The act of burning a book is an desperate attempt to obliterate an idea.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of bad ideas out there that I would love to see done away with. Racism, homophobia, sexism, slavery, and thousands more. But the answer to the question of how to get rid of an idea is to combat it with reason, with arguments, with social force, with civil disobedience, with love. NOT by burning a book containing the idea.
This, of course, doesn’t even address the issue that in most cases book burners are not fighting the things I mentioned above. What they are usually fighting is a religion they don’t like, or a take on that religion (see Salmon Rushdie).
Sometimes they are fighting a cultural issue (see Dixie Chicks, Beatles), or maybe a political philosophy (see Marx, Paine, Gandhi,) But in every case it is fear that drives them. Not fear based on knowledge and reason, but fear based on mob mentality and ignorance.
I am talking metaphorically now…Don’t burn a book today (or ever). Don’t burn a person or an idea either. Fight for what is right instead.