NorthernMNer breaks down his viral "libraries not libertarians" Ferguson tweet

fergusonlibrary.jpg
Dana Dean on Twitter
A teacher poses outside the Ferguson Public Library, where she's organizating educational activities for kids whose classes were canceled as a result of the unrest there.
The theme of librarians playing an indispensable role in American democracy has popped up in NorthernMNer's tweets a few times over the years, but never with as much resonance as earlier this week, when one of his tweets on that topic was retweeted well over 600 times.

The context for that viral offering is the ongoing unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, where the officer-involved shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown has led to people protesting in the street on a nightly basis and sparked a national conversation about race and the militarization of American law enforcement.

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Amid all the tension, the Ferguson Municipal Public Library published this Instagram post, which they linked to on Twitter:

That post inspired NorthernMNer, who asked us to keep his true identity a secret, to tweet this: In the wake of that tweet spreading across Twitter like wildfire, we asked NorthernMNer if he had any inkling he had something viral at his fingertips as he wrote it.

"Not in the slightest," he says, noting that "the interplay of librarian versus libertarian hits a sweet spot of mine that I've touched on before."

With that many retweets, you'd expect to gain a grip of followers as a result, right? But asked how many he added, NorthernMNer says, "Not many! Looks like two [or] three so far."

"Oh well. I'm here for quality, not necessarily quantity," he adds.

But NorthernMNer wants to make sure people appreciate that the real story here isn't about him or his tweet.

"The Ferguson library's tweet itself was very popular, and they are the real heroes of the story here," he says.

Send your story tips to the author, Aaron Rupar. Follow him on Twitter @atrupar.





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46 comments
Katie Hopfauf
Katie Hopfauf

Kaitlin, As a librarian I'm sure you would think that govt funded libraries are necessary, your job depends on it. Just like DEA agents need the war on drugs. Just like police, lawyers, judges and prisons all need criminals. Just like politicians need you to not think for yourself and believe you need them to take care of you and save you from yourself. Although, I'm not at all against privately run and funded libraries. Nothing the govt "gives" you is free.

Katie Hopfauf
Katie Hopfauf

Do you really think that if there was no govt taxing people by force to pay for libraries they wouldn't exist? I'm certain that people would still donate money and books to fund libraries on their own free will in their own communities. It would probably be much more efficient and less costly if the govt wasn't involved.

Kaitlin Peterson
Kaitlin Peterson

As a librarian I can tell you that the perception that libraries are becoming "obsolete" because of PCs and the internet is entirely untrue, and the current state of our nation, socially, economically, and technologically, makes libraries more important than ever. This is most especially to those for those that are most vulnerable. This is not just from personal observation but extensive research. http://ipac.umd.edu/survey/analysis/digital-literacy-public-libraries

Eva Chavarria Hunter
Eva Chavarria Hunter

A Library requires some sustained local government funding for it to survive. If there's no government participation there would be no libraries. You might get many free or low cost items are available online, even w/out a subscription. It convinces me that this isn't a working market doing a better job of preserving the original intent of public libraries when needed to increase public knowledge and bring people together. Unlike keeping people apart where Libertarians huddle by themselves somewhere. Give me a Library any day to go to instead of being left on my own!

senatortombstone
senatortombstone

Libertarians aren't opposed to libraries or librarians, they are opposed to initiation of force. All taxation is collected under the threat force. If you do not pay taxes, you will be fined, your property will be seized, you may end up in prison, or even killed, depending on the level of resistance you put up.

Noel Barrick
Noel Barrick

What if that librarian is a libertarian? o.O

flakes
flakes

While I don't have a problem with Librarians -- they do a wonderful job.  I really don't understand the link to Libertarianism.  Is it just because they sound the same?


Keep in mind that there are many different forms of Libertarianism: 


- I personally don't feel that the government doesn't have any say about what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their own home.  

- I feel that gay men and lesbian women are entitled to get married and live their lives without any interference from religious based authority.  

- I feel that people, all people not just the privileged white majority, should have the freedom to go about their daily business without being hassled by the police. 

- I believe a woman has the right to do what she wants with her life and body.


All of the above points are a form of libertarianism.  No it isn't just about Ron Paul, weed, and taxes.


You might want to watch this Bill Maher video:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ybud1Ai1dWQ

Frank Kuppe
Frank Kuppe

Being against coercive behavior does not equal being against eduction and reading. I'm sorry that the public library system is becoming obsolete via PCs and the internet but that's no reason to attack Libertarians. Also, I do not understand the correlation, Libertarians have been warning people about the police state many years. State coercion either via library's, food stamp ect or thru the police state are different sides to the same coin...

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

Yes. Ferguson was the libertarians fault. Priceless.

footnotegirl
footnotegirl

Very unlikely, at least for public and school librarians. I mean, public libraries are based on the concept of everyone pooling some of their money for the good of all. It's a very socialist concept. How a Libertarian could justify having a job where they take taxpayers money to give things out to the public for free for the common good, I don't know. 

David Brooks did a piece in the New York Times on September 11, 2004 titled "Ruling Class War" where he quoted a study done that year where income tax returns were checked for professions and for political donations. Librarians came out 223 liberal to 1 conservative. 

footnotegirl
footnotegirl

The public library system is hardly becoming obsolete. In fact, use of local library systems (via circulation of books, circulation of ebooks, use of databases, use of computers, and regular counts of people on the premises) has done nothing but increase in the last few years. 

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@mingtran    Way to prove how useless libertarians are ming.   Your only comment on Fergusson is whining about how libertarians are getting picked on?   Libertarians have a terrible reputation because bigots like you and Ron Paul never actually seem to get anything done about actual government overreach.  Ferguson is a shining example of the problems with big government but the only issue you care about is insults on twitter.  Pathetic. 

misterrosewater
misterrosewater

@mingtran One can discern from the tweet that he wasn't placing blame on Libertarians.  He was taking them to task for after-the-fact armchair proselytizing about how superior Libertarians find themselves to be during times of civic distress, while Librarians are making an effort to preserve some semblance of peace and rationality to those who seek solace in knowledge.

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

@footnotegirl To say that all libertarians are opposed to funding public libraries is a little shortsighted. The best minds in the world probably identify most closely with "libertarian-socialism".


Why you folks always tie "conservative" to libertarian types has always been beyond me. Libertarians are more socially liberal than "liberals".

MicheIeBachmann
MicheIeBachmann

@MicheleBachmann @mingtran Also, it's probably because people like Ron Paul, Ralph Nader, Dennis Kucinich, Justin Amash, etc. are in the minority. Yes. Those politicians all have more in common with each other than with the parties of which they are considered to be a member.

MicheIeBachmann
MicheIeBachmann

@MicheleBachmann @mingtran "...never actually seem to get anything done about actual government overreach." Says the die-hard "vote democrat" guy. Lol give us a break. When it comes to government overreach, Barack Obama is George W. Bush on steroids.

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

@misterrosewater You types are the ultimate projectors: Work yourselves up into a tizzy about something that isn't there, eventually believing it for so long that it becomes real to you. Your lives are one big mass hallucination.That's some kinda powerful stupid right there.

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

@misterrosewater I didn't take it that away. What libertarian arm chair proselytizing? No instance was mentioned in the article.

footnotegirl
footnotegirl

@mingtran @footnotegirl Yes, most libertarians are more socially liberal, but they are much more fiscally conservative, and in that, they stand pretty staunchly against taxing the populace for public projects like public schools, libraries, parks, roads, regulatory departments, etc.

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

@footnotegirl That isn't true. Most regulatory departments aside.

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