Thursday, June 01, 2006

Annoyed Librarian American Libraries Column #1: ALA versus the Boy Scouts

The Annoyed Librarian admits she lives in a fantasy world, and trust me, baby, it's a lot more exciting than the real one. And in this fantasy world, the Annoyed Librarian has her own American Libraries column! See, I told you it was exciting! For an experiment, I'm going to try on the first of every month for one year to write a non-satirical piece that would be my column in American Libraries, if they dared to publish it. You hear that, ALA?

There'll be some funnier stuff tomorrow. Well, maybe it'll be funny.

ALA versus the Boy Scouts

ALA Annual 2006 in New Orleans is just around the corner. I’m already looking forward to kicking back with a few Hurricanes at Pat O’Briens (if they still serve a drink called that after last year) and sweating like the pig I am in the noxious heat. Oh, and maybe attending a few really exciting talks and committee meetings.

But ALA Annual also means that the ALA Council will be meeting, and you know what happens when they come together—the passing of irrelevant leftist political resolutions under the aegis of the American Library Association. (And there's no telling what that pesky SRRT will be up to.)

From what I’ve heard, possible irrelevant resolutions coming up this time are resolutions against libraries associating with the Boy Scouts and for impeaching President Bush. I’m going to ignore the possible resolution for impeaching President Bush, because there’s no need to make an argument against it. It has absolutely nothing to do with libraries, and if it’s even brought up for consideration it will be because members of the council want the backing of the ALA for their entirely personal political views. Shameful, yes, but completely irrational and therefore incapable of refutation.

But what about the Boy Scouts?

The leftists on the Council (and scads of leftists throughout the organization) don’t like the Boy Scouts because they exclude atheists, agnostics, and homosexuals. It should also be pointed out that the Boy Scouts exclude girls. If some 8-year-old boy wants to join the Boy Scouts, I think they drag him into a room and demand to know if he’s an atheist, or an agnostic, or a homosexual, or a girl. Just in case he doesn’t understand all the terms, they also ask if he’s a pansy or plays with dollies or likes people who hate God. If he says no, then he’s in.

This does seem like an absurd scenario. I’m trying to imagine some little boy who wants to join the Scouts so he can go camping or learn to tie knots or whatever it is they do and being offended by the code of the Scouts. But of course it’s not the little boys who are offended. And it’s not the parents who are offended. It’s the leftists who are offended that any organization they don’t approve of might actually exist and do good things and that someone might want to be a part of it.

How is this related to libraries? Well, some say, libraries shouldn’t show any support for groups that exclude people based on their religion or sexual orientation. That’s a plausible argument. But would the same people object to libraries participating with groups that exclude people based on their religion if the group was anti-Christian? And what about their politics? Would they object to groups that excluded people based on their political preferences if those preferences were conservative? Somehow I doubt it. All groups exclude people for some reason. The ALA Council should know all about that.

One premise of the leftist rationalization against the Boy Scouts is that libraries shouldn’t have anything to do with any Christian groups, or any religious groups for that matter. This does not in fact mean that libraries should be neutral, but that they should be specifically anti-Christian, and for that matter anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim. Should some small-town public library be excluded from participating in any programs with a local church youth group because that youth group by definition excludes non-Christians? What about with a synagogue that excludes non-Jews? Or a mosque that excludes non-Muslims? Would that really make sense? I needn’t point out that a Muslim group would most likely exclude homosexuals as well.

Perhaps the ALA Council should go even further. Perhaps they should vote that libraries shouldn't even be allowed to hire any Christians or Muslims. After all, if a librarian is a Christian, she would automatically believe that Muslims are wrong about religion, and vice versa. By hiring Christian or Muslim librarians, wouldn't that be saying that the library supported people who excluded the worldview of other people? Imagine, library funds in the form of salaries going to people like conservative Christians or Muslims who might think that it's wrong to be an atheist or anything else against their religion. This is scandalous!

Better yet, perhaps libraries should refuse entry to Christian, Muslims, opponents of gay marriage, and anyone else who doesn't support the leftist agenda of the radical librarians. We don't want those people around. They might infect us with their neolithic ideas.

But of course the anti-Boy Scout librarians don't want to disassociate themselves completely from Christians, Boy Scouts, or their supporters. No, they definitely want to take their money through taxation to support the numerous programs that such benighted citizens ordinarily would be horrified to pay for.

I suspect the real thinking behind such resolutions is something like this: We “progressive” librarians don’t want libraries having anything to do with groups that don’t support our leftist political agenda 100%. We don’t tolerate disagreement, because “intellectual freedom” means the freedom to think like us.


Bunny Watson said...

We don’t tolerate disagreement, because “intellectual freedom” means the freedom to think like us.

Amen. My biggest beef with leftists is their belief that not only are people who disagree with them wrong, but that they're evil. So much for "dialogue" - they don't need to have a dialogue with a group that's evil.

Michael A. Golrick said...

Boy Scouts don't discriminate against agnostics. I know because I am a leader, and am on Council, and have appeared at a Council meeting in my scout uniform.

Unfortunately, American Libraries does not go back far enough with the PDF files, but look for the August or September issue in 1998, and I am there.

Annoyed Librarian said...

The Annoyed Librarian stands corrected! I also don't think you're a pedophile!

However, the question I was addressing is from the AL Direct Poll, and I quote:
"April 12
Should the Boy Scouts of America’s policy of excluding agnostics, atheists, and gays prohibit libraries from cooperating with the organization in joint programs?" said...

AL, Scoutmaster Golrick:

The ALA Midwinter is January 2008 in Philadelphia, the very city kicking out the Boy Scouts for exercising First Amendment rights the ALA claims to defend. I have demanded the ALA take action in support of the Boy Scouts. See ALA Midwinter Preview 2008: Programs and Play, Library Journal, 12/15/2007, and specifically in my comment thereto.

What do you think?