Reader J.P. e-mails with kudos for The Other Charlotte’s Friday post on the new voter bloc that has the Dems nervous: the so-called “security moms” who vote Republican because they believe the GOP’s firm commitment to fighting worldwide terrorism protects their kids. (See Why the Old Pickup Lines Aren’t Working, Sept. 30.)

A recent column in the Seattle Times argues that the Democrats can now no longer simply assume that women are softer on war than men and hence take their votes granted. And of course the feminist establishment, which has bought into the Democratic line, is hopping mad about security moms–to the point that Los Angeles Times columnist Margaret Carlson accused the GOP of condescending to women by suggesting that they might be concerned about bombs blowing up their children. Wrote TOC, “Feel condescended to, ladies?”

J.P. agrees:

“‘Feel condescended to, ladies?’ Not by Bush. Was something Margaret Carlson said supposed to be negative? The Seattle Times piece was a hoot; thanks for bringing it to our attention. (I will admit to not caring at all for the term ‘security moms.’)”

I agree, J.P., that the phrase is a little awkward (supposed to be riff on the “soccer moms” the Dems believe are in their pockets, I think), but it does seem to have caught on.

Now comes reader G.F., with a complaint–about my post on the American Library Association’s lists–in honor of Banned Books Week–of books that some people would like to ban from their public library shelves (click here and here). None of the books has actually been banned, as far as I can tell, but I speculated jokingly that it would be no great loss if many of the works, scarcely great works of literature, were actually kept off the shelves (see my Banned Books Week–Yeah, Sure, Sept. 29). I also expressed sympathy with the parents who have tried to keep controversial books promoting sexual and lifestyle mores with which they don’t agree out of the hands of their children. I also found it ironic that the ALA, for all its vigilance about censorship, refuses to support the cause of independent librarians persecuted in Fidel Castro’s Cuba.

G.F. e-mails:

“I always read InkWell–it’s an afternoon ritual. And it’s refreshing to read commentary discouraging women from being pulled into the NOW nanny state. But your Banned Books Week post perhaps reveals a little bit of IWF’s own nanny-statism. The government has no place choosing what books to ban from public libraries. And conservative parents should not be able to bar other people’s children’s access to books like ’Heather Has Two Mommies’ and other books teaching tolerance.

“Whether or not you agree with gay families’ rights to normalize, teaching children that it is not appropriate to mock classmates who just might have two mommies is important. And, besides, what happened to parents being responsible for monitoring their own children’s reading? Last I remember as a library-going child, I wasn’t allowed to check out just anything, and while my parents would’ve encouraged me to read ‘Heather Has Two Mommies’ had it existed, certainly parents who object to the book can take it out of the little hands of their 7-year-old and say, ‘We’re not going to read that book right now, Megan.’

“What a sad irony that you compare Fidel Castro, who is a censor, to the American Library Association, which tries NOT to censor books. Intelligent parents of intelligent children can make decisions about what is and is not appopriate reading material. I would rather not leave that decision up to someone else’s parents or even my local librarian. I expect better from Inkwell.”

First off, G.F., I agree with you wholeheartedly that parents ought to teach their children that it is wrong to ridicule other children for their parents’ lifestyles, whether sexual or otherwise. Second, my tone was humorous, and I don’t actually advocate the banning of any books. I do, however sympathize with the frustration that many parents experience because they cannot control in any way the kinds of books that their children are allowed to check out from public libraries. Librarians not only allow minor children unrestricted access to nearly any book in most libraries, but they will not even allow parents to find out what books their own children have checked out (the parents remain responsible for fines if any of these books are overdue, however). Furthermore, although many libraries willingly stock “Heather Has Two Mommies,” few public libraries stock children’s books promoting a different point of view: that the ideal family contains a daddy as well as a mommy, for example. This in itself is a form of censorship, don’t you think? It is not surprising, then, that some parents, angry at a library system that forces they have to pay for but cannot control, call for controversial books simply to be banned.
On the same subject, reader R.V. writes:

“Rather than ban books, ban libraries. Those who enjoy reading and are avid readers do not depend on libraries for their addiction. They frequent bookstores, the web, or borrow and steal from friends and neighbors for their reading needs. In short, who cares what librarians choose to ban? Very few people use libraries anyway. In this day and age libraries are archaic.”

Hmm, R.V., as a scholar and frequenter of university libraries, I disagree with your conclusion that “libraries are archaic.” I do wonder about public libraries, however. It may well be true that fewer and fewer people borrow books from them–so why have them?

Reader D.D. wrotes to complain about Top Ten Things Your Professors Do to Skew You, an summary in our Campus Corner of a survey we at the IWF commissioned regarding the liberal-versus-conservative views of college professors and how this affected their teaching: 

“You stated that one of the results of the survey was ‘insight into George Bush’s performance’ and the ‘2004 Presidential election.’ However, the data you present not only have no bearing on either of those issues, statistically speaking, but the same data are not given a balanced weight when applied to the issues supposedly addressed by the questions. The ethical application of statistics requires that the same standard be applied to each criterion of a sample. When in one instance, the majority response is the significant result, yet in the next instance, the minority response is highlighted, the survey loses its veracity. It is also of note that you combined results from various categories to back up the points you proposed in your article. This paints a sad picture of your worth as a resource for information, but it certainly gives truth to the idea that statistics can be the greatest of all lies.”

Ah, Benjamin Disraeli (I think it was he) did say, “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.” But you’ll note, D.D. that we faithfully and accurately reported all the statistical results of our survey. We did highlight, for example that nearly one-quarter–that is, 23 percent–of college students felt reluctant to disagree with their professors’ political views in class. We also reported that 63 percent–a strong majority–felt free to disagree with their profs on political matters. Nonetheless, 23 percent is a relatively strong minority, and the figure undoubtedly reflects the feelings of tens of thousands of college students. As for the 2004 election, it is probably useful and relevant to know that the vast majority of college professors, being of liberal views, probably won’t be voting next month for G.W. Bush.

Finally, “Martha” writes to complain that she doesn’t like us at all:

“I think you women are confused. I am a woman and I don’t think I should restrain myself from being an independent thinker just because you and your Republican backers say so. What you are doing is a shame. You want to reverse many years of struggle for women’s rights, and that is not fair to us.”
Republican backers? I can assure you, Martha, that we have no connection to the Republican Party. Furthermore, we call ourselves the “Independent” Women’s Forum because we advocate independent thinking about women’s issues–that is, thinking that is not scripted by the ideologists of radical feminism.