Why we shouldn’t ban books in New Zealand

I have been waiting around for my brain to kick into gear over the banning of the shooters manifesto in the Christchurch Mosque Shootings. I can understand the banning of the video as watching someone’s pain and suffering is not needed to understand the motivation behind it, at least not for me. At the time I said,

The people who knowingly watched the video, even worse shared it, or (even worse) enjoyed it need to sit down and think about who they are. If they don’t feel horrified then possibly they should call a helpline to see if they need help (Warning: there are trackers on the Healthline page. Use tor).

Slashdot

But the banning of a book irks me and it wasn’t until I was reading an NPR article today that I came up with a logical reason. The article said,

“These acts of violence we’ve seen recently — Tree of Life synagogue [in Pittsburgh], the recent events in California, international events like in Christchurch in New Zealand. I mean, these are white supremacists.”

NPR, Politics Shape The Debate Over What To Call Far-Right Extremism

And I went, how do I know they are white supremacists? For all I know, the guy who killed a whole lot of people in Christchurch just didn’t like Muslims. That may make him whack job, but it doesn’t make him a white supremacist. And all the things that prove he is a white supremacist have been banned.

Imagine I am arguing with someone over the Christchurch Massacre and I say,

“White supremacy is at fault.”

and they say,

“No, it isn’t. He was’t a white supremacist. I have read his manifesto.”

Then I have a bit of a problem because that person has access to a greater amount of knowledge than I do. Plus, there is no way I can prove or disprove the assertion because I am unable to access the manifesto without facing ten years in prison.

If I do a search, such as this, for commentary of the manifesto then yet again I am faced with two things,

  • Clicking one of the links may get me imprisoned, or
  • I am forced to trust an intermediary

For me this is a reasonable reason not to go banning books. Banning books allows the rewriting of history. Was he really a white supremacist? I don’t know and now, at least in New Zealand, there is no way you can prove he was or wasn’t without risking imprisonment.

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