Suppressing “Bad Ideas” is a Toehold of Tyranny

The recent ban by a bookseller of Jordan B. Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos highlights the propensity to try to shut down ideas that one doesn’t understand or those ideas that challenge one’s position. Using any tragedy as justification, no matter how disconnected. [Do I smell a Reichstag fire?]

Suppression of “bad ideas” is a toehold of tyranny.

Banning “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos” is a matter of irrational bigotry based on guilt by imaginary association. The objectives and the content of the book are moderating; not polarizing. It’s not food for extremism.

Banning authors based on what others say about the authors is extreme ad hominem argument. (Who is acting like an extremist?) Peterson has broken no laws. Such bans are knee-jerk reactions.

In this case, it’s the bookseller banning the book from its “shelves”. That’s their choice and it won’t stop people finding booksellers who will sell the book. And those customers should be considered lost to the bookseller that is trying to control what their customers can read.

Even if the ideas are bad, works should not be banned. The bad ideas should be exposed to sunlight and addressed by rational argument. People thus armed against bad ideas are more able to reject bad ideas and do not need some institution to tell them what is bad.

The people do not need institutions to tell them what are bad ideas. Nor do adults need to have bad ideas hidden from them. Bad ideas will fester in the dark.

Book bans are an insult to the intelligence of the people and counter-productive in dealing with bad ideas.

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