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Old 07-30-2008, 12:02 PM
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Lightbulb Book Burning

Is wholesale book burning a crime against humanity?

Judging from free speech , a decent majority would think book burning is a bad thing. The thought of a book bonfire stokes images of Nazis or Communists or people debating over harry potter. But is it a horrible thing?

It's more or less scraps of paper. Dangerous scraps if it's something like the Mein Kampf, The Turner Diaries, or the Anarchist Cookbook. It doesn't matter how rambling, outdated, or insane the ideas are. They're symbols against the prevailing order. It worked to create fanatics before. Who says it won't work again?

Chinese emperors recognized this thousands of years ago, and civilization turned out fine. How is it a crime against humanity if humanity exists?

Some would say that it would hurt humanity's progress, but that's assuming only good ideas will triumph. Books can be used either way. Is it that bad if we got rid ourselves of anything nuclear, and destroyed the plans to build them?

So how horrible is it to eliminate some books, whether deliberate or mistakenly? Destroying copies of Anne Frank's diary doesn't change the fact that she's dead.

Yes? No? Not if they're destructive or harmful? Only if people found out?

I am for one would go both ways on this though. if this is to controversial im sorry. its been on my mind for a while
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Old 07-30-2008, 12:08 PM
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I'm not sure that the destruction of hard copy books has the meaning or effect that it did back in the 1930's during the most famous of the book burnings by the Nazis.

If books are no longer needed for communication in the amounts that we still need them today, a better alternative rather than burning, is landfills. Lots of cellulose in those books, and they might make great landfill material.

In Larry Nivens sci-fi masterpiece series "Tales of Known Space", in the 22nd century books are shredded and used as insulation in colonies in the Asteroid Belt and on Luna.
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Old 07-30-2008, 12:14 PM
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Who is to judge what is "harmful" ?? Deciding what other people should read/think is a dangerous business. You could never get rid of the knowledge of how to build a nuclear bomb without also getting rid of nuclear power and some medical technology too. Nuclear powered ships would have to go back to fossil fuels until an alternative could be found.

Books=knowledge, and knowledge= power.

And as far as Mein Kamph goes, how can we teach the evils of the Third Reich if we can't prove it existed? Then the Holocaust Deniers would have an easier time of it!
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Old 07-30-2008, 12:19 PM
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my take on this thread is that it is a discussion of "burning books", so that implies paper books. with the coming of new technolgies, paperproduct books may become museum collector pieces, and information about say "Mein Kampf" or any other subject is kept on electronic devices which take up less room per book. if that is correct, then paperproduct books could be used as landfill material, insulation material, etc.

I am not enthusiastic about the wholesale burning of paperbooks, simply as that is unnecessary pollution.
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Old 07-30-2008, 12:20 PM
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very true indeed. So many people look at various forms of
literature as harmful which drives me crazy.

I wont get into the harry potter part since it deals with religion but that just made me laugh and furious at the same time because people can be so damn ignorant of nothing.
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Old 07-30-2008, 12:35 PM
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I think if the goal is "elimination of this type of thinking" then "book burning" whether a real bonfire or the elimination of computer copies is a bad concept. If it's just a matter of something that needs to be disposed of, then pick the best method and dispose of it.
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Old 07-30-2008, 12:42 PM
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that is a good point about electronic deletion on the part of censors, that would probably be easier to accomplish and more secretive than wholesale book burning.

perhaps the inevitable switching to the more convenient electronic format, makes us more vulnerable to censors.

perhaps hard copies of all books need to be kept.
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Old 07-30-2008, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by medusapartner View Post
my take on this thread is that it is a discussion of "burning books", so that implies paper books. with the coming of new technolgies, paperproduct books may become museum collector pieces, and information about say "Mein Kampf" or any other subject is kept on electronic devices which take up less room per book. if that is correct, then paperproduct books could be used as landfill material, insulation material, etc.

I am not enthusiastic about the wholesale burning of paperbooks, simply as that is unnecessary pollution.
In that case, as long as we keep the information somewhere, burn em, bury em, heat your house with em, whatever. (I'd keep a paper copy or 2 just in case, cause who knows when some giant EMP would erase them all!)
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Old 07-30-2008, 12:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elizadolots View Post
I think if the goal is "elimination of this type of thinking" then "book burning" whether a real bonfire or the elimination of computer copies is a bad concept. If it's just a matter of something that needs to be disposed of, then pick the best method and dispose of it.
Yupp. The thing about the burning of books by the Nazis was not about burning a pile of books. It was about banning the books from the market completely or not allowing certain authors to publish any books or texts at all.

The actual burning of the books was just an inszenated propaganda picture for abandoning freedom of speech. It made it look as if the german people themselves agreed on geting rid of that freedom and wanted to "clean" their culture from "harmfull" thoughts (the 1930ies where absolutely obsessed with anything about hygiene).
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Old 07-30-2008, 01:00 PM
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I would agree with that argument. If the burning is part of a censorship campaign, or one group attempting to ban or restrict what other's have access to for whatever the reason that's totally different to say burning unsold copies for fuel or as part of a recycling effort etc. The former I wholeheartedly oppose, as I think most people would, but the latter I'm fine with.

I couldn't care less what individual people want banned, that kind of thinking only becomes dangerous if it extends through the whole society - like nazi Germany.

Technology wise though I'm not a fan of these electronic book technologies being developed, I'd much rather smell the paper and feel it in my hands than just look at a screen.
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