Compared to most sub-cultures online, book readers are relatively sedate compared to other, flashier forms of media and culture.

Sure, there can be flare-ups over divisive titles such as “Twilight,” and the Harry Potter fandom can often carry things a bit too far, but there’s less likelihood of online bullying and hate-mongering in the name of the printed word than video games, movies and comic books can often inspire in the worst corners of the mediums’ fanbase.

So I knew something big had gone down when Twitter nearly exploded over a column written against, of all things, libraries.

Over the weekend, economist Panos Mourdoukoutas published an opinion piece online for Forbes, “Amazon Should Replace Local Libraries to Save Taxpayers Money.”

 The ill-considered piece, since removed from the magazine’s website, argued if libraries were closed, Amazon and other booksellers could move in to replace them to earn the tax dollars saved by citizens no longer burdened by a library bill.

The backlash was swift.

After all, the people most likely to lose in such a transaction are people below the poverty line, who often depend on the library not only for access to books, but to computers, printers and other services Amazon has a tendency to charge for.

Then again, Mourdoukoutas would probably count this as a good thing. Creating an unlettered underclass of laborers is pretty much in line with his selfish line of “if I’m not using it, why should I pay taxes for it” thinking?

He probably also wants to cut firefighting services because his house isn’t currently ablaze.

Thankfully, libraries remain intact across the nation, particularly the four we have here in Walton County, all of which I can highly recommend.

Why don’t you go check one out this week? Grab a book or two and enjoy some time with your tax-funded benefits. They’re certainly worth it.

News Editor

Stephen Milligan is the news editor of The Walton Tribune. He lives in Monroe and is a graduate of the University of Georgia.

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