Knowledge, Power, and Struggle

The sign of a great mind is the ability to entertain an idea without accepting it, no? This seems like a low bar tho — the sign of a functioning mind in this civilized world is the withstanding exposure to — even learning from — conflicting ideas without losing one’s own perspective.

What about Russia’s ban on Mein Kampf then? From yesterday’s Telegraph:

Russian prosecutors on Friday banned the 1925 semi-autobiographical book, saying its outline of racial supremacy encouraged extremist and violent behaviour.

Despite including tracts that are both anti-Jewish and anti-Russian, it has become increasingly popular among Russia’s far-Right groups.

Evidently recent Russian civil unrest has grown out of far right factions, who cite Hitler’s novel as a major influence. Seeking ways to combat “extremism,” prosecuting authorities initiated the ban after discovering the book’s rising popularity.

Mein Kampf has been banned in Germany since WWII; would-be distributors can only access the book after securing special permission, which is granted only for academic purposes.

Nothing like an information ban to quell people’s curiosity about dissenting ideas, right? From Ray Bradbury’s Farenheit 451:

Man, when I was younger I shoved my ignorance in people’s faces. They beat me with sticks. By the time I was forty my blunt instrument had been honed to a fine cutting point for me. If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you’ll never learn.”

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