If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.
But are there some situations where some reading material should not be accepted or allowed? Hitler's autobiography is often given as an example of a book that justifies its banning—but are there other examples as well? Cath Murphy at LitReactor.com asks:
What about bestiality, rape, necrophilia? Are we really willing to allow this kind of material onto library shelves?....Books can seek to obscure as well as enlighten. Is it acceptable to allow revisionists to publish their arguments? To deny the Holocaust happened; to downplay the massacres in Bosnia?
The Nazis turned book banning into a public display of fealty to the homeland and the "purification" of German values. On May 10, 1933, German authorities and university students burned 25,000 books on one night alone, in perhaps the most famous book burning in history. If Nazis loved banning books, do we really need any further evidence the practice is evil and wrong?
Banning books for political reasons is as old as the printed page. And many Americans are fine with it. In a 2015 Harris poll, 28 percent of U.S. adults surveyed answered "Yes" when asked "Do you think that there are any books which should be banned completely?"
A third of Americans (33%) don’t think children should be able to get the Koran from their school library and three in ten say the same of the Torah or Talmud (29%). A fourth don’t think children should be able to get books that question the existence of a divine being or beings from school libraries (26%), while two in ten say the same of books that discuss creationism (19%) and 16% feel this way about books that discuss evolution.