Saturday, February 7, 2015

On censorship

Up until now, I have been posting on this blog comments which I submitted to the ABC Religion and Ethics page in recent months, which did not get published. I've used them all up, so now I'm doing simultaneous posting of new comments, to this blog as well as the ABC site. Let's see what makes it, and continue to speculate on whether opaque moderation policies or technical issues are the cause of their non-publication. 

The following comment has been posted in response to the article "The Role of Censorship and the Defence of Public Culture", written by tame atheist Alain de Botton. 

The worst kind of censorship is that which seeks not just to regulate or organise speech, but to destroy it: to burn the books and punish those who propagate the ideas within them. Advertising should be organised - have it on a billboard near a motorway, but not on the side of a culturally significant museum. Sexually explicit material can be on TV late at night, or on the password-locked cable channels, but not during free-to-air kids' timeslots. The restrictions come with an arrangement which also provides a means for the expression of the ideas. That kind of thing is not really censorship, and I think Alain de Botton's thinking is a bit skewed here.

I think much of the criticism of Charlie Hebdo does fit into the category of destructive censorship. It appears that many of  those who condemn the murderers then go on to demand the destruction of the ideas... they have zero tolerance for those funny little drawings.

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