May 20, 2010 Leave a comment
Censorship — the suppression of speech or ideas, which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient to the government or media organizations as determined by a censor — has a long history. And, if you study the history of censorship you will discover something quite interesting — the advocates of censorship have almost always been, in one form or another, tyrants.
Hard pressed would you be to find a lover of liberty who also was a proponent of censorship.
Go as far back in antiquity as you like and you will find this to be true. The Romans considered it the responsibility of the state to form the character of citizens and so censorship was actually considered a virtue. And, despite what you may have heard about the “greatness” of the Roman Empire, it was one of the most oppressive societies in history.
More recent examples also bear this out:
- In Russia in the early 1920s, during the time of Lenin and Trotsky, writers and artists were “granted” creative freedom provided they observed the rule of not engaging in political dissent.
- When Stalin came to power in Russia even this so-called freedom was eliminated. Stalin controlled all forms of communication and did not tolerate dissenting opinions.
- In 1933 Josef Goebbels, the man in charge of state propaganda for Nazi Germany, burned more than 20,000 books declared “offensive” by the state.
- Adolf Hitler, the dictator of Nazi Germany, implemented severe censorship in all countries occupied by his armies during World War II. National newspapers, publishers, and radio stations were all taken over by the Nazis or shut down. Listening to foreign radio broadcasts or reading foreign newspapers was punishable by death.
Now, you would think, after centuries of evidence that clearly shows censorship is the tool of the tyrant, that we would have come to a point where no one would advocate it — especially in America, where the freedom of speech has traditionally been valued.
America’s founders knew that free speech is not the enemy of a free society but it’s ally. They knew the only ones who had something to fear from free speech were the tyrants. That’s why they included free speech in the U. S. Constitution:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
So, why do I bring this up?
Because, there are advocates of censorship in America at this very moment — and they occupy places of extreme power. Here is just a sample of what the Obama administration and Obama’s friends have planned for America:
- A government-run media.
- Control and censorship of the internet.
- And, taking a page right out of Goebbels playbook, Obama’s new Supreme Court nominee is an advocate of banning books.
It brings up a couple of questions:
- How did America go from embracing the ideas of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison to embracing the ideas of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin?
- How to we get back?
Bumper sticker of the day: