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J. Kurt Roberts In the digital age, is book-burning all that disturbing?

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J. Kurt Roberts

Posted: Wednesday, September 22, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 6:31 am, Wed Sep 22, 2010.

The burning of books has been going on for about as long as there have been humans with the ability to write or print. Many historians point to the burning of books in 213 B.C. by the first Emperor of the Qin Dynasty, Quin Shi Huang-di, as one of the first great offenses against literature and humanity.

Fast forward to 2010 and book-burning, "or at least a conspiracy to burn books," namely the Quran, again made some quake in their boots. We all know the name of the pistol-packing Florida pastor who made infamous headlines all over the news, so I will not bother to further his unfortunate notoriety by spelling it out.

The good pastor, and I use the term loosely, is obviously an extreme right-wing provocateur with little regard to how the rest of civilized society may view his actions. Some see his actions as a pathetic "look at me" type instigation, seeking only to insult, if not inflame, Muslim sensitivities on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

While I cannot stress enough how much this writer disagrees with the idea of burning books for any reason whatsoever, I must admit that I find the idea of burning books, in this age of computers and digitally-stored texts, prints and passages, a somewhat antiquated, if not quaint, form of protest.

What are books? They are pieces of paper formed from, usually, wood. The thought that printing on that pressed wood, certain letters or characters that then render that bleached wood product to be completely, totally and absolutely sacrosanct ... well, sorry, I just don't see it. Now, if it were in some way an original, or even an ancient copy of said original, I could see how a certain, very large portion of the current human population may become angry, or even incensed.

However, given today's computer age bringing with it a potential to reproduce any text that was pretty much ever printed on a scale that was until 30 to 40 years ago unimaginable, the fuss over burning a few books escapes me.

And somehow I just don't see the media covering some lunatic planning to burn Bibles in Iran or Pakistan to the extent that the Florida sideshow has been covered.

Of course, everyone knows the real reason for all the intense media scrutiny: not wanting to offend the Muslim faith. But if one nut in a small town in Florida has the power to agitate the entire Muslim world to the extent that none other than the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense and the Commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, find it in the nation's best interest to weigh in on the issue, it does not bode well.

This is like giving any moron with access to a match, a camcorder and a computer the power to change the course of America's war on terror. And if that is, in fact, the case, my friends, we should all brace ourselves for an incredibly long attempt to coddle or appease Islam. Either that, or just welcome them to the 21st century, where the free exchange of ideas and information, not censorship, is the goal.

And let's be clear: While the overwhelming majority of Muslims in America are peace-loving, there will always be a very large percentage of Muslims overseas who will always see America as evil, no matter what we do. I, for one, do not intend to live the rest of my days fearing that some idiot somewhere in North America may do something incredibly stupid, post it on YouTube, and then the United States of America will spontaneously combust.

J. Kurt Roberts can be reached at jkurtroberts@att.net.

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Welcome to the discussion.

16 comments:

  • Brian Dockter posted at 9:19 pm on Sat, Oct 2, 2010.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2850

    So long as there is this book [the Koran] there will be no peace in the world" – Prime Minister William Gladstone

     
  • Joshua Hutchison posted at 9:34 am on Wed, Sep 29, 2010.

    Joshua Hutchison Posts: 57

    Digital Rights Management combined with the End User Agreement have allowed companies to delete purchased books right off a device which is privately owned. If we invest all of our reproduction and distribution in digital media, one days a corporation with all the rights of a citizen will be able to legally create a new dark age by deleted all the books we have own. We all need to be aware that the Electronic Freedom Foundation cannot secure our future without strong legal restrictions on what a company is allowed to have us agree to when purchasing a product. If you misuse you Iphone, they can make it useless. If you purchase a book from amazon, they can delete it right off your kindle at their whim. Users of electronic media currently have their freedom to use their devices limited by the corporation who sells devices. Aside from issues related to reverse engineering and intellectual property theft, these corporations need to have limits put on their End-User agreements. If I want to run flash on my Apple product, if I want to scan my own books and put them on my kindle, these should be uses only limited by the device itself.

     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 8:54 am on Sun, Sep 26, 2010.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    More interesting comments of this from leaders in Lodi


    http://www.lodinews.com/religion/article_9b37b9da-b1f6-50e4-bd71-8490c136c72a.html

     
  • Brian Dockter posted at 11:31 am on Sat, Sep 25, 2010.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2850

    And in the meantime:
    Islam should ponder the affects on how far burning about a million scrolls in the library
    has had on the advancement of civilization. It seems to me from what I've read it may have set us back at least a 1000 years.

     
  • Brian Dockter posted at 9:21 am on Sat, Sep 25, 2010.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2850

    Muslims have a long history of destroying things that other religions revere.
    Lets take a look at the 2000 year old Buddha Statues destroyed by the Taliban in Afghanistan.
    In the name of Islam, of course. I don't recall many Muslims in America shedding a tear over the destruction of these statues. Yet, we're supposed to be sensitive to the Muslims shedding a tear over the few Korans that may be burned here in America.
    Let me be clear that I'm not advocating Koran burning. But let's be honest. Islam needs to apologize a lot for their past destructions before the non-Muslim world should even consider apologizing for burning their Korans.

     
  • Brian Dockter posted at 9:04 am on Sat, Sep 25, 2010.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2850

    J K R wrote:

    However, given today's computer age bringing with it a potential to reproduce any text that was pretty much ever printed on a scale that was until 30 to 40 years ago unimaginable, the fuss over burning a few books escapes me.

    -Yep,
    What is the big fuss? Early Muslims made no big fuss over burning all the books in the Alexandria Library. The knowledge that was in this library is lost forever. Yet, Muslims are screeching that the act of burning a few Korans will forever damage their relationship with the West. Oh but heaven forbid we make a fuss over all the knowledge lost in the Alexandria Library.

     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 7:28 pm on Fri, Sep 24, 2010.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    someone respected like Hillary Clinton decided ,,,

    Darrell...... EEEEUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUWWWWCCCCCHHHHH
    and Ugh !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! kaff, kaff, i hope it is just a hairball &
    Excellent point, Mr. Kindseth - and eloquently made.

    You guys made my day.... if you could only have read my mind when I saw my fingers typing that.... but if you think about who really respects her, its the same ones who do not respect palin....

     
  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 6:57 pm on Fri, Sep 24, 2010.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2362

    Excellent point, Mr. Kindseth - and eloquently made.

     
  • John Kindseth posted at 6:19 pm on Fri, Sep 24, 2010.

    John Kindseth Posts: 245

    ...someone respected like Hillary Clinton decided ,,,


    Darrell...... EEEEUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUWWWWCCCCCHHHHH
    and Ugh !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! kaff, kaff, i hope it is just a hairball

     
  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 5:37 pm on Fri, Sep 24, 2010.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2362

    Mr. Baumbach, since I never once believed my soul was in jeopardy due to my "sin,” never would have to be my answer. In fact, I simply chalked this up to experience and decided that regardless of how well-packaged one political candidate might be, I will be exhaustive with my due diligence to ensure that what I believe to be the right thing to do actually will do some good; or at the very least won’t cause any damage.

     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 4:03 pm on Fri, Sep 24, 2010.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Jerome… I have only one question… how many times did you contemplate going to confession on this one… one time per day, or two? Since the intension was to do what you thought best, I hope the answer is Zero.

     
  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 2:53 pm on Fri, Sep 24, 2010.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2362

    Yes Mr. Baumbach, you are probably correct. But even I am not averse to offering one the benefit of the doubt. Still, rather than frame Mr. Obama in the light that he's so ultra-intelligent insofar as Constitutional law is concerned, I'm much more content to believe him to be the intelligence-challenged sad-sack that however he did it, was able to fool enough voters enough to give him access to the most powerful and heretofore prestigious position on the planet.

    I’m still kicking myself for actually believing Obama to be the lesser of two evils compared to Hillary Clinton that during the presidential primary I registered as a Democrat to vote against Clinton believing she posed a bigger threat than this little-known, little-understood and inexperienced senator from Illinois. I also knew that California would never support a Republican candidate in the general election, so I figured there’d be no harm. Well, I was obviously quite wrong. I never really doubted Hillary’s patriotism; but I also believed then (as I still do) that she isn’t all that smart either.

    After what our nation has experienced since Obama was inaugurated, I hope to never make such an egregious error in judgment again.

     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 2:12 pm on Fri, Sep 24, 2010.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Jerome...a clear indication that none of these people understand the U.S. Constitution.

    I’m not sure if it is that they do not understand the constitution or is it that they completely understand it, but do not like it, and want to change it... what ever the intent, it is unsettling

     
  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 12:09 pm on Fri, Sep 24, 2010.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2362

    Actually Mr. Baumbach, the very idea that "the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense and the Commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, find it in the nation's best interest to weigh in on the issue," is a clear indication that none of these people understand the U.S. Constitution.

    Just as Muslims have every right to build their Mosque where they choose (according to the First Amendment), so does the "one nut in a small town in Florida" reserve the right to burn a book, even if it is the Koran or The Bible for that matter.

    "Weighing in on the issue" by these government employees is nothing less than a form of intimidation, expressly prohibited by the Constitution. As President Obama also found it necessary to reiterate the right to build the Mosque yet remained mum on the matter of whether it was the right thing to do, so should he (and the others) keep his mouth shut regarding this nut's desire to burn the Koran.

    Clearly this administration needs a few lessons in Constitutional law and a refresher course in at least avoiding the appearance of hypocrisy.

     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 9:30 am on Wed, Sep 22, 2010.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    seeking only to insult, if not inflame, Muslim sensitivities on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks...

    of course, Mr Roberts conclusion is unique.... "his intension was to insult Muslim sensitivites on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks"...
    I thought it was highly inappropriate to burn with Koran as the burning was symbolic to the man Im sure... but to assume Mr Roberts is right is to assume that the man who did it was not concerned about 9/11 of who did it... and simply hates muslims. Maybe he is right... or maybe he is wrong... Im not sure as I cannot read his mine.

     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 9:16 am on Wed, Sep 22, 2010.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    J. Kurt Roberts…But if one nut in a small town in Florida has the power to agitate the entire Muslim world to the extent that none other than the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense and the Commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, find it in the nation's best interest to weigh in on the issue, it does not bode well.

    Great point, very telling of the situation... and very scary.... that the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense and the Commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, found it in the nation's best interest to weigh in on the issue because one nut in a small town in Florida… which resulted in agitating the entire Muslim world ... one might think... what would the reaction have been if someone respected like Hillary Clinton decided to do such a thing.... can you imagine... Shouldn’t our country be concerned about any group of people who react in such an inappropriate way? Should anyone really have to worry about decapitation because they say or do something that others find objectionable?

     

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