Hello.... Hi there... I'm Cynthia Gee, and I'm creating this as a mirror of my other CommonSense blog at HomeschoolBlogger. I am copying the first several articles from over there, and moving them here in their entirety, complete with reader's comments. So if you see your comment HERE, and remember posting it over THERE, relax. You're sane.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

What Godliness Does NOT Look Like, Part II: On the Abolition of Knowledge

Speaking of limiting godliness to the privileged classes, "check out" the latter parts of this discussion, on libraries:

In accordance with blog owner Carmon's gracious request, I am re-posting the article from her blog, "Buried Treasure Books", below, complete with comments:

So, Let’s Have a Little Talk

Friday, April 13 2007 -- Filed under: Books Homeschooling— —
Carmon @ 9:49 pm

When Steve and I were in southern Oregon last week, we just happened to be there on the day the libraries closed. In what is known as “second coming type” (i.e., REALLY BIG PRINT), the headlines blared:


I’m glad nobody knew that I had been interviewed last month on the local talk radio station about alternatives to government funded libraries. I would have probably been run out of town on a rail (or had to leave in the middle of the night on the milk train, like in a Wodehouse tale).

Because the local libraries had depended for a long time on federal timber subsidies to fund them, when the subsidies stopped there wasn’t enough money for the doors to stay open. A bond measure to make up the shortfall was defeated—part of the county is very liberal (think Santa Cruz or Marin County) and part is moderately conservative. This is not exactly a liberal/conservative issue, as plenty of conservatives feel strongly that government funded libraries are in the same league with baseball and apple pie. But apathy is king everywhere, so maybe some fed-up senior citizens on fixed incomes went out in the winter weather to vote “nay,” to try to hang on to more of their small pensions, while the lazy folks didn’t bother to vote that day. Another vote is scheduled for next month. Judging by the “Save Our Libraries” bumper stickers and posters we saw, I think there will be a bigger turnout next time.

The front page stories in the newspaper we picked up were entirely devoted to the “tragedy” of the libraries closing. You would have thought there was no other place to obtain books and that western civilzation was coming to an end as ignorance and illiteracy had won the day. Several homeschoolers were quoted in the paper. One of these homeschoolers said, “China has libraries. Third-world countries have libraries. Prisons have libraries. Now we don’t have libraries.” But we also still have the freedom, not available to most people in those places, to buy our own books. They also mentioned that they are now collecting books and talking to other homeschoolers about swapping books.

I still dream of starting a community private library. I have a library in my home and I have started a library at my church. Someday, maybe it will happen and I will “branch out” (tee hee). What I want to know is: What are the things that would appeal to you in such a library? What draws you to the public library? Do you think a private library could meet those needs? Do you have any ideas for how such a place might be used for Christian outreach in a community?

I’m not asking for everyone to agree with me here. I used to use the public library for many years. I am just trying to think through what the possibilities are for an alternative. This was brought to mind once again as I read a story today in the Christian Science Monitor about membership libraries, and as I recently read Sherry’s review (she was agin’ it) of an award-winning young adult fiction book which is so trashy that it’s shocking, and yes, it’s in my county library system.

I have a new poll in the sidebar to go with this discussion. And before I go, here’s your poetry vitamin for the day. It is a very easy one to swallow:

Books To the Ceiling
by Arnold Lobel

Books to the ceiling
Books to the sky
My piles of books are a mile high
How I love them
How I need them
I’ll have a long beard
by the time I read them.

26 Responses to “So, Let’s Have a Little Talk”
jennifer Says: April 13th, 2007 at 10:32 pm
Wow, the pictures of the Athenaeum are inspiring. I think a beautiful building with books of high quality in good condition would be a real draw… people would feel that they are upgrading by paying.
Going to the public library is sort of like going to the mall for me… you avert your eyes often, and you just find what you came for and leave. But a place that actively promoted thinking and noble thoughts and virtues… where you would look forward to engaging someone in conversation because it would be thoughful and meaningful… that would be something. And how could that *not* be a Christian outreach?

Karen Glass Says: April 13th, 2007 at 10:44 pm
I am not against the idea of paid subscription libraries–I have taken advantage of that idea myself to borrow books from the foreign-language libraries in Krakow where I live. I don’t think I am entirely opposed to the idea of tax-funded libraries, either, and I have taken advantages of them as well.
Few of us can afford to actually buy all the books we care to read, and sometimes, it seems a waste of money to pay for a book you only plan to read once (and not keep) or a book you only want to consult for specific information. However they are funded, centralized libraries serve a purpose that cannot be entirely duplicated by a home library.
If I lived in the US, I would happily pay to use a private library if there were a good reason to do so. Some things I would look for:
1. A generous checkout time.
2. Up-to-date computerized card catalog, with online access and reservations. (I would rather have this than longer hours of operation.)
3. Access to new releases. This is one of the things I appreciate about libraries–they let me look at a new book or read a new author before I spend my own money on it. I would prefer to do my own censoring, rather than have someone else decide for me. I realize no library can buy every single new book, of course, but I probably wouldn’t pay a subscription to a library that didn’t buy new releases.
4. Alternatively, if a library existed for an exclusive purpose–such as offering older books that have been discarded or specifically Christian books (like a church library) and are unavailable in public libraries, I might subscribe. However, such a private library would be no substitute for the public library if it didn’t offer new books and a selection of periodicals.
That’s all I can think of at the moment. It’s hard to make general assertions, but whether or not I pay the library subscription depends entirely on the circumstances at hand. In short, would this library supply the demands I have for a library, or at least enough of them to make it worth the money? My library here in Krakow doesn’t meet all my needs, but it’s still worth my time and money because it is a source of English books, even if they don’t buy new releases.
5. It just occurred to me that a private library, particularly a more focused one, might also incorporate a “recommendations” system. I love the information at Amazon that tells me, “People who bought the same book you bought ALSO bought this book or author.” I enjoy those suggestions, and if a private library, with its more exclusive group of patrons, could incorporate a suggestion system like that, it would be a big draw.
I don’t know how practical the whole idea is, but you can see that I’m intrigued by the possibilities.

Dana Says: April 14th, 2007 at 3:58 am
I thought of you when I read that Christian Science Monitor article yesterday and wish you the best in your entreprenurial endeavor.
Now I’m off to find the closest membership library in my area
Dana in GA Says: April 14th, 2007 at 4:53 am
I have mixed feelings about the two libraries near me (the big “county” library and the one near the University).
My son and I both do volunteer work for the County library and I’ve been asked to help with sorting at the library near the University (sorting through books given to the library, preparing for book sales).
I have to that I “use” the library, I go there for books I may not want to purchase. I use their Interlibrary loan for out of print books I need but can’t locate. I even use them for free DVDs.
But…I don’t depend on them at all for my reading. I’ve spent years (and years) building my own home library, doing my own research as to books, never depending on the government funded libraries. I especially found them to be dismal when it came to reading and programs for my children. The only good recommendation that came out of the County library was for the Hank the Cowdog books (and I already knew about them through a homeschool book).
I actually volunteer at the library to be Salt and Light. As far as I can tell, I’m the only evangelical Christian among all the volunteers I’ve met. They adore my son, which has helped their opinion of homeschoolers, too. That’s why I’m thinking of helping sort at the library near the University. For most of these people have rather unusual ideas about Christians in general and homeschoolers in particular. They need to know us rather than read about us in unflattering publications.
As for depending on libraries…I’d rather depend on the one in my own home!
Okay, now you’ve gone and done it. I’ll be thinking of this all day today.

Cheryl (Copper's Wife) Says: April 14th, 2007 at 10:12 am
I’ve not used our public libraries much at all for the past several years. Several reasons for that - 1) About ten years ago there was a HUGE purging of the juvenile section. Lots of classic children’s books were removed, lots of good non-fiction pulled, and the reference section was reduced to one set of children’s encyclopedias. On our next visit we found shelves and shelves of Goosebumps (they were new and popular then, but still shelves and shelves for one series?). The shelves have since been filled with what is popular and not what is enduring. 2) The juvenile non-fiction books in one of the libraries closest to my home were combined with the adult non-fiction, not the best situation for allowing a child to “browse” for books on any topic. 3) We were increasingly finding that books we brought home had been vandalized, torn, or otherwise damaged and then returned. We faithfullly reported these damages as we returned the books, but it soon began to appear to the librarians that we must be the ones doing the damage since we were the ones reporting it. 4) The libraries in our area were increasingly becoming the “hang out” for the high school kids. Don’t get me wrong! I have nothing against the high schoolers (or anyone for that matter) being at the library. However, these students are loud and use inappropriate language. They overtake not only the adult sections of the library, but pour their young adult frames into the smaller children’s chairs as well. They make out (is that still a working term???) between the stacks. Ugh!! Not a place I want to be, and definitely not a place I want to take my boys. 5) My daughter, Dani, still ventures into one of our public libraries about once a month. However, she quite often comes home empty handed. The shelves are in such disarray that it is impossible to find the book she is looking for despite the system reporting it as being “on shelf”.The only time I use the public library system now is when I (rarely) request a book on line and have it sent to a near-by branch. I can then just head in to the desk, pick it up and be on my way.So, what’s the answer? We have, of course, been building our home library. I buy books with every paycheck. However, as Karen mentioned above, I cannot buy every book that I’d like to have in our library; and it is hard to know what is worthy of purchase in the new releases. I read the on line reviews and do my best, but that can only go so far. My goal, though not as lofty as yours, Carmon, is to continue to build our home library so that I have something to offer my children’s children. I’m building our home library for future generations of my own family.However, I would definitely pay to use a subscription/private library. I think that it would be a lovely change of pace. For one thing, actually paying to use the service would, perhaps, give the subscribers a sense of ownership and the books would be handled more carefully. I like Karen’s idea of an online catalogue and, perhaps, a recommendations area as well; but in the past we have enjoyed just browsing the shelves of books and discovering something new that way. While such a private library might be small, it would be wonderful if there were comfy chairs and areas for sitting comfotably while reading. I think a librarian who was not afraid to “shhh” those who were getting too loud would be a nice touch, too!Yes, I think that a private community library would definitely be able to serve as a Christian outreach. The folks who ran it would, of course, have the most to do with the way this was brought about; but the library itself, simply through what was on the shelves and what was NOT on the shelves, could also reflect Christ.Well, I’ve been very long-winded on a Saturday morning…..this is sort of a hot-button for me, and one I’ve not totally figured out in my own mind. Thanks for keeping me thinking……..I’ll echo Brenda here “Now you’ve gone and done it. I’ll be thinking of this all day today.”!!!!

Renee Says: April 14th, 2007 at 11:31 am
We haven’t used our city’s library very much since Bryce and I graduated from the children’s section, where we did research for homeschool projects. Since then, I couldn’t find any history books from a Christian perspective, and, not being as interested in classics then as I am now, I didn’t like their fiction selection either. Sure, we checked out some other books: geographical books or cookbooks or poetry books, and some others. It didn’t help our impression when the library sold the set of ten Kent Hovind creation videos that we donated to them. In our small town now, I think I have read the three books that I will ever want to read from there, as there are hardly any good books.
While the larger library does have a few useful things, the smaller one does not. Smaller libraries should, rather, have the best they can get, because of their small selection! I’m sure they are catering to what most people want, but it doesn’t offer a very wide variety for those outside that demographic. What are libraries for, to help people read good books that they might not spend the money on buying, or to provide the same paperback novels that are sold cheaply in any number of places?
Thinking about what I would like in a library, well, books on good, profitable subjects! Not so much fiction as is usually displayed, or, at least more classic literature. Classic books on different subjects–and meaty books that are helpful for research. Biographies of significant people (even if they aren’t Christians). I can look on Amazon and find dozens of informative, in-depth books that look interesting, but nothing at our libraries does.

Brandy Says: April 14th, 2007 at 12:53 pm
I think that what I would find most important in a private library would actually be a good librarian. For instance, my four-year-old is an avid reader. I have a difficult time finding books that are challenging for him to read that I think are appropriate in content for his young age. A librarian that understood (and a public librarian typically wouldn’t, for public libraries tend to think that reading something is more important than reading good things, would be a great resource for me.
Also, when I was in my late teens, I was drawn to libraries in general because they contained good resources for research I was doing. I know other commenters already mentioned research capabilities. I agree.

Marza Says: April 14th, 2007 at 4:01 pm
Libraries, libraries, how do I love thee?
When I was a child, there was a terrific public library in the next town over. It was a haul, longer than I can imagine any child walking today (or their parents allowing them to) but I trudged there on a regular basis. When I got a little older, I could take the train - less exercise, but increased the weight of books I could bring home.
I don’t particularly remember taking out childrens’ books, although I’m sure I must have started out there. When I got permission from my mother (and the librarians’ trust), I could take out books from any section I wanted to. I was a child of enthusiasms so I’m sure the list of books I’d borrowed must have seemed rather strange. I remember during my horticulture period taking out a huge, beautifully illustrated book on roses. I’m sure it was rather expensive for the time, so if I’d asked for it for a gift, it would have taken a big chunk out of my birthday money, and of course that enthusiasm waned. Being able to take it out of the library exactly fitted my needs.
Strangely, I don’t belong to a local library now. I want to say it’s because I live in a city, so it’s different, but I have been in several of the libraries here and there’s nothing wrong with them. I just don’t use them.
I’d say I get half of my books on-line and the other half at bricks and mortar stores now. But, I still find public libraries very useful. A couple of years ago I went off to swim camp for a week. I packed several books, but of course none of them turned out to be ones I liked. There wasn’t much to do when we weren’t swimming, but the town had a nice, little library that not only provided free internet access, but also gave out of towners borrowing privileges for a small fee. Same thing when I go visit my nephew.
The other thing I find libraries useful for - they’re a great place to wait. I do volunteer work - much of it in a neighboring city -and to make sure that I’m not late, I usually end up getting to places way too early. Some places I can go in and just set up early, but other times that would be weird or I’m waiting for someone to unlock the door. Sometimes that means I just end up sitting in my car, which is not all that comfortable (I don’t think “comfortable” was high on the design priorties sheet). However, if I’ve planned in advance, I might be able to go to a local library to wait. Some of them have free wifi, so I can check my email and the news. If not, I can pick up a book at random to see if it’s something I’m interested in. Or, I can just spread out my stuff comfortably and review my notes while I wait. Yes, I could do that in an internet cafe or similar, but why buy a tea or a plate of falafel that I don’t really want just to have someplace to sit?
Oh, and public libraries have bathrooms. This can be a very nice thing when you’re in a different town.

Molly with Two Mills Says: April 14th, 2007 at 4:09 pm
I love the idea of a cozy private library with overstuffed chairs and sofas where you can browse the shelves and then sit down to read and possibly get discussing (quietly) the realm of ideas with the patron subscriber next to you, or hear that person’s reading recommendations. Very inviting and stimulating atmosphere!
We still use the public library, and I enjoy its plethora of geography, science, some fiction and Cynthia Rylant books, and biographical books, also the Caldecott and Newbury books sections. My oldest is 10 so we remain down in the extensive children’s floor. That said, this whole concept and new historical awareness of the private library has the wheels turning, grinding against my frequent use of the public library. I am not ready to give up the public library yet for all its resources, yet, logically, the Constitution does not provide for the government using our money for providing reading material. Truly, it is best left lawfully to the private sector, where there is ownership, accountability, and local and vested intimacy with the clientele.
So, how do I go about accumulating enough books to get one going? My first idea is to pool resources with about 3-5 other interest book lovers and open up a room-sized establishment, growing the collection and clientele little by little through diligence. I picture a room with big chairs facing this way and that, centered around various coffee tables (okay-about 2 or 3 in this “room”), with a bookshelf featuring “These books are said to be awesome!” or/and “These books address hot button issues of the day” and “Conservative thought/issues”. I’d have Ansers in Genesis magazine on the magazine rack along with Above Rubies for women. I’d have an ipod corner to reserve an hour to sit and listen to an mp3. I’d have two different kinds of sweets for sale, 50 cents a cookie or brownie, and a beautiful bowl of fruit. I’d have a simple beautiful flower in a vase on each coffee table to bring God’s creation and glory. I’d have National Geographic magazine on the rack for two reasons: 1)It’s a gorgeous magazine covering areas and issues all over the world, and 2)I’d highlight the liberal thoughts/agenda driving much of the viewpoint, pointing it out for (re-)education and to stimulate possible discussion. I’d have a “featured homeschooling family of the week”, or a “how we run our homeschool day” section, kind of like the Starbucks quotes on their cups. I’d have an incredible poem (-because of its thoughts, word choices and meter/crafting) framed at each table, because one always reads what’s framed at a table, don’t you think? Those who want to contribute an extra $5-10 above the monthly subscription can get first viewing of new books in that month. We’d maybe collect names of interested people by a posted list for those who want to buy a certain book for themselves and then be able to buy it wholesale price because of the bulk interest/payments for the book. Once a week, or maybe the last hour or two every night, I’d have it go to candle-lights if the fire code allowed, on each coffee table to make the most of the evenings soul-and-thought-stirring atmostphere and time of day. Now to find those interested few others and figure out where this is going to be done, and actually how and when I am to pull this off with homeschooling 5 children under 11…. Guess it’ll have to be a family affair somehow… But the atmostphere and like-minded

Molly with Two Mills Says: April 14th, 2007 at 4:11 pm
oops-doorbell rang, but I’ve gone one looooong anyway.
I was just going to reiterate what I said at the very first.

Tammy Says: April 16th, 2007 at 7:05 am
When we lived in Ohio the public library was great.I never had a problem getting a Christian book that I read about on line.We moved to North Carolina about 15 months ago and now I mostly have had to buy the books that I want to read.Also the library is very small so it is loud.So one day I may end up with enough books for a private library.Unfortunatly since we move alot and books are heavy I donate them to the library.

Carmon,you would really dislike what is being next to the library here in Wake Forest.A public health building!!Talk about a waste of money !!

Joyce Says: April 16th, 2007 at 1:31 pm
This was so thought provoking. We live on the end of an eighty mile peninsula. The good news is that our County library system has 6 libraries in the county, the bad news is that we are in a very liberal area and the libraries are proud about their willingness to be tolerant etc.. The children’s section is full of the latest and most acclaimed, often not passing for our families standard, even as a read-aloud where I could skip over certain parts or read what is “grey” and use for discussion. It has become not worth it for my time except for research. We have chosen to buy and are blessed with many many books within our own home which I freely loan out oon request. BTW, if you have any insite on how to maintain a personal library and HOW to get loaned out books back home where they belong, I would love to know it.You are a blessing as always.

Cynthia Gee Says: April 17th, 2007 at 6:29 am
Tammy, I agree. The public libraries that I have used over the years have had all kinds of Christian books, and were willing to order anything that they didn’t have through the inter-library loan system.That’s because publically funded libraries can’t discriminate or refuse to shelve a book just because it’s written from a Christian viewpoint. Private libraries, on the other hand, COULD do that. They are nice in theory in that they do not have to give “equal time” to objectionable books, but that’s a two edged sword - they can also refuse to carry CHRISTIAN material with which they happen to disagree.

And then there’s another consideration. The kids who attend the public health clinic in Wake Forest can visit the library after visiting the doctor for their inoculations, etc., even if their parents don’t have money for a “donation.” Of course, they are probably a bit ill-clothed, and their families may be larger than is seemly, and their English may still need some improvement, so, isn’t it nice that we have PUBLIC libraries for them to use?

Carmon Says: April 17th, 2007 at 7:32 am
Cynthia, you are quite mistaken about public libraries not discriminating. Did you read Renee’s comment above, about donating videos only to have them sold? It happens all the time and every excuse under the sun is given for not allowing certain CHRISTIAN books. It all depends on the librarian who has the authority to pick and choose, and most librarians coming out of the MLS programs are not sympathetic to Christianity, though they are taught the religion of political correctness, which, as Jacques Barzun says, “does not legislate tolerance, it only organizes hatred.” PUBLIC libraries are becoming cesspools full of anti-Christian garbage. They are changing from centers of literary refuge to places that cater to the most prurient tastes and abhorrent types of behavior.
BTW, my home library of thousands of volumes (which I paid for myself, and many volumes were purchased for pennies for my larger than seemly family) contains books on every subject imaginable, including some from viewpoints other than my own for the sake of research and comparison (Marx, Darwin, history, literature, other religions). A private library has no obligation, you are correct, to provide books other than what the proprieter wishes, but the patrons also are not forced to pay for anything they don’t want to pay for…or they can withdraw their patronage. That’s FREEDOM. In a Christian private library, of course, there could also be scholarships for those who wish to use it but don’t have the means.
Your comment on this is very timely as I am writing more on this topic tonight.

Cynthia Gee Says: April 17th, 2007 at 9:10 am
I agree that libraries are *in danger* of becoming cesspools, but maybe I’ve been lucky — I haven’t seen that happening anywhere that I have lived, and I’ve lived in all sorts of places and have been using public libraries for the last 40 years.I have NEVER seen libraries discriminate against Christians or Christian materials — that’s illegal, and if that is happening where you live, you can file a complaint and the problem will be taken care of. That’s how some of the objectionable material gets included in the library, after all– non-Christians who want to see that sort of thing file a complaint if the library discriminates against them. What works for them, will work for Christians.
Of course, if Christians don’t USE public libraries, public libraries will grow more and more secularly minded, until they truly become the cesspools you are describing; and as that happens, the folks who can’t afford to patronize privately owned Christian libraries will have no choice but to make do with those anti-Christian public facilities…

… unless those facilities are abolished, in which case the poor will have to make do with no books at all, other than those given them by private arbiters and conservators of knowledge. In the Middle Ages, that role was filled by the Catholic Church, but Catholics today are no longer much “into” exercising temporal power.
Who is like the medieval Church today, who could take their place?

Carmon Says: April 17th, 2007 at 9:21 am
Cynthia, it is not illegal for them to discriminate when they pick and choose which items to put on the shelves. They make those decisions daily, and if a Christian book doesn’t make the cut, then it’s because of “circulation issues,” or “patron preferences,” or “shelf space.” They are not usually going to cite their bias as the reason for excluding certain books.
As for the “poor” (a loose term…a news story today trumpets the fact that half of all Americans receive some for of welfare payment) patronizing libraries, I’m sure there are some who fit that technical definition who are borrowing books from the public library (as for whether it’s the government’s job to provide free books to anyone, I’ve discussed that before), but the main demographic for library patrons is middle class people who want access to free books, videos, etc. It’s a middle-class entitlement program. There are so many place books are available to anyone who wants them for very little money. Many thrift stores have more books than they can handle, and they sell them for very little money. That’s where I find some of my best books.
What is clear from the scare stories in the paper I cite in this post is that some of those who were upset about the libraries closing were also thinking about alternatives to obtain books and make them avalable to others. If we stop being dependent on the government to provide our reading material (which, if you read your history, does not lead to greater access to knowledge, but less), then people are surprisingly creative at finding other avenues for what they need. But if they don’t need to do this, then they become unsurprisingly dependent on others to give them what they want.

Cynthia Gee Says: April 17th, 2007 at 9:55 am
Carmon, can you back up those claims with verifiable data? Newspapers trumpet all sorts of nonsense, and I see many lower income and elderly patrons at our library.

Personally, I want my government to provide the poor with a means of educating themselves. Otherwise, anyone can come along and tell them anything, and our freedom could be jeopardized. That’s partially how the Communists took power in China and Russia: they killed off the educated folks, including the mainstream Christians, and then brainwashed the uneducated masses with propaganda.
I’d hate to see that happen in America.

Srl Says: April 17th, 2007 at 10:15 am
isn’t it nice that we have PUBLIC libraries for them to use? … Personally, I want my government to provide the poor with a means of educating themselves.

Translation: “Isn’t it nice that the monies to pay for these libraries the kids use are extracted involuntarily from other citizens at gunpoint? I want my government to seize and confiscate property, if it must, in order to provide others with a means of educating themselves with materials chosen by government employees.”

Cynthia Gee Says: April 17th, 2007 at 10:37 am
Confiscated at gunpoint? Where do you live?In this country, communities vote whether or not to allocate funds for libraries, as Carmon’s article, above, points out. Those who don’t like the outcome of such a vote are free to drum up support for their point of view and turn things around if they can, or go live somewhere else.

Really though, it’s a shame and a reproach that non-Christians and atheists are doing better than some Christians when it comes to looking after the poor. Look how some folks resent spending a couple of dollars of their tax money to help provide library books for poor kids, and yet those same folks say that it’s the job of the church and not the government to provide aid to the underprivileged. Perhaps it is, but can we really trust such people to do the job?

I think not, and Jesus Himself had a thing or two to say about that, in Matthew Mat 25:
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done [it] unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done [it] unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did [it] not to one of the least of these, ye did [it] not to me.And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Carmon Says: April 17th, 2007 at 10:46 am
Over half of all Americans “now receive significant income from government programs.” See here.

The way libraries cull materials is very subjective, and tends more toward popular tastes than the idea of being repositories of culture: see here.
The lofty, unrealized goals and purposes of public libraries: see here. “…public libraries finally began to come to terms with their more limited but realistic purpose: to be suppliers of books to the middle class and a symbol of culture in the community” and “‘As long as public libraries regard circulation counts as the primary indicator of their value to the community,’ says Elinor Jo Rodger, President of the Urban Libraries Council, ‘the reality is that we are serving a “reading for pleasure and information” middle class.’”
I must reiterate, however, that even if the libraries solely existed to make books available to “poor” people, from each according to his ability for each according to his need is a very bad idea. I wholeheartedly support all sorts of charitable (i.e., freely and cheerfully given) works, including providing books and education to those who truly need it, but the idea that providing such things apart from Christianity has any value is specious reasoning. The problem is not that people are uneducated. Education is not a cure-all for communism or any other evil. Only Christ and thinking Christianly will give people the ability to fight against any kind of darkness. The poor and undeducated masses can read all the books they want, but that won’t enable them to combat communism or any other “ism,” apart from the truth, which is only found in Christ.

Srl Says: April 17th, 2007 at 10:55 am
I live somewhere where police officers are typically armed, where do you live? If you don’t pay your taxes, said ministers of justice will come and enforce the law. I’m not suggesting that you try it, even if they aren’t armed there, because we of course do have a biblical responsibility to pay tribute to whom tribute is due.
Tax money doesn’t come out of nowhere. So, if you are saying that you want the government to do something, you are saying that you want it to enforce, by all means necessary, the collection of funds to do that something. There are no two ways about it. ( Well, one is always able to make a voluntary contribution if one wants. )

Carmon Says: April 17th, 2007 at 10:59 am
Cynthia, that last quote from the Bible was way out of line and out of context. Jesus was speaking to believing Christians and the church about how they are to minister to others, not advocating a kind of socialism where the government fills needs by confiscating private property. You are making a straw man argument by implying that I advocate keeping certain sectors of society in ignorance and want to withhold education from anyone. I am actually encouraging the church and believers to take responsibility rather than abdicate it to the government, which has no purview for providing free books and internet access with tax dollars.
As for doing it by gunpoint, try opting out of the system. Property taxes are often used to provide for public libraries. If you withhold any of those taxes in protest (do NOT try this at home), the sherriff will be on your doorstep to take away your home. This has actually happened to some people on fixed incomes (such as widows) who were not able to bear the burden of the taxes which go to support some very expensive government-run (with curricula and materials chosen by government employees using very politically correct criteria…and you think we have freedom of information here?) bureaucratic institutions such as libraries and schools. What about caring for widows and orphans?
What I am doing here is drumming up support for my point of view; thank you for permission to do so. I urge everyone to vote no on any future bond measures/property tax levies, and take responsibility in their own communities and homes for acquiring books and providing them for others. I started a library at my church as one way to do this, and I hope someday to do it on a larger scale. I don’t know why that is so threatening. I would think such efforts would be fulfilling doing something for the least of my brethren far more than granting the government the right to pick people’s pockets for entitlement programs which have been proven time and again to be corrupt and ineffective.

Cynthia Gee Says: April 17th, 2007 at 11:08 am
Ah… now I see.
After reading the CSM article, I see that when you said that “a news story today trumpets the fact that half of all Americans receive some for of welfare payment”, you were numbering as welfare recipients all of those people cited in Mr. Schilling’s statistics as “recieving significant income from government programs” and that those numbers include both people on Social Security AND those people earning income WORKING in government jobs!.

That is an interesting take on “welfare”…. and it proves what Twain had to say about statistics.

I’m glad I asked for those sources.

Carmon Says: April 17th, 2007 at 11:11 am
Cynthia, I see that you have been busy trying to drum up controversy elsewhere regarding this, falsely portraying my position as anti-education. Our discussion is at an end here, as I won’t give you a platform for twisting words and false witnessing. One of the good things about the freedom that comes with private ownership is that one does not have to give a platform to everyone’s false ideas. You have my blessing to say whatever you want on your own blog and wherever others are willing to give you a hearing. I think we’ve covered it all.

Cynthia Gee Says: April 17th, 2007 at 11:15 am
Okey dokey Carmon… will do.

Carmon Says: April 17th, 2007 at 11:19 am
By the way, I’m very grateful for the many practical suggestions for what would make a library appealing. I will be saving those (Molly, you outdid yourself!) for future reference if my dream ever becomes a reality.


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