Why People Are Losing Faith In Public Institutions

Source: The American Conservative

Here is a Washington Post story about a foaming-at-the-mouth smalltown mob that voted to defund its public library when the librarians refused to remove a controversial graphic memoir called Gender Queer from its shelves. The story is exactly what you think it will be: more media gaslighting about queer “banned books,” a winsome tragedy about gentle librarians — one of whom is “pink-haired and openly queer” — resisting the fundamentalist bigots who hate books and liberty. Here is a quote:

Nykamp, the Jamestown Conservative organizer, was also there, lambasting “Gender Queer” as pornographic.

“On page 135, I can see a middle-aged man with an erection touching another young man’s erection,” she told the room. “Possibly a man younger than 18.”

The township supervisor, Laurie Van Haitsma, sided with Nykamp.

“It’s graphic as you can be,” she said. “I would not want my children and grandchildren seeing it.”

A lawyer had reviewed the book and determined it wasn’t pornographic, McLain replied. Still, given the mature content, she’d initially placed it in the adult section — near novels with heterosexual sex scenes. As the objections mounted, though, she moved “Gender Queer” behind the counter, making it available only upon request.

“We have to represent every segment of the population,” McLain said, “not just the vast majority.”

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OK, stop right there. I am supposing that the print version of the Washington Post doesn’t show illustrations from Gender Queer. Why not? Here are some, one of which I’ve slightly altered. I apologize for offending some of you by this, but you have to understand exactly what we are talking about here.

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You know what doesn’t appear anywhere in the story? A consideration of what right people in a democracy have to determine the standards in the public institutions they fund with their own tax dollars. To the Post writer, this apparently does not exist. The writer quotes a local librarian saying that “we have to represent every segment of the population,” but that is rhetorically dishonest. For one,

One of the organizers, Lauren Nykamp, declined to be interviewed but responded to some of The Washington Post’s questions over text. “This is not about LGBTQ material,” she said. “It is about sexualized material.”

The idea that Lauren Nykamp — who was right not to speak to the Post except in writing (note well, readers who may be asked for an interview) — would somehow be fine with the same kind of graphic material if it depicted heterosexual sodomy and suchlike, is absurd. She clearly distinguishes between material that “represents” LGBT people, and this specific example of it.

Second, it’s not true at all that libraries have to “represent every segment of the population.” Libraries have to curate matters. Nobody in libraries is worried about representing fascists or white supremacists on the shelves — and they shouldn’t be. This is empty rhetoric.

Moreover, about this:

Still, given the mature content, she’d initially placed it in the adult section — near novels with heterosexual sex scenes.

There is a substantive difference between illustrations of sex and verbal descriptions of it!

It should go without saying that the library staff did not deserve the crude harassment visited upon them by some of those who objected to what they were doing. But the Washington Post reporter could not resist writing a progressive just-so story about the mean right-wing mob that took away the libwawy, as opposed to an actual piece of journalism that would have explored the real and legitimate tensions within a democratic polity over the limits of free speech on the public dime.

I’m a subscriber to the Washington Post’s digital version, but not because I trust it to give me an accurate and balanced picture of the world (though I trust some of its individual reporters). I subscribe because I need to do so for my work. But look, if you relied on the Post to tell you about the world you actually live in, it would not have occurred to you that there is any other side to the library story than the virtuous pink-haired queer librarian and her allies versus the mob of bigots. If you are on the Left, isn’t it in your interest to understand why people are so upset, even if you don’t agree with them? Isn’t it in your interest to at least think about why the people of a town would rather defund their library rather than see it used in this way? That there just might be more to it than HAAAAAAATE?

In other Woke Public Institutions Trashing Their Trustworthiness news, a Denver public high school showed a woke video to students that, among other things, urged them not to call the police if they or someone they run into has been attacked by a black person or some other Sacred Minority. Here’s a clip starting at the neuralgic point:

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This is a real thing that really happened. From the news story:

Rachel Goss, the school’s principal, acknowledged the video was shared with students in a message posted on the school’s website. 

“I am writing this note to emphasize that the intention behind the video was to provide empowerment for people who may witness these types of attacks, not to have any sort of negative impact on the longstanding relationship between the Denver Public Schools and the Denver Police Department,” Goss wrote

Goss said the video “offers suggestions for possible interventions that do not include contacting law enforcement.”

“As Principal of Denver South High School, I remain committed to working with and continue to strengthen this partnership between our school and members of law enforcement. Please know that, as a school community, we are intent on ensuring the safety of all though partnering with the DPS Dept. of Safety and Denver Police,” Goss said.

This Denver public school is teaching kids to submit to violence perpetrated against them if that violence was done by a black person or other supposedly “marginalized” person. A public school. This is “empowerment” according to the woke principal of the school.

Gosh, nobody wants to pay the library tax or the school tax. Wonder why… . I mean, sure, we hate them and want to colonize the minds of their children, but hey, they’re guilty, so I don’t see what the problem is.