MICHAEL KNOWLES (HOST): Well, it depends who "they" is, I guess. Because I know this is a very popular opinion, is the opinion don't ban any books. If there's a banned book, we need to go read it immediately.
Well, it depends what the book is and it depends who does the banning. If the banning is being done by bad people who are not going to help you become educated, then I guess you should go read the book. If the book is being banned by just and wise and prudent authorities, then maybe don't read the book. Depends what the book is.
If the book is Hamlet, then you should go read the book. If the book is gay porn, as is turning up in lots of schools, then don't read the book. If it's pornography of any kind, don't read the book. You will not be edified by that. You will not be educated by that.
What is Stephen King suggesting? All books. Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe, we should read that? Maybe, I don't know, Mein Kampf ≠ listen they don't want to teach you Mein Kampf in schools. You better go out there, you're in sixth grade, you better go read Mein Kampf. Is that what he's saying? No, I don't think – I mean, even if you're going to read Mein Kampf as a, sort of, historical study, maybe wait until you're, I don't know, like 16 or 17. I don't think -- does anyone really think that's appropriate for a child? I don't think so. I think there are plenty of books that are not appropriate for a child. I think Ulysses by James Joyce – I don't know. Do we really – that's something we have to read. No, of course not. Of course –
It's a very shallow and glib and liberal and modern idea that you should never ban or suppress any book. It is an idea that is completely out of keeping with the entire Western tradition. Catholics, Protestants, ancients, even many secularists - everyone agrees that certain books should not be taught.
You see book burning in the Old Testament. Plato argued for the burning of a rival's books. Martin Luther -- I often point out on the show, being Catholic, Martin Luther is not, like, my number one guy, you know. Martin Luther argued to burn certain books.
But plenty of Catholic writers have argued -- the Vatican has a list of banned books. We naturally ban certain books. The liberals ban books. They banned the Bible in classrooms. Conservatives used to ban books like gay porn in the classrooms. Everybody recognizes you need – in order to be educated, you need certain limits. That's the whole point of education is to tamp down your appetites and to cultivate your rational will and virtue.