American Library Association Defenestrates Laura Ingalls Wilder

See, it was never going to stop with statues of Confederate generals. From The Guardian (U.K.): 

A division of the American Library Association has voted to remove the name of Laura Ingalls Wilder from a major children’s book award, over concerns about how the author portrayed African Americans and Native Americans.

The board of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) made the unanimous decision to change the name on Saturday, at a meeting in New Orleans. The name of the prize was changed from the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal to the Children’s Literature Legacy Award.

The association said Wilder “includes expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC’s core values”.

The first award was given to Wilder in 1954. The ALSC said Wilder’s work continued to be published and read but her “legacy is complex” and “not universally embraced”.

Oh, boy.

Libertarians and some conservatives argued that taking down the Confederate statues was right and just because of the pernicious legacy of slavery and racism in America. Besides, the South lost, remember? But if the case of the Confederacy seemed clear, it wasn’t obvious that our latter-day iconoclasts would be content to leave their crusade at that.

Answering the question “Where does it stop?” Reason‘s Eric Boehm asserted: “It stops….where it stops.” He went on:

No one action determines that any other action must take place. Reasonable people can clearly differentiate between the legacies of men who fought against the United States in order to maintain an economic system built on the institution of human slavery and men honored as founders of the nation, be they flawed men who owned slaves themselves.

“Reasonable people can clearly differentiate . . .” Ay. There’s the rub.

At the Volokh Conspiracy, libertarian constitutional lawyer Ilya Somin also waved off slippery slope fears. “The argument fails because there are obviously relevant distinctions that can be made between Washington and Jefferson on the one hand and Confederate leaders on the other.”

A couple of months later, a church in Virginia removed a plaque honoring George Washington, who was a prominent parishioner. “‘The plaques in our sanctuary make some in our presence feel unsafe or unwelcome,’ leaders said, a reference to the fact that Washington was a slaveholder.” But . . . but! Obvious distinctions!

A few months after that, the Virginia Democratic Party renamed its annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner because, well, maybe Somin’s relevant distinctions weren’t so obvious to them, either.

There are obviously relevant distinctions that could be made with Laura Ingalls Wilder, too. But that assumes your interlocutors are interested in having a good-faith discussion. Is that really such a safe assumption anymore? The demands of modern moral progress require that we denounce, debase, and dethrone our benighted predecessors who failed to live up to these ever-changing views of “justice” and “equality.”

“Reasonable people” can only agree with the evolving social-justice nostrums of the Left. It won’t stop with the Confederates, or formerly beloved writers.

About Ben Boychuk

Ben Boychuk is managing editor of American Greatness. He is a former weekly syndicated columnist with Tribune Media, and a veteran of several publications, including City Journal, Investor's Business Daily, and the Claremont Review of Books. He lives in California.

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