Deregulate the Libraries For Freedom and Wisdom

Dr Pip Muggins, PhD.

January 2001

With new winds of freedom blowing from California to Washington, D.C., now is a good time to move decisively against the last bastion of Collectivist Socialism in the United States, the insidious regulation of the libraries through public funding. This remnant of the leftist literacy movements of the thirties can now be corrected, to the benefit of everyone. It is the duty of each literate American to free the books from the edicts of the library system bureaucrats, the bibliocrats.

There are two targets of this proposal: the unjust taxation system that allows no real choice for over-burdened taxpaying citizens who want to opt for what they themselves want to read, and the lock-step practices of the bibliocrats who have set themselves apart from the mass of citizenry and who hold covert power of how and what people learn, stealthily hidden behind the veils of respectability and stacks of unnecessary books. 

We need to let the free market standardize  the library systems through the invisible hand of peoples’ choices. We need to let the free market also set firm accountability measures for the bibliocrats so they can no longer work their one-worldly magic behind the backs of Americans. 

Consider this: why not user fees for libraries? On a scale more grand, why not offer vouchers to areas that want to have private libraries, and modest financial rewards to those who do not. After all, why should people who choose not to read, or to read privately in the peace and quiet of their homes, be forced to pay taxes to government controlled  libraries which choose books behind out backs–many of them never to be read, some to be read by an effete few? Why should the many be forced to subsidize the dubious choices of the bibliocrats?  Why not user fees, allowing the market to decide the books which will be and are read? 

For example,  a double-tier user fee system: a fee per book read, and an additional small fee linked to the number of words (or weight/size)  in the books. That is only fair. Indeed, it parallels  the proposed practice of some prestigious academic journals like Theory and Research in Social Education. If you want to enter the library and read a book, pay for it. If you want to read a big book or a lot of words, pay a little more. In the future, with our remarkable growing technological capabilities, we may be able to develop a fair and sophisticated formula which considers word-length, weight, size, pictures, etc. For the time being, however, this common-sense proposal will do. 

We must make the bibliocrats answerable. This can be achieved through the natural selection process proposed above, which will mean that books in the future will be chosen by their rankings of popularity, and a system of accountability/acceptability which will allow officials to move, or remove, those bibliocrats who do not stay within the bounds of the free market system–whose libraries fall out of compliance with the natural order of things described above. In short, librarians whose libraries test themselves out by undercharging or over-selecting will be reconstituted, removed without rights of transfer. The free market, naturally, has its own rewards as well. The judicious application of a method of rewarding good librarians, clearly measured within the scientific quantitative bounds described above, could be offered to those librarians who comply with appropriate joy. 

There is one more concern: the institutional matter. By now it should be abundantly clear that the bibliocrats stand between the people and the books they desire, and the libraries themselves are uninviting institutions. It follows, that the worst of these libraries should be replaced, especially those libraries which are physically or fiscally decrepit, and those libraries which seem to only serve the twisted tastes of people out of the mainstream in book selection. Therefore, in order to deliver the best services in the most humane ways, it follows that the churches should, on a case by case basis, replace the libraries, receiving funding in the same manner that the bibliocrats do. It is time for the collectivists to stop standing between the people and the people who best serve them, those chosen with the way and the word. History shows that books are well-kept by the churches, and that the chosen select carefully as to which texts are truly deserving. 

Who will favor this modest proposal? Well, surely the booksellers and the publishers will see the wisdom in all of this, allowing them to gear their presses and bookshelves to the natural processes of the market. For the citizenry, this is a badly needed and sensible tax cut, allowing appropriate expenditures to be directed where they are sorely needed: missile systems for instance. 

In addition, we already have the agreement of key leaders of the bibliocrat unions, who see the wisdom in this as being in the national interest, that is, a natural unity of business, government, and labor around our patriotic design. We have also consulted the “Small Library Consortium,” which sees the sagacity herein, and realizes that this shift to accountability and deregulation will better serve the citizenry with small libraries. The Rethinking Libraries group seems to be unsure of our proposal, but their close personal relationships with the library unionists, the chance for elected positions if they do not stand in front of our bandwagon,  and a growing budget won from their Rethinking The False Claims of Class Struggle Hidden in Dickens, seems to be moving them in our direction. Of course, churches representing all races see the light in this proposal. And we have the support of significant parts of the professorate who are quite aware that this vital shift will open possibilities for the publication of significantly thicker textbooks, each to every deserving student without the interference and privacy danger of holding a library card. 

Now is the time that tests the souls of men and women who want to stand up for the natural bond of the free market and knowledge. This is the day to take action. To the libraries! For Justice and the Free Market!

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