October 25, 2017

Cowards and boring people want to ban books on magic from schools


The market research firm YouGov recently conducted a poll on the subject of “Book Banning.” They asked a thousand respondents wether or not certain types of books (categorized by content and appearance) should be banned in the following environments: elementary school libraries, middle school libraries, high school libraries, college libraries, public libraries. Responses were broken out by political party affiliation, gender, race, age, income, and region.

The results are not particularly surprising. More than half of respondents thought it would be appropriate to ban books containing “explicit racism” from elementary school libraries, while slightly fewer than one in five though the same about public libraries. Sixty-three percent of people over the age of sixty-five thought that books containing “blasphemous language” should be banned in elementary schools, while only twenty-four percent of people betweent the ages of eighteen and twenty-nine thought the same. Fifteen percent of respondents weren’t sure whether books containing “themes related to religion” should be banned from anywhere.

But, as Peter Weber, writing for The Week, points out, the poll also collects some truly shocking data: forty-one percent of self-identified Republicans believe that books containing “themes related to witchcraft, wizardry, and magic” should be banned from elementary schools, versus twenty-four percent of Democrats, and twenty-seven percent of Independents. Twenty-three percent of respondents making between fifty and one hundred thousand dollars a year think they should be banned in high school libraries. Twelve percent of all respondents think that such books should be banned from public libraries.

This, of course, is absurd, considering that sixty-seven percent of polled Republicans think that books containing religious themes shouldn’t be banned anywhere. If kids can read about the annihilation of Sodom in the Bible, why can’t they also read about Baphomet the Sabbatic Goat in Eliphas Levi’s Dogma and Ritual of High Magic? We’re allowed to tell kids that a judgemental and omnipotent demiurge knows your future and has already condemned you to hell for it, but we can’t teach them the the ancient and noble art of divination? Lives of the Saints, yes; Major and Minor Arcana, fucking banned. What gives?

As Weber points out, this is just another area in which Republicans (and to a certain extent Democrats) are falling out of touch with “millennial” America. Only thirteen percent of respondents between eighteen and twenty-nine thought that witchcraft and wizardry should be banned from elementary schools. Which is right on, and tracks with a trend described by Kari Paul at MarketWatch, who points out that millenials are increasingly turning away from the technocratic hyper-rationality that brought us into the smouldering wasteland that is “Western Civilization” circa 2017. Instead, they’re looking to tarot, astrology (which half of millenials identify as a science, and why the fuck not), and other forms of alternative spiritual practice.

Which totally rules. Hail satan. Ban the Bible.



Simon Reichley is the Director of Operations and Rights Manager at Melville House.