WILL UNWOUND #193: “Why do Librarians Hate Conservatives?” by Will ManleyAugust 4, 2010
No doubt about it, the best part of this blog is the comment section. While the comments are consistently well expressed and thought provoking, every once in a while a comment will pop up that kind of takes your breath away. That was the case yesterday with Mick’s comment. Here it is:
“Sometimes life is a bitch.
I am a liberal arts graduate in the most liberal of disciplines, anthropology. People like A.L. Kroeber (father of Ursula LeGuin) defined liberalism for this century. The ideas from anthropology are not at all bad: anti-ethnocentricism, for example. Why should we judge other “primitive” cultures by our exalted standards? Read something like “Primitive Man as Philosopher” and you’ll realize those guys rocked. Truly. If you can get past stuff like cannibalism and clitorectomys, the philosophy and beliefs of “others” are sometimes mind-blowing.
Most all anthropologists are liberals. Obama’s Mama was a social anthropologist who went to the same school I did. I could have dated her kid sister and I surely knew a number of women in anthropology who were just like her. She grew up 20 miles from where I did.
Then I became a librarian. I fit right in. Most all librarians are die hard liberals. So was I. I thought conservatives were STUPID. They were rednecks. They were bigots. They were racists. They were gun nuts. They were dispicable. I marched on the freeway against Vietnam. I adored Woodstock. I thought I was a part of the counter-culture, a Richard Brautigan who didn’t make the big time (Umm, nor did he.) I read Mother Earth and Mother Jones–the Whole Earth Catalog. My hair was long.
It took me about 40 years to get over myself. I finally realized that this wasn’t working for me. Liberalism was eating my brain, and it was leading to socialism. When the Cuban librarians asked for help against the oppressive Castro regime and ALA refused, I snapped.
Please! Understand you do not need to fight me on this. I’m just telling a story. I don’t care where you are politically. I’m not trying to convince you to switxh; I’m just telling my story. We’re talking about intellectual freedom here. This is a story about intellectual freedom and how it goes awry. If I can get through the miasma to ONE person here it will be worth it.
So I started a blog. I campaigned for John McCain. I promoted Sarah Palin when she was an unknown and was absolutely delighted she was chosen. I blogged every day. I ran the Bloggers for McCain list. For the first time in my life I got into politics. I got myself elected as a delegate to the state Republican convention. I actually donated money.
Understand that I have been associated with a library for over 30 years. My wife still works there in a position of responsibility. I’m glad I’m “out of it” but I really am not. One day toward the end of the campaign one of the avowed socialists associated with the library found my blog. I had considered him a friend; I’d never discussed politics with him. I avoided it. He became incensed. Now I was the enemy because Karl Marx is his hero. 10 million dead in Russian “collectivization” didn’t matter to him. The ends justified the means.
Now, any library has politics. There are unions against management, the proletariat against the privileged. My library is no different. The upshot of this was that my wife asked me to suspend the blog because it was causing her difficulties in the workplace. My “friend” used my writings as ammunition to advance his socialist cause in the library.
I suspended my blog, erased it, because I put my relationship with my wife above anything else. I gave up my intellectual freedom to “keep the peace” in an overwhelmingly liberal profession.
“Intellectual freedom” in libraries has little to do with “intellectual freedom.” What it means in libraries is the freedom to express socialist, progressive, liberal views when they are challenged. It means defending pornography as free speech, defending criticism of conservatives. It has NOTHING to do with defending the rights of conservatives to defend their views. Just look at what happens when abortion foes carry placards depicting aborted babies. Does the library defend intellectual freedom then?
The point here, I think, is that you can’t claim to support intellectual freedom unless you can support the freedom of someone opposed to your point of view to express theirs. If you get hot and bothered when I say Sarah Palin is the greatest thing to hit the political landscape in 50 years, then I suggest you’re not there yet. I suggest to you that “intellectual freedom” in libraries is a sad, sad joke.
I say that from experience.”
by mick August 3, 2010 at 12:53 am
This comment expresses a problem that I have felt for the 40 years I have been in the library profession. Quite simply, the library profession is overwhelmingly liberal, and it does not tolerate conservative viewpoints and conservative librarians. I have always felt that this intolerance has been a disgrace to our profession.
I have never understood why this is the case. I have never understood why liberal politician after liberal politician is invited to speak at ALA conferences, and conservative speakers never are. Can you imagine Sarah Palin or Rush Limbaugh ever speaking at ALA? I can’t see ALA ever inviting them, but the Al Gores of the world are always invited. Why?
Many of you may be liberal. That’s fine. You’re entitled to your point of view. But isn’t the conservative librarian due some respect also?
Personally, I’m independent. I favor some conservative policies (right to life, fiscal reform, and filtering children’s room computers) and some liberal policies (gun control, universal health care, and gay rights). Okay, now that I have antagonized everyone on the political spectrum, let me say that my views are a product of the full airing out of issues that intellectual freedom provides. I retain the freedom to choose and to espouse my political views, and I refuse to allow the A.L.A. and it’s stifling atmosphere of political correctness to dictate my values. That’s why I have developed a master plan to run for A.L.A. President. I’d love to shake the organization up and make it practice what it preaches when it comes to intellectual freedom.
I love to watch two skilled debaters go at it and then decide on the merits of the arguments which side is preferable. For that reason, I’m glad Fox News exists to present a perspective that differs from the run of the mill liberal media. Diversity of opinion is what makes this country strong. Competition in the marketplace of political ideas is intense…except in the library profession, where you automatically get personally ridiculed or condemned for espousing any conservative ideas. Just ask Mick.
The sad reality is that librarians would rather have their liberal views validated than challenged. There are two problems with this intolerance of conservativism. First, it makes a mockery of our core value of intellectual freedom, and second, it makes it very hard for librarians to set up productive working relationships with the people in the growing conservative movements. We would rather simply condemn the people in the Tea Party movement rather than try to understand them and set up a useful dialog with them. This is very unfortunate because many of these people are working hard to get elected to town boards, county commissions, and state legislatures.
And we wonder why our funding levels are shrinking. It’s not just the economy, stupid. It’s our intolerance.
If this rant of mine turns you off, I’m sorry. This is an issue that has been welling up in me for four decades as a librarian. Mick broke my internal dam of political correctness, and everything has sort of spilled out. He has more courage than I do!
Now it’s your turn, unwinders: Why is there an intolerance for conservative ideas and ideals within the library profession? Why do librarians hate conservatives? It’s your turn to rant.