inkling of how circumscribed and shuttered it actually is. They have no idea, for example, that the director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom engages in what might be characterized as unseemly gloating over the commercial suppression of demonized books.  In his e-mail, James LaRue wrote, “...you do not have the right to demand public or commercial platforms for them (your opinions). There is harsh competition in the marketplace of ideas. There are winners, and speaking of obsessive, willfully ignorant anti-Semitism, there are losers.”

(Note well his words about willful ignorance. We will return to them shortly).

An official of the American Library Association who oversees Banned Books Week offers no lament for the banned books that are “losers” in “the marketplace of ideas.” Once again we are in the realm of the surreal. How does such an attitude advance the ALA’s goals of “Intellectual Freedom” and its apothegm, “Stand for the Banned”? When it comes to the suppression of World War II revisionist histories the American Library Association is firmly seated. Rather than hewing to liberty in all instances and across all categories, the ALA is taking the side of those who would marginalize books branded with the pejorative “anti-Semitism” stigma, which in some cases is little more than a witch-hunting canard intended to smear heretical works authored by learned non-conformists who are seeking to compete for the attention of readers in the “marketplace of ideas.” 

We would have thought that an organization bearing the lofty title, “Office for Intellectual Freedom,” and whose slogan is “Words Have Power: Read a Banned Book,” would respond by stating that while Amazon’s ban on World War II revisionist books was outside the immediate purview of the ALA’s Banned Books Week, they unequivocally regret and protest Amazon’s censorship, while recognizing that commercial operations may do as they please in this regard. 

Commerce has not yet trumped ethics in America — or has it, as far as the nation’s teachers and librarians are concerned? LaRue’s snide satisfaction with Amazon’s suppression of authors too far out even for Banned Books Week, reflects the ALA’s Leftist predilection for masquerading as freedom-lovers the better to render invisible politically incorrect writers whose freedom to be read has been abridged not so much by the free market, as monopoly forces within that market. Given the opportunity to compete freely by enjoying wide access to the nation’s readers, and revisionist books would become best-sellers. This can’t be allowed and Mr. LaRue tells us why: “...the lack of commercial interest in ‘contrarian’ or ‘revisionist’ histories of the Holocaust reflects their flat out falsity, their lack of scholarly rigor, and the transparent bigotry that guides them.”

There you have it. With regard to banned books judged by the Director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom to be false, lacking in “scholarly rigor” and suffused with “transparent bigotry,” it is neither reprehensible nor an occasion for protest when earth’s largest bookstore forbids their sale. Somehow this dictum of the Inquisition (that “error” has no rights), looks a tad contradictory and at cross-purposes with the official freedom philosophy sold to the public by Banned Books Week and its virtue-signaling sponsors.  

In light of Mr. LaRue’s remark about “willful ignorance,” we contacted him concerning which revisionist books he had read that caused him to assess them so caustically. Surely he was not “willfully ignorant” of their contents? We asked him: “With regard to your assessment of the whole corpus of WWII revisionist historiography in terms of ‘...their flat out falsity, their lack of scholarly rigor, and the transparent bigotry...’ have you ever actually read a book by one of the leading writers in the genre, such as Arthur R. Butz, Carlo Mattogno, Robert Faurisson or Germar Rudolf? If so, which one(s)? If not, I include a link to a pdf. file containing the complete text of Mr. Rudolf’s banned book, should you wish to undertake the obligation of perusing what you have so severely reproved: http://holocausthandbooks.com/dl/15-loth.pdf.”

Mr. LaRue did not scruple to reply.

(LaRue would allow us to publish his remarks only if we printed them in full, and we do so herein: “First, I have never spoken with the author of this article. I don't know who the ‘we’ is he refers to - unless it was the woman who last week demanded of one of my staff to know my ‘ethnic background,’ complained about a picture of a dreadlocked black man on the American library Association website, then made childish and incoherent remarks about Jews on Twitter. If she is aligned with your cause, she is not a credible investigator or representative. Second, as we make clear on our website and in press releases, Banned Books Week reports on challenges - attempts to remove or restrict access - to books held by publicly funded libraries and schools. Amazon, not publicly funded, not a library, falls completely outside of the scope of our work. Private businesses can carry, or not carry, any merchandise they choose to. To describe this as some kind of conspiracy on the part of the Left is...novel. Third, the lack of commercial interest in  ‘contrarian’ or ‘revisionist’ histories of the Holocaust reflects their flat out falsity, their lack of scholarly rigor, and the transparent bigotry that guides them. But the idea of conspiracies may be more comforting to you. Fourth, you have the right to your opinions. But you do not have the right to demand public or commercial platforms for them. There is harsh competition in the marketplace of ideas. There are winners, and speaking of obsessive, willfully ignorant anti-Semitism, there are losers.” James LaRue ALA / FTRF, October 7, 2017).

Historian Michael Hoffman’s most recent book is The Occult Renaissance Church of Rome.



Michael Hall said...

I was at my college library today, and there was a Banned Books stand giving away bookmarkers with the names of banned books printed on them. Both the Talmud and the Guide to the Perplexed were listed. Revisionist texts are guided by "transparent bigotry", but the rabbinic texts are not. What hypocracy on LaRue's part.

Gordon Pratt said...

One way to fund public libraries is for a citizen to offer a donation to the library for the purpose of buying a specific book. If the library wanted to add the book to its collection the donation would be accepted. The donor could expect to be first in line to take the book out and would get a tax receipt.

I suggested this to my local library and the initial reaction was positive. "We'll get back to you.

Ten years later I had heard nothing. When our newspaper reported complaints by the head librarian about lack of funding I wrote a letter to the editor and reported my experience.

Someone from Friends of the Library contacted me to say the idea was worthy of consideration. " We'll get back to you."

That was fifteen years ago. I am still waiting.

The reason a librarian might fear public participation in book buying is that turning down a donation could expose his prejudices. That may also be the reason for Mr LaRue's catty response.

Anonymous said...

Why not make a stink about the Alex Jones' of the internet, instead of an obscure library that no one knows about. Jones and his ilk have not said one word about free speech in Europe concerning gas chambers and the law putting deniers in jail. Come on Mr. Hoffman! Speak up about something that will get a viral action from the internet people at large... Hit at the jugular vein instead of a fake news type of statement about a library, a non-descript entity that no one has ever heard of! F.Thursby PA.

Michael Hoffman said...

To F.Thursby of PA;

Sir or Madam:

The American Library Association (ALA) is a national organization with a very high profile in communities nationwide and of some considerable significance in the media and Republic of Letters.

Because you personally are unaware of a given institution does not necessarily make that institution obscure or unimportant.

Alex Jones' place in the literary world cannot compare with that of the ALA. P

erhaps we might on occasion want to look beyond the domain of the Internet to the larger world around us for clues about priorities, influence and power.

As for demanding of Jones or anyone else that they air doubts about execution gas chambers in WWII —perhaps that is your main issue. For others it is the evil represented by the renting of money (usury).. Then the demand becomes, why doesn’t Alex Jones expose usury! And then that is the litmus test of his sincerity, and we appoint ourselves judges of him and others predicated on whether or not they accede to our demands and to what we believe is most urgent.

It’s a psychological malady to impose our own passions on others and angrily dismiss people if they don’t adopt our most cherished views. Far better for our cause if we present it in such a way as to make it compelling and interesting on its own merits. To be successful we should forbear patiently with our colleagues when they don’t always submit to our one-track minds and obsessions. Let's respect their peregrination on the road to the whole truth, which none of us possess, though each seeker of good will has a contribution to make.

jgalindes said...

Hello Michael, May be you will profit reading "The New Inquisition: Understanding and Managing Intellectual Freedom Challenges"
by James LaRue.In its introductory statements we can read:
How can you become an effective advocate for intellectual freedom and patron privacy while maintaining a positive relationship with diverse elements of your community? Drawing on his experience as library director, this author advocates assuming a proactive role in every library function, from collection building to community outreach. This approach helps you understand the people who challenge library materials--as individuals and as members of various groups--turning enemies into allies and building an intellectual, freedom-friendly community. You'll learn what materials get challenged and why and how you can effectively respond to challenges while meeting diverse community needs. Here are stories from the frontlines, practical guidelines on policies and procedures as well as common-sense tips on how to maintain your cool while dealing with specific groups or individuals--all presented with common sense and humor. If you have been struggling with challenges and wonder how you can uphold your ideals while dealing with harsh realities, this is the book you have been waiting for.

By the way and risking to be somewhat rough and superficial,isn't his surname derived from De LaRue des Juifs....?

rerevisionist said...

For British readers, note that someone called Jo Johnson (male) was made 'Minister for Universities and Science' in May 2015, and the OfS ('Office for Students') says it intends to enforce Free Speech in universities, I think from April 2018. Obviously this will not happen; but I suppose these things may be worth watching. I *suspect* that the cost of university 'education' is an irritant to many people; I also *suspect* that one-sided and low-grade lecturers are another.