Letter | SC legislature hypocritical in vote to cut funding over university reading list

03/19/2014 5:17 PM

03/19/2014 5:18 PM

The South Carolina House of Delegates has punished, and as a result censored, the College of Charleston and USC Upstate by cutting their budgets for assigning freshman to read books dealing with what, in the opinion of our overwhelming conservative legislature, would be immoral subject matter.

I recently saw a wonderful movie entitled “The Book Thief” where a young girl resorted to stealing books to satisfy her quest for learning because the regime in power was burning thousands of books and inflicting a multitude of other restrictions/prohibitions, and even death, on certain segments of the populous.

My, the hypocrisy of it all.

This legislative majority and the Governor, on the one hand, are hell bent to ensure the minions of their rights to arm themselves and to carry concealed weapons in bars under the rubric of constitutional rights; yet with this action of censorship and the elimination of the right to a diversity of ideas and thoughts stomp all over our right to freedom of speech and expression of all values as also guaranteed by our constitution.

Rep. Garry Smith, R-Simpsonville, in support of the funding reduction, said “Freedom comes with responsibility … and these universities did not act responsively.” What about the notion of freedom to have and express different views?

As so ably stated by Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg “are we saying we don’t trust college students enough to expose them to something they may not have seen before?... We can’t let you read anything other than what we believe”, she asked. “What about the notion of freedom to hold different views?... Isn’t that what we go all over the globe fighting for?”

We expect our young people to step up and assume adult responsibility and expect them to fight our wars; how is it that in South Carolina we, on the other hand, tell them we don’t want them to read anything that might cause them to think and to question and maybe even reach a different conclusion than we do.

The writer lives in Pawleys Island.

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