I don't usually do this, but I'm bringing a comment on the last post up to the main page and responding to it, because I think it's an interesting comment that nevertheless mischaracterizes what I'm doing.
Here's an excerpt: "It seems strange that conservatives feel they "should" have more representation, ideologically, than they do now.
Yeah, probably, but you don't.
And that sucks for you. Really, I'm not being an ass. I'd be mad if my professional organization was 180 degrees off my own views."
I'm not accusing the person of being an ass. The full comment is considerate and thoughtful. I just think it's mistaken, at least regarding me. But for anyone who thinks this statement has any relevance to the AL, I can only say, you just don't understand.
I'm not sure from the comment if the commenter is indeed referring to my blog specifically, or some "movement" or what, so I just want to address it as it may or may not apply to the AL.
Let's be clear on something. I've never argued that conservatives should have more representation in ALA. And I've never argued that SRRT political stances are "180 degrees off my own views." What I have consistently argued is that the ALA has no business taking stands on issues unrelated to libraries, whatever the substance of the stand might be.
I don't care tuppence if there are more conservative librarians in ALA. I also don't care tuppence if there are more anarchists, libertarians, or communitarians in ALA. If there was a conservative group to rival the SRRT and they started proposing resolutions about President Bush or the Iraq War, I would be attacking them as mercilessly as I now do the SRRT. My only claim on ALA politics is that the ALA should address library issues where it speaks with authority and expertise, instead of letting itself be hijacked by a group of political ideologues and blowhards into taking public positions on issues that have nothing to do with librarianship.
Careful readers will have noticed that I don't mention my particular political views. Except for the handful of readers who both know me personally and also know I write this blog (and that's a small group indeed!), I doubt any of you could say anything substantial about my political opinions, nor could you say what I think about George Bush, the Iraq War, the Patriot Act, human rights, terrorism, Hillary Clinton, national health care, Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, global warming, or the legalization of marijuana. As some of my frustrated readers have noted, it's just not in the blog, folks. About the only political opinion of any substance I've stated is that I think Marxists are ridiculous. That's hardly a position confined to conservatives. I've only made the observation because it seems irrefutable based on the facts.
Though you might not believe it, I do in fact have carefully considered, historically informed, theoretically nuanced political positions about a wide variety of issues. And I'm not sharing them with you. Sorry, but this is Annoyed Librarian, not Annoyed Citizen. Outside of the context of librarianship, I don't talk about my politics, period, which is why I find it so bizarre when people try to criticize whatever they suppose my political position is rather than addressing my arguments. Some of my opponents absolutely insist on substituting political labels for political thought, and it's no wonder they froth at the mouth and rant and rave. They are incapable of reasoning about politics. They're only capable of political insult. That might work fine on an ideological blog or talk radio program, but I'm having none of it. Whether I'm a liberal or a conservative or an anarcho-syndicalist is irrelevant.
There's nothing particularly "conservative" about my position on the issue of the ALA taking stands on non-library issues. It's only political ideologies that conflate the personal and the political and that politicize all areas of life--that is, totalitarian positions of the right and the left--that I ever specifically criticize. For all you know, I'm an anti-war, anti-Bush, welfare state liberal.
I don't criticize the propriety of the ALA in addressing areas of political concern such as the Patriot Act or CIPA or DOPA, regardless of whether I agree or disagree with the ALA stance on the issue. I have never argued that the ALA should not address larger issues of intellectual freedom. And I have never criticized the personal politics of any librarian who hasn't tried to use the ALA as a mouthpiece for their personal political ideology. To librarians as librarians, liberal or conservative doesn't matter. Unless I'm engaged in these asinine debates with the SRRT, none of these issues ever comes up in my work either in my library or within ALA.
There are a lot of important issues that the ALA should be addressing, from librarian compensation to the issue of library education to intellectual freedom. Having the ALA Council make statements about how we librarians don't like genocide in Darfur, for example, does absolutely nothing to help librarians or the profession of librarianship, but does a lot to make a mockery of serious and tragic issues. Is there some idiot out there that thinks if the ALA passes one of these resolutions, that anyone at all is helped? Or is the purpose just make sure we all feel good and we're all on the side of the angels? "We're such good people! Unlike all those other people who think genocide is just dandy!"
Is there anyone reading this who really thinks I like genocide, or war, or terror, or torture, or oppression, or exploitation, or racism? One difference between me and a lot of anti-conservatives is that I don't think conservatives like these things, either. I'm doing what I can to persuade people that the ALA shouldn't take positions on non-library issues. If you agree with me about this issue, it won't be because you admire my personal politics, whatever those might be. It will be because you think I'm right.