Banned Book Week – Is Book Banning Ever OK?

/ posted in: Reading

Every Banned Book Week we all get together and decry the stupidity that leads to banning books in schools.  But I got to thinking this year.  Is there ever a time when book banning was the right thing to do?

Obviously anyone who tries to get a book banned thinks that they are doing the right thing.  Are they ever right?  Who decides?

The best example from history that I could find is a book called The Mirror of the Polish Crown.  It was published in Krakow in the early 1600s by Sebastian Miczyński.  He was a conspiracy theorist and he just knew that the Jews were the cause of all the world’s problems.

Here’s an excerpt from History of the Jews in Russia and Poland, from the Earliest Times until Today by Simon Dubnow.

They banned the book and hot tempers settled down until the book got out anyway and got people all riled up again. Is that any different than banning books now that tell people how to make bombs and carry out terrorist attacks? Is there ever any knowledge that is too dangerous to be put out for public consumption?