Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Censorship is philosophically wrong!

Censorship is immoral.  Censorship is wrong.  Censorship is an evil.

Of course there are some cases where certain information is usefully hidden from some particular audience for some particular purpose.  But philosophically censorship is wrong.

Most people who support (as opposed to promote) censorship are thinking of cases such as protecting young innocents from obscene pornographic material.  That cannot really be described as censorship.  It is quite reasonable to protect people you care about from damaging circumstances including the shocking and potentially harmful effects of certain visual or literary material.  There are perfectly serviceable solutions to this problem.  There are legal frameworks that make rape, underage sex or child abuse illegal.  It follows that if someone puts images of acts of paedophilia on the internet it is already illegal and the powers that be are well within their rights to prevent this happening.  But this is enacting the law - not censorship.  The law can deal with preventing illegal material being promulgated.

For entities like schools, parents or clubs who want, for whatever reason, to limit access to material they are perfectly at liberty to select the material they wish to make available to their charges or members.  There is even money to be made selling various filters and there are plenty of those already available.

It is not censorship for a school to not purchase obscene pornography for its library.  The nine o'clock watershed is not fairly described as 'censorship'.  There is plenty of scope for selecting what is appropriate in any particular circumstance.

People who promote censorship are trying to control what other people think.  There are two issues of importance here.  One is that nature is as it is and humanity will evolve the way it evolves.  Reality is what it is and truth is the awareness of reality.  Censorship is an attempt by one individual or group to falsely represent reality to another individual or group.  This is clearly contradictory to reality.  The other issue is that of freedom.  If we support the autonomous freedom of individuals then censorship is contradictory to that belief.

Censorship is generally used as a tool of control by an authority over a subjugated population.  Censorship is a generalised term to allow arbitrary control of information.  To enact laws of censorship is to give impunity to a controlling influence to enact its power over others.

If certain things are deemed by the collective group to be unacceptable then they can be described and made specifically illegal by mutual consent.  But censorship is an umbrella term which hands unlimited control to the ruling authority.  This is entirely against freedom and is immoral and ultimately evil.  It may be that reality is painful but 'protecting' people from the pain of reality has never worked in the long run.  All it achieves is to make some people more comfortable in the short term at the expense of other people in the long term.

Here are some petitions that need signing:

UK Prime Minister David Cameron: Stop the unnecessary censorship of "esoteric" websites and web forums!

Stop The Censorship of 'Esoteric' Websites and Alternative Spirituality

UK HM Government e-petition (must be UK citizen to sign)
Do Not Force ISP Filtering of Pornography and Other Content

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