Some books are dangerous (but we still shouldn’t ban them)
Some books are dangerous, in the same way any media can be dangerous. Find a person whose mind is easily turned, and introduce them to some powerful and unwholesome rhetoric, add a sense of displacement from society and an obsession with proving themselves, and you can have a problem.
But, similar to the video games=violence ‘debate’ simply saying ‘this book is dangerous’ isn’t actually correct, and that’s why even the nastiest of books should be available for purchase. Obviously, some information should be kept away from the general public (like how to build a nuclear weapon) but in general we shouldn’t ban even the most distasteful of information.
But why not? If something could potentially effect someone in that way, shouldn’t they be kept away from it? Shouldn’t society be kept safe from their behaviour afterwards? Well, yes and no. The thing about banning things- whether games, books, music etc is that it makes it more attractive. The sort of mind willing to take these things deep inside it and use them as justification for killing, raping, maiming, will merely consider the ban as a repression of the truth.
The second fact to consider, is that by having them openinly available means that we can discuss them, mock them, drag the filthy worms of lying rhetoric into the light where they will writhe and all their flaws will be as clear as day. These idealogies are rarely based in anything that stands up to logic and careful viewing, so by allowing them to be accessed and discussed by all we remove a lot of their power.
And the final point: The vast majority of us are intelligent people who can withstand a bit of rhetoric, or a violent film, or a bloody game without suddenly wanting to murder our neighbours. Obviously, I’m not suggesting reading Mein Kampf to children as a bed time story, but I see no reason an adult shouldn’t read it, if only to understand the mindset.
The fact remains that people have been going on killing sprees and developing nasty thoughts on their own for centuries without help from books, games, films or music. It’s human nature to want to blame something ELSE. Perhaps because accepting some people, for whatever reason, just kill makes us worry that under those circumstances WE could do it.
So yes, some books (and other media) can be dangerous, but it would be more dangerous to prevent them from being read.
(Note: I am currently camping in Wales with no internet connection. Comments may not appear till my return)