Thursday, February 08, 2007

Archived commentary: Censorship

From the archives:

When is censorship appropriate?

(published 29-Sep-2003, Appleton Post-Crescent)

Mostly it isn't. In a family, though, it's entirely appropriate. Parents do it all the time, or should. What TV shows, movies, and reading materials are forbidden; what kind of language isn't tolerated, etc. Outside the family, certain types of "censorship" protect our rights. For example, public elections are by secret ballot – a form of censorship that I heartily endorse. Censorship of movies by anybody other than the movie studios themselves isn't appropriate. The censoring of Hillary Clinton's book in China is something about which we can do very little. It's rude from the standpoint of publishing rights ... but it highlights what governments have done and continue to do on a regular basis. Our First Amendment makes it easy for us to forget that the printed word isn't treated with the same respect in other countries. I'm sure that the Ayatollah Khomeini would have censored "Satanic Verses" in a heartbeat.

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