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Censorship in UP Libraries?

In "My Economics Book Is Censored in the Philippines," Mark Skousen, author of The Making of Modern Economics: The Lives and Ideas of the Great Thinkers, claims that his book and Ayn Rand’s novels have been "pulled from the shelves" of the libraries at the University of the Philippines (UP), which he says is "a hotbed of Marxism."

Skousen is, of course, quoting "a friend in the Philippines," who may or may not have an agenda of his own. I will still have to make my own investigation, but based on a search of UP's online catalog, the books written by Skousen and Rand are available at the different libraries on campus.

There may be a more logical explanation. Skousen quotes his friend as saying:

Well, just yesterday she looked again [for Skousen's book] -- and it was gone! Also all Rand’s books have disappeared (they were in both the main library and the library of the College of Arts and Letters -- gone from both).
Just because a book is not on the shelf doesn't mean it has been "censored." It's very likely that someone got the book from the shelf and left it in another part of the library. There is also the other possibility that the book was borrowed. And so, of course, it would not be on the shelf.

Skousen's friend goes on and says that, "the copy of your book had been heavily highlighted by the librarian -- complete with annotated comments disputing what you said." I wonder how this friend knew that the book had been highlighted if it were missing? Ok, assuming that s/he saw the book right before it "disappeared," how can s/he be certain that it was the librarian who did the highlighting? The fact that the book was dog-eared implies that the book had already passed through more than a few hands. Besides, I don't think any librarian would deface any of the books s/he's responsible for. Or any book, period.

And Rand's novels? I wouldn't be surprised if students were told to read her novels and, instead of buying their own copies, just borrowed the copies from the different libraries on campus.

Please don't get me wrong. I am not making a case for or against Marxism or capitalism. I just think there is a less insidious explanation for the absence of certain books on a library's shelves than what Skousen suggests.

Category: In the News

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