Marian—At It More than Ever

by S. M. Hutchens

When I entered librarianship, I expected to find what I actually did: an institution run by modestly educated and progressively minded women whose actions when political tides turned were predictable: increased liberal power meant increased liberal censorship and adverse pressure on conservatives.

Just as bad, however, was the disdain for civilization—not just Western civilization, but civilization in general. Mencius and Gautama, considered under that rubric, were as regressive and dead-white-male-ish as Augustus and St. Paul. One of the results of this illiberality of liberals was the discouragement of the existence of the library as a quiet place for contemplation by reading, whether from books or screens, and thereby making it less likely that objections to the conversion of the public library into a “community center” (which means a kind of arcade where noise is not controlled) would be made.

These days, those who wish to read from an uncensored library (an elitist activity to begin with), especially to read texts that require intense concentration, whether Aristotle or English for non-native speakers, must tolerate the noise or leave. The library as a place where poor people could go to educate themselves into a higher class is gone. The plantation owners are replacing it with a recreation hall that helps keep them where they are.

I was amused to see the feminists cleft in a stick of their own cutting when, as liberals, they wished to protect the right of people to view anything they chose at public expense, while as feminists, they deplored the proliferation of internet pornography and would censor it completely if they could. No satisfactory solution has been found for this dilemma.

The public library was founded as a democratic vehicle of self-education, but Marian, a liberal with the soul of a libertine in practical shoes (if the truth be known), was put in charge of it, with results that have reached their absurd apogee in our day. She’s still following the Music Man and playing her part in the formation of the youth of River City.

S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.


more on culture from the online archives

29.3—May/June 2016

The Master's Voice

Our Choice Is Obedience or Jesus as Anti-Christ by Anthony Esolen

23.2—March/April 2010

Job’s Progress

on Maturity for a Rising Generation by Peter J. Leithart

31.6—November/December 2018

Virtue Gone Mad

Victimhood Culture Scapegoats Its Very Source by Michael P. Foley

calling all readers

Please Donate

"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand

"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor

Support Touchstone

• Not a subscriber or wish to renew your subscription? Subscribe to Touchstone today for full online access. Over 30 years of publishing!


personal subscriptions

Purchase Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!


RENEW your print/online
subscription

Purchase
Online Subscription

Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives including pdf downloads for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!


RENEW your online subscription

gift subscriptions

GIVE Print &
Online Subscription

Give six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for the reduced rate of $29.95. That's only $2.50 per month!


RENEW your gift subscription

Transactions will be processed on a secure server.

bulk subscriptions

Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.

kindle subscription

OR get a subscription to Touchstone to read on your Kindle for only $1.99 per month! (This option is KINDLE ONLY and does not include either print or online.)

Your subscription goes a long way to ensure that Touchstone is able to continue its mission of publishing quality Christian articles and commentary.


more from the online archives

32.6—November/December 2019

Listening Up

Historical Truth, Beguiling Stories & Three Kinds of Hearers by Anthony Esolen

21.8—October 2008

Weed Free

on Tending a Child’s Garden of Influences by John Thompson

26.5—Sept/Oct 2013

More than Schooling

The Perils of Pragmatism in Christian Attitudes Toward the Liberal Arts by Robin Phillips

00