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Lessons in Intellectual Freedom

Posted By: Ken Smith on October 1, 2002
 
The reader of this review learns nothing new about the deeper struggles that motivate various groups from across the spectrum to censor ideas they find distasteful. We are reminded that the right has its censors, and we are reinforced in our stereotypical view of fundamentalists. There is no suggestion that any of their concerns are valid, or that any of their opponents have done anything objectionable. We see depicted a manichean struggle of good (the teachers) versus bad (the censors). Our biases are strengthened, but our understanding is not. This is, at best, inadequate for a topic this important.

For those who are not satisfied with these stereotypes, I highly recommend Stephen Bates's _Battleground_, (Holt, 1993) about the Tennessee textbook cases in the eighties. Bates's book is not perfect, but it is great because it gets beyond the knee-jerk stereotypes that tend to predominate in discussions of censorship.

Ken Smith
University of North Dakota
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 Lessons in Intellectual Freedom by Ken Smith on October 1, 2002
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