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Right to Read

September 28, 1986

Claims made by book-banners and aspiring book-burners that they speak for a majority of people in seeking to limit the freedom to read ought always to be treated with suspicion if not contempt. A new national poll again underscores precisely how false and pretentious such assertions are.

The survey, commissioned by Americans for Constitutional Freedom, finds that 84% believe that "people should have an absolute right to buy all magazines and books judged to be legal." Only 13% disagree with that view. Among Americans who identify themselves as sympathetic to the Moral Majority, 75% support the absolute right to read.

Freedom to read is an essential passport into the world of ideas. Those who would limit that freedom through censorship or suppression aim at nothing less than seeking to control the right of individuals to think their own thoughts and make their own judgments. Denial of the freedom to read is a hallmark of all totalitarian regimes. An overwhelmingly healthy majority of Americans have again said it has no place in our society.

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