Book Burning

I was reminded by The Times photo of Yuba City residents burning copies of Rand McNally publications of the book-burning rites earlier this century, which ushered in years of global nightmare for humanity. Surely the townspeople could have devised a more effective and tasteful way to protest "the low rating" their community received in a Rand McNally survey.

It is a dangerous superstition--and in direct opposition to some of this land's most cherished liberties--that we can destroy an idea by destroying documents that express or symbolize it. What we choose to print, even "Mein Kampf" itself, becomes a part in our invaluable record of errors and triumphs. How can we possibly learn from the past by reducing books and maps to ashes?


Los Angeles

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