Glenn Garvin of the Miami Herald wrote this stupidity in defense of school book censorship in 'Cesspool City, USA' -- a.k.a. Miami. What did you expect from the toilet paper publication in that metropolis?
This just in: Those demented fascists at the Miami-Dade School Board are banning books again. A careful check of school libraries shows there is not a single copy to be had of Babbette Cole's Mommy Laid An Egg, Or Where Do Babies Come From? You can take that title very literally, by the way; the book includes several colorful illustrations of Mommy and Daddy performing the act that leads to babies -- on skateboards, in a bouncy Space Hopper, in balloons in mid-air. Oh, and because Mommy Laid An Egg is a product of modern, nonsexist pedagogy, equal time is given to positions with Mommy on top. (Some people -- reactionaries, of course -- even refer to the book as ``The Kama Sutra for Kids.'')
Also missing: The Poisonous Mushroom, a collection of children's short stories by the Nazi writer Ernst Hiemer, which takes its title from a mother's helpful gardening tip to her son: ``Just as a single poisonous mushroom can kill a whole family, so a solitary Jew can destroy a whole village.''
And don't even get me started on all the potentially useful how-to books our school libraries have cruelly banned, from Loompanics Unlimited's Secrets of Methamphetamine Manufacture: Including Recipes For MDA, Ecstasy, and Other Psychedelic Amphetamines (sometimes you really can tell a book from its cover) to the venerable hippie self-help manual The Anarchist Cookbook, which not only explains how to make explosives at home but exactly where to place them to bring down a bridge.
But don't worry. Now that I've brought it to their attention, I'm sure the ACLU will be down at the federal courthouse sometime this afternoon securing the rights of Miami-Dade kids to get stoned, spout racist gibberish and blow things up, all on the taxpayer tab. To the ACLU, the First Amendment doesn't just guarantee free speech, but the right to make taxpayers subsidize and promote your speech, no matter how offensive and idiotic they find it.
That's the theory at the root of the ACLU's lawsuit to force the School Board to keep Vamos a Cuba (A Visit to Cuba), a smiley-face depiction of children's life under Fidel Castro. (''People in Cuba eat, work, and go to school like you do.'' Except for the secret police and rationing and stuff.)
When the board voted to boot Vamos a Cuba out of school libraries nearly four years ago, it didn't ban the book. Parents who really think Castro's Cuba is a barrel of laughs can still buy it; kids who bring it to school won't be suspended or have their copies confiscated. The ACLU can keep a copy of Vamos a Cuba in its office for all those throngs of fans it seems to think are lurking across the county, and no jack-booted police will kick in the doors to seize it.
All the School Board did was say that no more public money be spent to buy or distribute the book, a perfectly reasonable response to taxpayers angered that their money was going to purchase something they considered, rightly or wrongly, to be trash. It is no more an act of censorship than if Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU's Florida operations, decided to cancel his Miami Herald subscription about three paragraphs into this column.
That's exactly what a federal appeals court decided last week in ruling against the ACLU's lawsuit charging the School Board with unconstitutional censorship. ''The board did not ban any book,'' wrote Judge Ed Carnes in the majority opinion for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. ``The board removed from its own school libraries a book that the board had purchased for those libraries with board funds. It did not prohibit anyone else from owning, possessing or reading the book.''
It may seem quaint at a time when Congress is dispensing bailout money like it came packaged with Monopoly boards, but publicly funded institutions have a responsibility to the people who cough up the money. Librarians may imagine themselves high priests, beyond the control of mere mortals, but the School Board correctly recognized them for what they are: public employees, accountable to the people who pay their salaries.
Was the School Board's decision to yank Vamos a Cuba political? Sure, just as the decision to purchase it in the first place was political. (And the book itself is political too, as most of the School Board's critics would surely admit if we were talking about, say, Vamos a South Africa back in apartheid days.) That's what control of public money is, politics.
The First Amendment, no matter what the ACLU says, was not written to guarantee the rights of hogs to help themselves to the public trough while promoting their philosophies or ideologies. In fact, the Founding Fathers thought quite the opposite. Thomas Jefferson believed one of the main problems with establishing a state religion was that it was a crime against taxpayer conscience. ''To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors,'' Jefferson wrote, ''is sinful and tyrannical.'' I wouldn't be surprised if the ACLU sues him, too.
Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil! Long live the Fascist Banana Republic of Miami-Dade.