Why We Shouldn’t Ban Books

Martin Luther, 1483-1546

Martin Luther, 1483-1546

Throughout most of written history; literature has been held from us for numerous reasons. Whether it had been from the wrong religious class, believed in a different theory, or was generally considered controversial material. Some of these famous books that have been restricted in history are: The Bible, Fahrenheit 451, To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men, Lolita and even The Hate you Give. Some of these may seem like strange picks but they all happened. 

The Bible of the middle ages was only able to be read by Priest and Monks. The main reason being the language the book was written in; Latin. Latin during this time was only taught to people such as scholars. Even if a commoner learned Latin and read the bible, they could be excommunicated for being a heretic. A famous example of this in history is the protestant leader known by the name Martin Luther. He read the Bible and even made an attempt to challenge the church by making his own interpretation of it. Unfortunately, just like the others before him, despite being a monk, he was excommunicated and told to recant. 

This one event would prove how even our greatest ‘higher’ powers would sometimes try to keep things from the people. All for the sake of image and control of the majority’s ideals. Many say that books of infamy should be banned or removed simply because they are in opposition of what the current standard of what ‘good’ is. Most of the time, surprisingly, these ‘infamous’ books are either philosophical or political.

But what about books that discuss pedophilia or what the general public deems controversial? Should they be allowed? It all falls back to the structure of the United States’ Constitution. Our very first freedom stated within, the freedom of speech, allows us to express our opinions without government intervention and puts laws against other agents who would attempt to suppress you. 

The great philosopher, Aristotle, once wrote about the virtues that humans should live by in the book Nicomachean Ethics. One of his passages was famously summarized to “It is the mark of an educated mind to entertain a thought without accepting it.” This statement is the exact reason why we should allow even the most disagreeable and hated books to be read. Ironically enough, we can learn so many things from other ideologies. Even more so, the better we can absorb this information that these books contain, the more we as a people will be able to change or further fortify our own opinions.