We recently discussed how many on the left have discovered the allure of book burning, book banning, and blacklisting of authors. While expressing shock at ISIS and other extremist groups burning books, the practice appears acceptable based on the titles or content. Now educators in Ontario have held a “flame purification ceremony” for the local indigenous population by burning roughly 5,000 books. The notion of teachers burning books is almost as bizarre as the thought of book sellers embracing blacklisting but both are now part of the realities of our age of rage.These school officials actually videotaped the celebration of book burning for students at 30 schools with the announcement that “We bury the ashes of racism, discrimination and stereotypes in the hope that we will grow up in an inclusive country where all can live in prosperity and security.”The announcement even has a type of Maoist cultural revolution feel to it. In addition, Lyne Cosette, a spokeswoman for the public French-speaking Catholic schools of Ontario, told the National Post newspaper, “Symbolically, some books were used as fertilizer.” The entire demonstration was a disgrace to educators everywhere. The lesson of book burning left with these children will likely be indelible and lasting. I have worried about the rise of a generation of censors but the Catholic schools of Ontario appear intent on raising a generation of book burners.No administrators or teachers were fired for teaching thousands of kids to be book burners. While other Canadians have voiced their disgust, there is no indication from the Catholic schools that such individuals are fundamentally unsuited to teach children. I would defend any one of them who sought to burn books or flags as a form of free speech despite my disgust for such actions. However, teaching and celebrating book burning is a rejection of the very essence of learning.
What is truly chilling is the Orwellian call for children to burn books in order to be a more “inclusive country.”
Update: The Conseil Scolaire Catholique (CSC) Providence has issued a statement of regret but notably does not state any intention to fire or sanction those responsible for this heinous act.