September 29, 2003

Screed of the Day [2:37 pm]

From National Review: Rich Lowry’s The ideological librarians [via Politech/temp link]

This is a truly obnoxious column. The rhetorical twists are particularly nasty. For example:

Librarians have recently let down their hair — usually wrapped in a tight bun, of course — to become some of the most vocal opponents of the Bush administration and the USA Patriot Act, prompting Attorney General John Ashcroft to take a public swipe at them. Librarians now constitute one of the country’s main centers of thoughtless and unreconstructed leftism.

Apparently, Rudy Guiliani had it all figured out, but those nasty librarians undercut the forward march of western civilization:

One way to look at it is this: Rudy Giuliani, in the 1990s, effected a revolution in New York City that became a nationwide model for local governance and reflected a new era of public impatience with disorder — the homeless were told to “move along”; smut was squeezed out to the extent possible; and law enforcement was allowed to do its work mostly unencumbered by PC concerns. Librarians in some communities, reflecting the ideological spirit of the ALA, have managed to maintain oases of old-style pre-Giuliani disorder and licentiousness — vagrants are allowed to treat libraries as quasi-homeless shelters; pornography is available on the computers; and law enforcement is a bugaboo.

[...] As The Washington Post recently reported in a dire article on the effects of library budget cuts, “Librarians say the cuts are hurting homeless people who spend their days in the library.” That this has become a de facto public function of libraries is why they are often associated as much with body odor as with the Dewey Decimal System.

This is acceptable discourse? "If only those mousy, smelly librarians kept those ‘jobless recovery’ vagrants out in the street where they belonged, it would be far simpler to figure out how to find terrorists/WMDs/etc?"

Tragic.

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