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Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Library

There was an interesting blog post on the LRC blog this morning.  Here's a key quote: "I chose three books from the meager selection of science books and proceeded to checkout. The clerk scanned my library card and told me he would have to confiscate it. It was no longer valid. He told me that to get a new card that I would have to bring in a utility bill postmarked in the last thirty days and a state approved picture ID. Remember I have had a library card continuously for over 55 years. I have lived in the same house in this town for 32 years, and I have checked out more than 10,000 books from this library in my lifetime, without incident. I was the former chairman of Friends of the Library. To no avail. I was informed that Homeland Security requires these new rules. It is interesting to me that the library, which removed all the old pockets which showed previous borrowers and which might help a patron find another person of common interests, and which removed these supposedly in the name of privacy, now requires a scannable ID from a continuous user of over 55 years."

There are two fundamental concepts in this quote.  The first is that the process of bureaucratization dehumanizes people.  Here is an old man who has lived in the same Rust Belt town for decades, and he has to 'prove' who he is.  This is not a natural state for human interaction.  The bureaucrat cannot think outside the box - he must follow the protocol on the paper and must not deviate from the plan.  The second is that these orders come from 'Homeland Security'.   The name of that bureaucracy should give an historically literate reader pause.  Also, what do library habits have to do with 'security'?  Here you have the justification for information gathering regarding American citizens under the Bill of Rights in the name of 'security'.  This is not freedom.

Here's Benjamin Franklin: "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

The post also lamented about the poor state of the science section in the library.  The NY Times bestseller section was well kept, as were the DVD's and the audiobooks.  "I was shocked by the lack of periodicals, but I thought that, perhaps, it was because of the prevalence of the internet, and they were no longer needed. I was more shocked when I found that all of the old first editions which I had read as a child and the old bound magazines going back to the 1870s were no longer there. They had been in the library for over 100 years. It is a grand old Carnegie library built in 1905. I was told by a librarian that they discarded them because they wanted the shelves to look better with only new books. Of course, the old classics were no longer there in a new form either, be they science or literature."

This is how bureaucracy dumbs down a people.  The only block to this is a populace, an electorate, a people who are independent thinkers, logically sound and critical of authority.  This old man shows my premise that the older, more rigorous schools were superior, and the citizens they produced recognized it when their freedoms were infringed upon.  I'm not so sure we recognize this today.  Go here for the old periodicals.  I recommend the Mencken articles in the American Mercury.

Here's your right to privacy - it's also known as the 4th amendment.  "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."  Think about this when you hear a pundit or a politician talking about a "living constitution".  They are not your ally.

Here's the rulebook.  It's a pretty good one to follow.

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