“Burning Books”, a pithy alarmist phrased used to evoke Totalitarian regimes. So pervasive is this image that it has become synonymous with oppression in the West, of course, because by “oppression” we almost universally secretly mean “..of the Intellectual Class”.
The fear of book burning is that ONE’S OWN GOVERNMENT will BURN BOOKS containing ideas it wants to WITHHOLD from its OWN populace. THAT’S why it is bad–it is not a Platonic Form of Evil floating around in space without regard to context. If the government gathered old tattered library books and burned them to dispose of them no one would care. It’s not the BOOKS, it’s the ideas contained in them and the motivations of the Burner that matters
The furor over this stupid Pastor’s plan to “burn Korans” is yet another example of modern synecdoche + Cargo Cult mentality. The synecdoche comes in where any “book burning” is immediately condemned as Fascist and “un American”, irrespective of who is doing it or why. We all know that the current generation in power is obsessed with refighting the ideological battles of WW2 in perpetuity(the Cargo Cult) , so anything that can be remotely characterized as related to Fascism and Nazism must be publicly and self-consciously denounced in wild-eyed demonstrations of moral preening.
But Fascism and Nazism were NOT characterized primarily by “book burning”, that is merely one action a totalitarian government CAN take to control its peoples minds. A Pastor is a PRIVATE citizen, burning a book to demonstrate disgust for another belief system, one held by the people we are actively at war with. He is not burning Korans out of fear his flock will read them and convert or rebel–the motivation behind GOVERNMENT “book burning”–but to let the enemy know clearly and concisely that he doesn’t respect them, doesn’t care about their tender little feelings, holds their religion in zero regard and is in fact openly hostile to it. He is saying “We will NOT be bullied by your protestations of offense any more than you are by ours when you burn our flags and bibles”.
There is no relationship between this act of book burning and that of the totalitarian, other than the most shallow of “books” and “burning”. The inability of modern people, usually liberals but increasingly the so-called “Right” as well, to discern the fundamental differences between actions and ideas is alarming. I can only imagine it is rooted in the campaign against “discrimination” that has been waged against our cognitive faculties for at least the last 30 years, if not longer.