Culture Wars in Loudoun County

Virginia’s cultural liberals and conservatives are locking horns again, this time in Loudoun County. The issue: R-rated movies in public libraries. The Board of Supervisors has a problem with spending public money to stock the library with R-rated titles, according to an article in the Washington Post. Civil libertarians are accusing the supervisors of something akin to censorship: violating the public’s right to read (or listen, or view).

To my mind, this is the wrong debate. I don’t think the Loudoun public library system should be spending any of its $10.5 million budget on videos of any kind, whether it’s “Bambi” or “Braveheart”.

Are there not enough video stores in Loudoun County? Does the cable service, with its movie channels and and Pay Per View, offer an insufficient choice of movies? Has ceased delivering DVDs to Leesburg?

Frivolous controversies like this one are the inevitable result of government getting involved in something it has no business in. By its intrinsic nature, government in a democratic society politicizes everything it touches.

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2 responses to “Culture Wars in Loudoun County”

  1. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Public libraries, not High School libraries, right?

    If so, then I don’t have a problem with ‘R’. I do with XXX. R’s may be significant films that help explain or shape (interesting when life imitates art) culture – domestic and foreign.

    There are fairly murky community standards which SCOTUS recognized in pornography vs free speech cases. If the public library goes too far for the public, then they can hire (vote) new supervisors to fire the librarian or appoint a new library board (dunno what authority they have).

    Film, art and music are different forms of expression from written word literature but very important for learning and any civilization- bearing institution like a public library.

    What’s the mission statement – purpose – of the Loudon Co Public Library?

  2. NoVA Scout Avatar
    NoVA Scout

    An interesting point re video stores. I’m not sure where the reasoning goes, however. There are no doubt numerous bookstores and music stores also. Nonetheless, there is probably a continuing need for public libraries to make available a broad spectrum of artistic or informational media. I probably have more disposable income than the average head of household, but there are some videos or CDs that I get from the library. Their terms are different (longer time frames) and they often have types of DVDs or music that commercial outlets don’t have.

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