Agents of Ourselves: Part Fourteen

Last week, I came across a list of banned and challenged books. The introduction to the list said this:

The ALA [American Library Association] Office for Intellectual Freedom records attempts to remove books from libraries, schools, and universities. These titles are books on the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century that have been banned or challenged.

The very possibility that every thinking person wouldn’t be angered at the idea of banning books — let alone actually banning them — angered me. It still angers me. It will always anger me.

Imagine a time at which your local library will contain only the volumes approved by every one of the ever-growing numbers of special-interest groups. Imagine a time at which information will be unavailable to you because someone else doesn’t want you to have it. Imagine a time at which intellectual curiosity has withered and died because it was starved to futility by the combined forces of the Thought and PC Police. Imagine a time at which you won’t be able to do a damn thing about it — or worse, a time at which you accept it.

Tolerating any such thing is the antithesis of agency.


Mark O'Brien
Mark O'Brien
I’m a business owner. My company — O’Brien Communications Group (OCG) — is a B2B brand-management and marketing-communication firm that helps companies position their brands effectively and persuasively in industries as diverse as: Insurance, Financial Services, Senior Living, Manufacturing, Construction, and Nonprofit. We do our work so well that seven of the companies (brands) we’ve represented have been acquired by other companies. OCG is different because our business model is different. We don’t bill by the hour or the project. We don’t bill by time or materials. We don’t mark anything up. We don’t take media commissions. We pass through every expense incurred on behalf of our clients at net. We scope the work, price the work, put beginning and end dates on our engagements, and charge flat, consistent fees every month for the terms of the engagements. I’m also a writer by calling and an Irish storyteller by nature. In addition to writing posts for my company’s blog, I’m a frequent publisher on LinkedIn and Medium. And I’ve published three books for children, numerous short stories, and other works, all of which are available on Amazon under my full name, Mark Nelson O’Brien.

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    • We should all be outraged, Frank:

      First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
      Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.
      Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
      Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

      (Martin Niemöller, 1946)

  1. Bravo, Mark! I salute you! “Imagine a time at which intellectual curiosity has withered and died because it was starved to futility by the combined forces of the Thought and PC Police.” Such actions are not taken by those who desire to protect us; they are enforced by those who would pretend to be able to make you, me, and everyone else who tolerates such action, a slave. No thanks, I am Spirit–hear me “roar.” Great article and accompanying video.

    • Thank you, Art. I can’t for the life of me understand why we can’t see what’s coming. George Orwell spelled it out for us in 1984:

      “We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it.”

      “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”

      I’m most appalled at how easily we’re surrendering.

      Thank you for your comments, Art.