By the time the PC Police are done, our nation’s children will not know any Confederate soldier’s name, will have no idea of the depth and brilliance of Mark Twain’s novels, will be informed that the Bible was an old book used by the patriarchy to keep women and black people down, and that the Constitution was written on a foundation of genocide and white privilege. Does that about cover it?
When in history has a country decided to despise itself the way America is beginning to in the 21st Century?
The latest victim of political correctness is Laura Ingalls Wilder, the woman who authored numerous “Little House on the Prairie” books about her pastoral childhood. The books, of course, were the inspiration for a TV series that plays in syndication to this day – the kind of wholesome family show that you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere on the dial in the modern market. In more ways than one, “Little House” is a testament to an earlier, better time.
Notice that we did not say a “perfect” time, because there never existed any such thing. And we don’t deny that there were things about the “Prairie” era – as well as the era in which Wilder wrote the books – that were what the left likes to call problematic. The same is true of literally everything that has ever been written, including things the left holds up to be shining examples of progressive literature to this very day. You don’t think that, in a generation or two, the even-further-left liberals will take a look at some of the stuff championed by today’s progressives and find fault? You must be kidding yourself. Does that make today’s stuff evil? Of course not. You cannot judge your own era by the norms and cultural values of a future era.
Nor does it make much sense to go back and begin erasing history that we’re no longer comfortable with.
Last week, the Association of Library Services for Children decided to strip Wilder’s name from a book award the organization has awarded to writers since 1954. “Wilder’s legacy,” they wrote in explaining the decision, “includes expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC’s core values of inclusiveness, integrity and respect, and responsiveness.”
So, er, what does that mean?
The novels, they note, include “statements by white character portraying Native Americans as dirty, lazy, and dangerous.”
We notice the ALSC did not include, in their list of values, one simple trait: Honesty. And honesty is what great literature is all about. Should Wilder have written books that ignored or whitewashed the “admittedly stereotypical” attitudes expressed by the men of her era? Would that have produced literature more in line with what the ALSC is looking for?
Wilder was not writing these books as propaganda against Native Americans. She was reflecting the mood of the time and covering issues that were highly divisive and debatable in her era. Without the honesty she injected into the books, all the power of those novels would be lost.
But apparently that’s preferable to the possibility that someone, somewhere might accidentally read something that offends them. We can’t have that.