Thursday, December 13, 2007

Underlying Presumption of Censorship

Pearce J. Carefoote, author of Forbidden Fruit, talks about the underlying presumption of censorship.
The underlying presumption of censorship is that members of a society will be harmed if they are allowed to make informed choices for themselves about what they read or see. In essence, it is based on the very elitist premise that the uneducated masses need protection from ideas....If this paternalistic theory was ever valid, it is much more difficult to support in an era when the vast majority of the population in the West holds at least a high school diploma and is more technologically competent than any other generation in history. While weak, powerless, and voiceless populations -- children, for example -- will always need society's special protection to prevent their harm or exploitation, argumentation is always preferable to outright censorship; rather than advancing society, such censorship runs the risk of making it retrograde.

--Pearce J. Carefoote. Forbidden Fruit p. 20-21.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

I think it goes deeper than that: if you read something that someone in a percieved position of authority wants censored, they are afraid that you will get ideas, or realize that there are other options besides those that the authority figure offers you.

Those limited choices are designed to keep you complacent and under control because the authority figure really doesn't have many tools in their leadership bag, other than fear and strict control (can you say "insecure"? I knew you could!)

If you realize that there are other ways of thinking about an issue, then you begin to question the authority figure, or even act contrary to the rules they impose. The only way the authority figure can prevent this from happening is by banning or censoring any materials that would put ideas into the heads of their audience.