Most of the time it’s not fair to compare contemporary American politicians to Nazis. That’s a sort of easy out for leftists who think anyone to the right of Bernie Sanders is unconscionable. Sometimes, though, it starts to make a little sense.
For example, a state representative in Arkansas has introduced a bill to ban books by Howard Zinn from any use in the curriculum. That’s really specific, but the intention seems obvious: to eliminate political views the guy disagrees with from the schools.
And Zinn might be the only leftist historian the guy has ever heard of, since progressive historiography probably isn’t a hobby of his.
Fortunately, the bill doesn’t require students to actively burn books by Zinn, but the intent isn’t much different from Nazi book burnings in the 1930s. “The books targeted for burning were those viewed as being subversive or as representing ideologies opposed to Nazism. These included books written by Jewish, pacifist, Religious, classical liberal, anarchist, socialist, and communist authors, among others.”
Considering that Zinn was Jewish and “something of an anarchist, something of a socialist,” the Nazis would be targeting his books as well if they were still in charge. Fortunately for them, there’s an Arkansas state representative ready to take up their cause.
I’m assuming Zinn’s politics are the reason his books are being targeted, but who knows for sure. After all, this is the same guy who a few years ago referred to New York Senator Chuck Shumer as “that Jew.” Accounts are vague about whether he also called him “the senator from Jew York.”
His explanation was somewhat baffling: “I was attempting to explain that unlike Sen. Schumer, I believe in traditional values, like we used to see on ‘The Andy Griffith Show.’”
That makes a little bit of sense, because anti-Semitism and suppressing dissenting voices probably were traditional values in small North Carolina towns in the 1960s. I’m sure we can all recall Aunt Bee’s frequent ranting about “Jews and commies” as she serves Andy and Opie some American apple pie.
The representative presumably wants to make America, or at least Arkansas, great again, and thinks a good way to do that is through banning books by a Jewish leftist from the schools.
If the intent is to make sure students are never exposed to any ideas, there are probably easier ways. Maybe he could introduce a bill banning reading instruction entirely. Instead of reading books or discussing ideas, the students could just watch episodes of The Andy Griffith Show everyday.
Banning reading entirely is the best way to keep students from ideas and to completely disempower them, but there might be times when the state would want at least some literate people, if only to draft laws banning ideas, so that might not be an option.
If you object to students being confronted with a range of ideas and facts, you’re not really interested in education, so maybe the schools could change into something else, indoctrination camps maybe. When it comes to teaching history, a lot of schools are already well on their way.
Then Arkansas wouldn’t even need a pretext to suppress ideas, because there wouldn’t be any to suppress. The students could read nothing but David Barton and David Irving for history class. If those are too sophisticated for the students, they can just read those Rush Limbaugh history books for children over and over.
That way they could grow up with all the critical sophistication of that Ancient Aliens guy, which would be perfect for politicians who want gullible, ignorant citizens. What better way to make sure Arkansas remains among the poorest and least educated states in the country. After all, that’s tradition.