Stamato Commentary: Freedom to read is freedom to think. It’s time for NJ lawmakers to protect both

April 19, 2024

Linda Stamato emphasizes that the freedom to read is synonymous with the freedom to think. Yet this essential liberty faces significant challenges from political and cultural divisions. Instances of book bans, particularly in Florida, highlight the absurdity of attempts to control the content accessible to readers, even extending to dictionaries and religious texts like the Bible. Such actions not only diminish intellectual freedom but also reflect a concerning trend of using state power to limit access to information, both in public libraries and school curricula. Despite historical precedents and opposition from various quarters, including concerned citizens and research institutions, the push to restrict reading materials persists across the nation.

In response to this threat to intellectual freedom, efforts such as the proposed Freedom to Read Act in New Jersey seek to safeguard access to diverse ideas and perspectives. However, despite widespread support, bureaucratic delays and resistance persist, reminiscent of historical struggles against censorship. The parallels drawn with past revolutions underscore the enduring importance of protecting the right to read and think freely, as essential components of a democratic society. As debates continue, the legacy of Enlightenment thinkers and the principles enshrined in the Constitution remind us of the imperative to defend intellectual liberty against encroaching restrictions, ensuring that the right to read remains inviolable for future generations.

Morristown Green, April 19,2024

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