Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

What if I Read Something that Changes My Mind – Banned Books Week 2011

But, what if I do read something that changes my mind?

That is called learning – and learning is a good thing.

Learning is one of the things to be expected from reading – learning is not one of the things to be prevented.

Happy Banned Books Week.

If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.

– Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. – Texas v. Johnson (1989)

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.

– Justice Robert Jackson – West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943)

Should I read anything special for Banned Books Week?

This should be done throughout the year, not just during one isolated week.

What should I read for Banned Books Week?

Read something you would not ordinarily read.

If a book would be on your personal do not read list, consider reading that book.

Are you a Liberal and avoid reading books by Conservatives?

Are you a Conservative and avoid reading books by Liberals?

Just avoid the screeds that explain why the Conservatives/Liberals are destroying the country. Whining is not appealing from anyone.

Read something that may be shorter than a book, but much more important. The US Constitution and Amendments (for those outside of the US, read your own founding documents).

Anything that is so fragile that it must be protected from criticism is not worth protecting from criticism.

When I am told that I should be prohibited from reading something, I want to know what that persuasive book is.

What the censors are telling me is that this book is so much more persuasive than anything that they could come up with, that the only argument they can think of is to prohibit the book. In other words, the prohibitionists are the best promoters of banned books.

When we have been protected from thinking and discriminating among ideas, we lose our ability to think about anything. If we cannot reason for ourselves, does it matter what we read? If there is no ability to understand, then we should expect everything to be misunderstood.

My favorite banned book is Fahrenheit 451. There is a wonderful audio book version read by the author, Ray Bradbury, that is certainly worth listening to.

We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?

We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against.

Colored people don’t like Little Black Sambo. Burn it. White people don’t feel good about Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Burn it.

So few want to be rebels anymore. And out of those few, most, like myself, scare easily.

If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you’ll never learn.

the most dangerous enemy of truth and freedom, the solid unmoving cattle of the majority. Oh, God, the terrible tyranny of the majority.

Others die, I go on. There are no consequences and no responsibilities. Except that there are. But let’s not talk about them, eh? By the time the consequences catch up with you, it’s too late, isn’t it,

While books can be expensive, reading does not need to cost anything. The following sites allow access to free books, including the library, which may have the latest best sellers as well as the classics.

eBooks @ The University of Adelaide

The OnLine Books Page at UPenn

Project Gutenberg


At your local library you can find out how to use a library card to download current copyright protected audio books to a computer or MP3 player. These downloads have a limited life (a couple of weeks) before they are no longer useful.

These books are free to use.

Late addition – 9/25/2011 19:35 – some people requested links to lists of banned books –

Wikipedia – Banned Book.

American Library Association lists of –

100 most frequently challenged books by decade.

Frequently challenged books of the 21st century by year.

Most frequently challenged authors of the 21st century.

Number of Challenges by Year, Reason, Initiator & Institution (1990 – 2010).

Banned and Challenged Classics.

The Back of the Medic also mentions Banned Books Week.



  1. Thank you and I agree.

  2. This is well stated. I am Christian, female, and Southern. I am conservative, but with a few curves thrown in for good measure in my thinking.
    The more variety of thoughts and feelings we are each exposed to, the better we can enable our ability to make choices and statements that are both emotionally and logically valid.
    I may not agree with all I read, but want to understand what others think and feel and why. What brought them to it.. Part of understanding who you are , in yourself, is understanding others.