Welcome to the Monkey House

Topics: Censorship, Freedom of speech, Suicide Pages: 7 (3125 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Erin Lowe- also author of many "outstanding" American History essays.... of which two are published somewhere here..... one about Peter Noyes, and another about Mercantilism..... "Books won't stay banned. They won't burn. Ideas won't go to jail… In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas. The source of better ideas is wisdom. The surest path to wisdom is a liberal education." The only way that the ideas of this world that are deemed bad are going to go away is if we are allowed to see them and change them. If we are not allowed to see what is "bad" then our society will never grow to become a better place. What censorship does is keep us protected; leaving us living sheltered lives. If we never see a racist comment how are we to know that racism is bad? At the same time Censorship can be a good thing because it keeps children from seeing pornography, and terrible acts of violence. However censorship should not keep anyone from seeing literature, even if it is considered slightly explicit in a sexual, racial, or violent manner. Censorship should leave the ideas of people alone and leave them with their first amendment rights. Amendment one of the United States Bill of Rights reads "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise there of; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble…". What this means is that we, in America have the right to be any religion, and to not have that religion forced upon us. We have the right to say what we want and to publish our ideas if we so wish, and to read the ideas that others have published. We can also peaceably assemble, or gather in protest without violence what we think is wrong. The biggest right that we have is that of free speech and press. We can say what we want! As American sometimes we take this for granted. However even though we have the right to free speech we have to draw the line somewhere, but where? "We so often condemn books that were written to fight the very things that we claim to be fighting." This quote illustrates one of the things that are so wrong with censorship. We seem to ban or censor books, like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, that are actually against racism or whatever the objection to the book is. When a book is taken the wrong way it is simply the fault of the reader, and not the book. The book therefore cannot be censored in this case. To override the right of free speech on the grounds that the speech in question is likely to harm or offend others is to commit an act of censorship. Not all censorship of this manner is unjustified however, for some speech causes significant and direct harm to others, such as maliciously defaming speech, and speech which opens national secrets to "enemies". There should be however a presumption that all speech is protected from censorship in that the censor always has to prove and to persuade the people that the speech is bad. In this way it is using new and better ideas to eliminate the bad ideas. The speaker should not have to prove every time that an individual challenges his/her speech that it really is good. The proof has to be that whatever harm or offense the speech has caused is significant, and direct. Free speech is a valuable thing, and should not be restricted by its remote or superficially adverse affect on others. "Without free speech no search for truth is possible… no discovery of truth is useful… Better a thousandfold abuse of free speech that denial of free speech. The abuse dies in a day, but the denial slays the life f the people, and entombs the hope of the race" This quote had an excellent point in the case against censorship. To discover new ideas and the truth of life we need to be exposed to new thoughts, and different thoughts. If we always saw the same thoughts over and over we could never...
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