‘Did you know that last week the state of Florida has rejected 54 out of 123 (41%) submitted math text books from their curriculum? Critical Race Theory is one of the main reasons for the rejection.’
‘What is Critical Race Theory?’ I asked.
‘It’s the study of the history of inequality and racism in the US and how it impacts American society today. According to DeSantis allowing critical race theory in schools would teach children that “the country is rotten and that our institutions are illegitimate.” At least a dozen laws aimed at restricting teachings on topics like racism, sexism, and American history have passed in several states.’
‘Yes, I see it as another sign of how deep our political and ideological divisions are and the rejection of critical thinking and science by a large part of the population.’
‘Censorship and rejection of books on cultural, religious or political grounds is nothing new but never a good sign for an open and healthy society. It’s one step away from the ritual burning of books, the most famous being the one carried out by the Nazi regime in May of 1933. In the aftermath they raided book stores, libraries and publishers warehouses to confiscate and destroy material it deemed dangerous or un-German.’
‘I think DeSantis would approve.’
‘Mind you, we had our own watershed censorship case right here in BC. In 1983, Little Sister’s Book & Art Emporium took the Canada Border Service Agency to court for confiscating shipments of books they deemed unfit for public consumption. It took until 2000 and hundreds of thousands of dollars for the little book store to win their case at the Supreme Court of Canada.
‘I remember that. It was a blatant case of moral grand standing by the literally and literary unqualified Border Service Agency.’
‘Censorship is the parent of Propaganda which we are witnessing in real time with respect to Russia’s war against the Ukraine. All independent news sources, TV stations and print materials are now against the law and punishable. There is now only one state sponsored news outlet in Russia, pushing Putin’s message of ‘Denazification’ and ‘liberation’ of Ukraine. Just the mention of the word ‘war’ is now prohibited.’
‘Dark times indeed. We seem to forget that journalism schools all over the world teach a high degree of ethic reporting and I for one trust our reporters from the CBC, the BBC, the Guardian and several independent journalists, before I even look at any social media commentary, much of which is sketchy at best.’
‘I agree. A standard of ethical principles is taught in journalism schools. Journalists have an obligation to seek out truth and report as accurately as possible. That also means independence, fairness, public accountability, harm minimization and proper attribution. None of this is part of the propaganda that is imposed by autocratic state monopolies from Russia to China, Hungary to Venezuela.’
‘Can anybody write a book about anything?’ I asked Camp. ‘A book about building bombs, promoting child pornography or chemical terrorism?’
‘Anybody can write a book about anything, self-publish and flog it any which way. Be prepared for expensive law suits from defamed groups or individuals. We do have fundamental freedoms which are: freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media communications.’
It’s a good thing we live in Canada. Despite what some people believe, we have a lot of freedom here, but it comes with some responsibilities like adherence to the rule of law, majority rule, curtesy and respect, tolerance and education.’
‘These are heady and thirsty topics my friend. Can I buy you another drink?’
‘You sure can. That’s the one thing you never have to worry about. And here comes Vicky with two fresh pints.’
‘Did the price of beer go up?’ Camp asked.
‘Well, yes,’ she said, ‘beer isn’t immune against inflation. It’s either higher price or less beer. What do you prefer?’
‘More beer for less money,’ Camp grumbled.
‘You should be in charge, we’d all be better off,’ Vicky laughed. ‘Cheers.’