The loneliness of a conservative librarian

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently featured an interesting commentary by David Durant, a self-avowed conservative librarian, on the recent political stances taken by the American Library Association.

Note: This story was submitted and rejected by another LISNEWS author. I know there are numerous reasons for rejecting a story so my posting this is no reflection on the original decision not to post. I did point out to the person that submitted the article that the story had been brought up in another post. The person had this response "Thanks for pointing that posting out as I had missed it. I noticed that the specific article is linked but Blake doesn’t include much detail about it. Also, the link on the posting doesn’t go to the article but the discussion about it on the Chronicle. There has only been one response to that specific article so I think that it is too bad it didn’t have its own. So if you want to post it here is what I think would work well."
Note 2: You can read the essay The Loneliness of a Conservative Librarian here without a subscription to the Chronicle. -Bibliofuture
Note 3: No censorship happened on LISNEWS. Let's move away from that discussion and discuss the merits or lack of merit of the The loneliness of a conservative librarian essay. Especially now that there is a link to the item that gives everyone access to the essay. -Bibliofuture

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Article merits:

It reads like so much right-wing sniveling to me. Durant, et al, made much of the 223 to 1 ratio as if wrong-wing political support is some kind of crime of perversion. I notice, however, that none of these whiners bothered to point out in which profession the ratio was 1 to 223. And, of course, it's not enough that this blatant self-pity was scribbled when the right-wing already controlled congress and the White House. I take it as one more indication that the right-wingt-nuts won't be happy until they have an Orwellian, totalitarian regime.

Diversity Welcomed

I think all views and political beliefsshould be welcome here. We can respecteach other and agree to disagree.Let's not censor each other and refuse topost articles that have a different viewpointthan "MINE"Librarians who censor and refuse to publishneed to be opposed by those of us who welcomeand encourage free expression and healthydebate.

It Was Me I Think

Nothing to do with the content of the article, it was a dupe, it didn't seem very interesting and it's a subscription site, so it just didn't seem worth repeating.

Fisking

A Fisking.
http://conservatorblog.com/2005_09_01_archive.html

If you do not know what a fisking is click here.

I'd agree with the article

At least the part that included Whitney. I have never understood why a library organization would waste it's precious time discussing the merits of the war in Iraq... when they could be discussing Google, library wages, etc.

my thoughts on durant

I do not care what the author's political beliefs are; as a citizen of what is supposed to be the most free nation in the world, he is free to both hold those beliefs and express them. Those who hold differing beliefs from his are free to hold those and express them.

What annoys me about his essay is the whining tone. He chose a profession with a very strong liberal base, where the vast majority of professionals are passionate about what one might term "liberal" issues. There is nothing wrong with him not holding these beliefs himself. Librarianship is not a hive mind. But his fellow professionals are frankly not going to agree with him the majority of issues. Unless ALA is calling for him to be lynched, I don't see what his cause for complaint is.

If you desire to take part in the conservative movement, then do what thousands of other people in hundreds of other professions do: be a professional in your professional life and an activist in your personal life.

Re:my thoughts on durant

I do not care what the author's political beliefs are; as a citizen of what is supposed to be the most free nation in the world, he is free to both hold those beliefs and express them. Those who hold differing beliefs from his are free to hold those and express them.

Okay

What annoys me about his essay is the whining tone. He chose a profession with a very strong liberal base, where the vast majority of professionals are passionate about what one might term "liberal" issues. There is nothing wrong with him not holding these beliefs himself. Librarianship is not a hive mind. But his fellow professionals are frankly not going to agree with him the majority of issues. Unless ALA is calling for him to be lynched, I don't see what his cause for complaint is.

I've had two prominent players in ALA contact my workplace and my employer because of my conservative beliefs. If you read the comments at Chronicle you'll see a comment by John D. Berry concerning how he was treated when he was actually on the Council. Read the Council listserv and see what happens when a conservative opinion is expressed. No lynchings just a lot of vilification and personal attacks.

I'm not whining, I'm happy to give as good as I get but its pretty obvious that ALA is hostile to conservative thought.

If you desire to take part in the conservative movement, then do what thousands of other people in hundreds of other professions do: be a professional in your professional life and an activist in your personal life.

Right back at ya baby.

I understand where the author is coming from

Having conservative beliefs myself, I was interested to read this article. I used to work in a corporate library where the rest of the library department was very liberal. Nothing wrong with that - everyone is entitled to their beliefs. I worked there right around the time of last year's presidential election, and it always seemed like our weekly department meetings would eventually turn into several minutes of Bush-bashing, once we were done discussing work-related things. (I kept my mouth shut during these times, being a newbie to the department.)Right after the election, one of my co-workers started sending out several joke e-mails to everyone in the library, about how all the people who voted for Bush were stupid and/or religious nuts. I wasn't offended - just annoyed that this person seemed to assume that everyone who worked there was liberal.(As for why I don't work there any more, it has nothing to do with the political beliefs of my co-workers. I simply found a job that had a shorter commute.)

Re:my thoughts on durant

"Read the Council listserv and see what happens when a conservative opinion is expressed. No lynchings just a lot of vilification and personal attacks."

Actually, that seems to happen on the Council list whenever most opinions are voiced, there's always someone who had a strong opinion about them and more often than not, they get vilified. This happens to those on the left and those on the right. I'm not saying Council doesn't have a liberal slant -- I think the profession does as a whole as do many of the "helping professions" -- but using the Council list, or the two "prominent players" as examples of the general left-leaning tendency of the profession is not accurate, representative or truthful.

There's a complicated line between many of our public roles as ALA figures and our private roles as concerned citizens and I think you may have been the target of people who blurred those lines in ways that were not appropriate. However, I don't think their behavior is in any way representative of the majority of ALA-ers, even the more left-leaning ones. I think there are a few jerks on both sides of the political spectrum who bitch and snipe at each other and most librarians are generally good hearted and more centrist than either of these opposed sides.

Re:my thoughts on durant

Sorry Jessamyn but no go. The "both sides do it" isn't going to work with Council. Rosenweig et al have a long history at this point of harassing people. The slamming of the Lockheed Martin employee is just one recent example. Yes people stand up and say something but they always make it sound as if 'both sides' are guilty and no one actually calls out those who are most often the actual culprits. As far as I'm concerned those who do nothing are just as responsible as the those who are doing the bashing. Rosenzweig and the SRRT crowd are the pet bulldogs of ALA.

Re:my thoughts on durant

My point is that the bulldogs bash both sides, not that both sides are bashers, and that both sides behave badly on hot button topics. There is an incredibly amount of incivility for a profession that is supposed to value all kinds of people.

Re:my thoughts on durant

There is an incredibly amount of incivility for a profession that is supposed to value all kinds of people.

No profession is supposed to value all kinds of people, that is an individual's requirement not an organization's mission statement. A group of professionals is supposed to value its profession and the people that profession serves and only in so far as how that profession serves them.

There are going to be some hot button topics but limit them to only those that are library related and the bulldogs will be less of a problem. Which brings us back to Durant and the fact that the Council is heavily liberal and jumping into issues it has no business jumping into. Until that happens, ALA is responsible for the bulldogs.

Re:Article merits:

Irony

Re:I understand where the author is coming from

I've experienced something similar. I'm not a Republican but I was getting rather tired of the Republican/Bush/whatever-bashing posts made by professors and former alumni on the school's MLS listserv. I mean, its one thing to have an opinion, its another to be inappropriate with it. There's a time and a place you know?

Even better when it escalated into an all-out argument with such things as one calling another stupid for supposedly supporting a system that will supposedly destroy their occupation.

No facts

Here is a response at the Chronicle Forum by an ALA member. Notice how they use no facts but just hyperbole.

Re:my thoughts on durant

I've had two prominent players in ALA contact my workplace and my employer because of my conservative beliefs.


Are you sure that it was because of your beliefs, in and of themselves, and had nothing to do with the manor of your expression of them? I'm basing my question on an extrapolation from some examples of your demeanor seen here on Lisnews.

Re:my thoughts on durant

Not as far as I'm concerned.

Re:my thoughts on durant

It doesn't matter if it is the content or the demeanor. Unless he was representing his library, which he was not, contacting his employer was wrong. It was an attempt to intimidate him and silence him.

The Loneliness of a Conservative Librarian

Do you ever wonder why you're lonely?

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