And now, we have library haters

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A friend of mine, I’ll call him Ron, ventures into Right-wing Radio World a couple of times a week, and now and then delivers what he calls “Reports from the dark side.” In a way, it’s a valuable service, especially since I can’t subject myself to the likes of Limbaugh & Co. for more than 5 minutes before feeling a stroke coming on. Nothing Ron tells me about the right’s radio shock troops surprises me much anymore — they lost me forever when they defended the torture and killing at Abu Ghraib prison — but I admit I was shocked yesterday at what he told me.

Ron called up and started talking about the various talk jocks and listeners he’d heard recently who think the county’s library system is largely a waste of money. One genius, said Ron, called in with this bit of wisdom: “Why can’t people pay a couple of bucks whenever they want to check out a book — or just borrow them from friends?” as if just any book would do at any time, and never mind that centrally located compilations of knowledge, made available to the general public, are a cornerstone of civilization. Another insightful listener suggested that, “These days, you can find anything you’d wanna read online, so why are we paying so much for all those buildings?”  According to Ron, those were two of the more reasoned calls he heard. Today, the daily paper ran two letters to the editor about libraries, one that questioned the need to keep library branches open in as many areas of the county as possible, and another letter that seemed to be an odd threat of a Loonytarian lawsuit against Mayor Foxx for crossing over the city/county line to help the libraries.

All I can say is God help us. The hounds of deliberate idiocy have broken their leashes and now run amok on our airwaves, and infect what I seem to remember as having once been a reasonable country with lots of reasonable people. Tune in to the next full Boomer With Attitude column for more on libraries, local opponents of helping them, and the rise of willful ignorance in our troubled country and community. Meanwhile, I’ll be thinking of the German writer Goethe, who said, “There is nothing worse than aggressive stupidity.” Oh, and please e-mail or call county commissioners to demand more money for the libraries and schools.