Sometimes I give myself assignments, and today’s was to write something about censorship.
Censorship is the editing, removing, or otherwise changing of ideas or human expression. Censors try to use the power of the state to impose their views of what is truthful and appropriate, or offensive and objectionable, onto others. Censors pressure public institutions to remove information they deem inappropriate or dangerous so that no one else has the opportunity to make up their own minds. Censors take away your rights. Censors turn you into puppets.
Censorship is the cancer of communication. It’s tyranny. If you don’t like something, just stop looking at it. Don’t suppress literature, art, sex education or information. Instead, do something useful with your life. If you have time to complain, you have time to volunteer for a group that helps others who are less fortunate.
The Communication Decency Act (CDA) restricts freedom and stifles vital information. But let’s not forget that decency is subjective. I can’t define it, but I know how to avoid it. It is the right of every individual to seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. Informed adults should be allowed to make their own choices. Uninformed adults should either pay attention or shut the hell up. Like religious fanatics. For some strange reason, these people believe there to be a clear distinction between ideas that are morally uplifting and ideas that are morally corrupting. Even stranger is their belief that society will benefit from their perception, that individuals and institutions will be endangered if certain ideas are disseminated without restriction. But how can you look at a speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye when all the time there’s a great plank in your own? Religious fanatics better make sure they’re not having sex with children or prostitutes before they rage from their pulpit about the evils of so-called aberrant ideas or behavior.
In some cases, labeling works. In some cases it doesn’t. Ultimately, it should be up to parents to decide what’s appropriate for their children, not some drunken, womanizing politician or closeted televangelist. But of course, parents don’t have 24-hour access to the eyes of their children. So, if your kids’ friends show them something you wish they hadn’t, talk about it. Let your kids ask questions. If they don’t have questions, initiate a thoughtful discussion that encourages inquiry and the development of personal judgment. Don’t raise your kids to be narrow-minded jerks. Don’t be afraid of the ugly or the mysterious. Secrecy breeds rebellion. And shame. And shame breeds dishonesty. And sometimes disease.
If you take away my intellectual freedom, you might as well take away my oxygen. Or my porn.
Stay informed. Know what’s happening in your state legislature, local schools, library boards, and city councils. Write letters to your representatives expressing your views. Attend local meetings. For God’s sake, stop reading this and go do something worthwhile to fight censorship! Because if you don’t do your part, someone else will and they’ll get all the credit!