Running head: THE HEATED DEBATE BETWEEEN MUSIC CENSORSHIP
The heated debate between music
censorship and freedom of expression
The heated debate 2
Our society today largely views censorship as a method that has disappeared from liberal cultures since the enlightenment with the exception of restrictions in time of war. The enlightenment served to cripple the intolerance of incisive government leaders, but did not obliterate censorship altogether. Instead, the job of expurgating unacceptable ideas has simply fallen into new hands using new tactics. Censors now assume the guise of capitalist retailers and distributors, special-interest groups, and less influential but still passionate religious and government authorities. Their new techniques are market-censorship (dominating the marketplace), constitutive censorship (the control of language), power-knowledge (restricting knowledge), as well as the traditional regulative censorship (law). These new forces can be as equally effective as the forces of remote history. George Bernard Shaw once stated,”All censorships exist to prevent anyone from challenging current conceptions and existing institution. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.” Another worth quoting is Robbie Robertson of Rolling Stones Magazine, “I learned early on Bob Dylan that the people hung around with were no musicians. They were poets, like Allen Ginsberg. When we were in Europe, there’d be poets coming out of the woodwork. His writing came directly out of a tremendous poetic influence, a license to write in images that weren’t in the Tin Pan Ally tradition or typically rock & roll, either.” Music is a free expression of the ideas, traditions and emotions of individuals and of peoples. It may express musicians’ hopes and aspirations, their joys and sorrows, their very identity as a culture, yet these expressions may conflict with those of people in power. The ideas themselves may simply be unpopular or outside the current thinking or practices of a regime or special interest group. There are those the worlds over that are threatened by the very nature of a The heated debate 3
free exchange of ideas. There are those who will stop at nothing to stifle them. Music censorship has been implemented by states, religions, educational systems, families, retailers and lobbying groups – and in most cases they violate international conventions of human rights. Most people cannot quote the First Amendment of the United States concerning “freedom of speech and expression. Our First Amendment states that our government shall make no law to “abridge” the freedom of speech, or of the press. This is not the same as “censorship.” Let alone are most people even aware that it is the 10th Amendment that abridges our countries music and not the First Amendment. The 10th Amendment – Powers of the States and People, of our U.S. Constitution states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. That’s why a music CD can be purchased in one store edited, yet the very same CD can be purchased at another location unedited. Our First Amendment states our government shall make no “abridge” to our freedom of speech. It doesn’t claim not to alter it, however one needs to understand abridge to fully understand our First Amendment. Abridge technically means, to reduce the length of (a written work) by condensing or rewriting; to curtail; diminish; to deprive of (privileges, rights, etc). It only means to reword what is stated without diminishing its meaning if need be. Like all other human beings, every individual musician is protected by a number of human rights. He or she has the right to freedom of association, freedom of...