Monday, July 02, 2012

Libertarian Censorship

Censorship was a debate most people thought was won (or lost) in the 1960’s. But it has been neither won nor lost - just changed - and that for the worse.

Those opposed to censorship believed in
i the goodness of human nature,
ii the harmlessness (if not benefit) of all communication, and that
iii people in power will protect themselves rather than truth.

You do not need to read James 3 to see that the first two of these arguments are manifestly false. The sinfulness of all humans is demonstrated in the universal habit of telling lies. Words are incredibly powerful and effective, both for good and ill; otherwise there would be no point in writing books, blogs or newspapers, let alone spending money on advertising.

However, the third argument is all too true. People in power use censorship to retain their position and promote their viewpoint. Yet governments are not the only people in power and police raids and court cases are not the only means of censorship. It happens in a whole range of ways from things we are compelled to see (or pay for) through advertising, to things we are not allowed to see because they are never given an airing. From marginalising and dismissing views and people by what social scientists call ‘labelling’ to the selectivity of the education curriculum. Read more

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