Wednesday, 8 September 2010

On burning books

Stopped by at Longrider's blog to see his comments on the proposed burning of copies of the Qu'ran by a bunch of Florida Evangelicals. Found myself moved to leave the following message in the comments;
Book burning is a crime, regardless of how good or bad you think the book is. On these grounds I find myself as opposed to burning copies of Islamic texts as Christian or any other. Why? Because the written word provides the knowledge and continuity which underpins any civilisation. Therefore destruction of same is a high crime against humanity, even if it is a Jeffrey Archer. Without language and the means to pass it on we are little more than screaming apes.

I say no book should burn because all should available for reading and critique for good or bad. No cow should be too sacred to take to the intellectual slaughterhouse. If books and the knowledge they contain are destroyed, then upon which giants shoulders should the next generation stand?

BTW: As an illustration of my last point, there are stories of early Christians burning Roman libraries during the 5th and 6th centuries, and it took humanity over a thousand years to rediscover what was lost.

(Sees soapbox under feet, steps down)

Despite the 'soapbox' meme, I'm deadly serious. Burning a book is murdering an idea. Ideas are what raise us above apes. Even truly dumb ideas like religion. Without examining dumb ideas or half assed backward cultural shibboleths and recognising them for the impostors they are, how the hell can humanity move forward?

It is therefore the contention of this blog that all Book burners, whatever their denomination, are ignorant scum, below pondlife.

I know September 11th was a crime too, but you don't punish one criminal by burning down his entire home town.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for you intelligent thoughts on book burning.

Angry Exile said...

Agreed on everything except burning a Jeffery Archer. That should only a misdemeanour and even then extenuating circumstances may apply in cold weather. ;-)

Seriously, though, good points.

Bill Sticker said...

Hmm. Upon reflection, yes. As for Jeffrey Archers, why burn if you're short of toilet paper?

An additional note re 'holy' books. God says it's not the books, it's the nutters who take them literally.

Angry Exile said...

God says it's not the books, it's the nutters who take them literally.

The theme of a blog I'm working on at the moment.

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