An Essay on Censorship

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An Essay on Censorship

Postby depricated » Thu May 07, 2009 3:04 am

This is an Essay I wrote for an English class I had last quarter. I chose to argue the counterpoint of my opinion. That is, I believe the opposite of what I say in this Essay. I'm curious what other people think of it, though. It got an A+, which pleased me well enough. It was really difficult to take the angle I did. Read and respond!

Full Essay is available at:
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Re: An Essay on Censorship

Postby balder » Fri May 08, 2009 5:01 pm

You picked a fine example, if you are going to make that case. But censorship...eh, I'd better not say that. :twisted:
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Re: An Essay on Censorship

Postby Infidel » Fri May 08, 2009 5:25 pm

Seems good to me. Good arguments in support of Censorship will address the element of harm. There is a sentence always used to justify censorship, "You can't yell, 'Fire!' in a crowded theater." and I agree in totality.

Unfortunately, censorship is seemingly more often used for other purposes.
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Re: An Essay on Censorship

Postby depricated » Sat May 09, 2009 12:12 am

Ya, I agree Infidel. I think censorship is acceptable insofar as it prevents direct harm and incitement - such as shouting for a mob to hang someone or shouting fire in a theater. I don't think censorship is acceptable as a method of enforcing moral views, such as the banning of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" in schools because it contains violence and strong language(1). I think far far far too often it's the latter that occurs and not the former, and I truly believe that Rushdie is an amazing writer and that it's wrong to attempt to censor him.

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Re: An Essay on Censorship

Postby Infidel » Sat May 09, 2009 1:41 am

depricated wrote:Ya, I agree Infidel. I think censorship is acceptable insofar as it prevents direct harm and incitement - such as shouting for a mob to hang someone or shouting fire in a theater. I don't think censorship is acceptable as a method of enforcing moral views,


Well, there is "moral" censorship, but I was also referring to political censorship as well. I just read an article where free journalism is under a major attack right now, and in many countries, including Russia, free press is in serious decline due to political pressure, over 40 countries with less free journalism this year than last. It was on my google news feed so it shouldn't be too hard to dig up, because it was this week that the article came out.

There is also an argument for censoring Stupididy as well, but I suppose as long as intelligence is allowed a voice, people should be allowed to judge for themselves.
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Re: An Essay on Censorship

Postby Xewleer » Sun May 10, 2009 5:34 am

(I don't actually talk like this, but I'm doing it so you know that I'm not looking for a serious argument about why I suck and I should feel bad. Happens, yah know? Apologies for the length)

Censorship is born out of the power of the morality, and under it is the masses. We (America) used to be Christians. Until the last 50 years, 75% of America at least SAID they were some kind of Christian. (What arguments do you have against it?). Thusly, if the morals say: No sex on tv, no cursin' and keep the violence down, and the masses AGREE with them? Well, what's wrong with it?

Maybe the masses have moved on, now, in this brave new world. FREE SPEECH! They chant! They want EVERYTHING! and they want it now... and those who had appeased the masses now find themselves behind the times... poor, pitiable old people, their world has departed... they don't understand it anymore? What happened to the moral of the masses? NO! It hasn't changed! They are merely more immoral! So we will show them what it means to be moral! Is that what they think? Maybe.. maybe...

Wish I could say to you, it's lost a lot of inflection, please keep that in mind. It sounds sarcastic, the way I say it.

Anyway, to your essay:
Some things:It was good, and the writing was worth the A, but I can't help but feel that it's disjointed. I don't know where you're going until the end.

Now for some meat...
I happen to agree that some things should never be written. (Since I am a moral man, who hates cursin' and extra-marital sex) I would like to see all books on gay sex burned/never written. Why do we need it? Oh yes... the morals have changed. Now, Rushdie said something hard! Very very complex and perhaps hateful. What a pity! especially for England who bears the problem of protecting him! Pity them!

Anyway. Now, he's got an idea or two that he said wrong, but I got anudder side to. There are rumors... rumors mind you, but with some truth, that Mohammad was found of the leaf, hashish.(weed) Anyhoo... one can assume that a man who has been educated, and knows, at least, Judaism. I can think that there ain't a man-jack among you that doesn't know where I'm talking about. 'Nudder thing: He DID kill a lotta rivals. In fact, he WAS chased outta Mecca, went to Medina and came back with an army, then converted his enemies with the point of his sword. In fact, he says to kill those who won't convert, and that them that die a killing his enemies (mainly Christians and pro-Jews) will get intah heaven with some virgins to greet him.

Now, the weed thing ain't something you'll find on wikipedia. You'll find it by reading good 'ol history books and a talking with people who studied it. (NOT Muslims.) Why don't talk to Muslims? There's this story. An extremely influential Buddhist monk died. His friends said he died peacefully, and that the smell of flowers filled the air at his death. His enemies said he died in pain, due to his extreme digestive problems, also the smell? Well, what do you expect from a man who died from his guts? Who in this world do you think is right? His students who venerated him? Or his enemies who didn't want him dead, but certainly didn't want him on a pedestal? I'm gonna put five bucks on the guys with nothing tah lose from the truth. His enemies.

Now I ain't a doubting Mohammad's influence, or that there are good Muslims, but what I am saying, is this: Maybe in a world filled with people who love and hate, they all got different stories. I say that Mohammad took a very strange weed, saw somethings that references the education he got. He was a merchant, ain't a big jump tah think that he had a lotta trade with Jews and Christians, especially them that were in Ethiopia. He gathers some friends, convinces them of something he believes and he gains more people. The morals and the masses toss him outta Mecca. But here's something, the morals of Medina, AND the masses believe him. They grant him his very own army and he goes on a roaring rampage of revenge on them that wronged him.

Now, I ain't a demonizing him, and I don't really care much if a fact here or there is wrong, but this is what I think happened. Now that I got my opinion out there, and I ain't got nothing to really lose or gain from a saying it...

Should this have been censored? Because that is the whole point of what I just said. I said something that goes against some 1 billion people, maybe more. Some would agree, others no... but you've got to understand. I just exercised free speech. Someone will pm me, or post on here that I'm the wrongest Mo.Fu. in this here world and I'm the source of all anti-nonChristian sentiment. I really hope I'm wrong, though.
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Re: An Essay on Censorship

Postby Infidel » Sun May 10, 2009 5:06 pm

Xewleer wrote:Censorship is born out of the power of the morality, and under it is the masses. We (America) used to be Christians. Until the last 50 years, 75% of America at least SAID they were some kind of Christian. (What arguments do you have against it?). Thusly, if the morals say: No sex on tv, no cursin' and keep the violence down, and the masses AGREE with them? Well, what's wrong with it?


Ok, you seem to be under a number of misconceptions, and since you use them for the basis of your arguments, I'll just address the misconceptions and not the arguments you make based on them. For now just remember that your arguments are born out of ignorance, your lack of knowledge is making you make some serious errors in judgement.

First Censorship predates America. While I can't say that it predates religion, I can say that you cannot just come on and assert that "Censorship was born out of the power of morality." If you're going to come on and make a statement up like that, then you're going to have to back it up. So back it up.

Second, People claiming to be christian doesn't mean that much. There has always been a lot of political and social pressure to be Christian. That pressure is not only negative either considering church is a serious social networking site.

Maybe the masses have moved on, now, in this brave new world. FREE SPEECH! They chant! They want EVERYTHING! and they want it now... and those who had appeased the masses now find themselves behind the times... poor, pitiable old people, their world has departed... they don't understand it anymore? What happened to the moral of the masses? NO! It hasn't changed! They are merely more immoral! So we will show them what it means to be moral! Is that what they think? Maybe.. maybe...


Do you know what the holocaust was and what role censorship played in it? You should do some homework on it. Consider the role censorship played in maintaining Stalin's power in Russia. The millions of people that don't know and probably never will know what happened to some family members that were disappeared by the government. Since you argue in favor of Christianity, consider how Christianity was censored because it was not the majority view. How it is still censored in many Islamic countries. In many Islamic countries, female castration is a daily practice, but their cries of injustice are censored out because they are not the popular opinion.

Essentially, if you are going to argue that the majority is right, then Christianity is not the majority so your argument is an automatic fail. Sorry to disappoint you. You will only find Christianity the majority if you ignore everyone else. But the REAL problem with your majority=morality argument is that it assumes that if you are not the majority, then your opinions don't matter. But instead you become a hypocrite and then make a follow up argument that it is the majority that is wrong.

Do you see the contrast between the two paragraphs I quoted and how your arguments cancel each other out? You cannot logically argue that something is right BECAUSE it was the majority opinion, then argue that when the majority changes its opinion that the majority is wrong BECAUSE it changed. The problem with using "moral" arguments to justify censorship is because it quickly degenerates to just another tool for eliminating dissenters.
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Re: An Essay on Censorship

Postby Xewleer » Sun May 10, 2009 8:42 pm

Now now... Lets step back. I assumed we were talking about American censorship in my first few paragraphs. I'm touched though. My ignorance is most appalling.

We've got an evolving culture. It has changed throughout our (American) history. Independance, manifest destiny, Sufferage, Prohibition and now what have we. The four I mentioned? All were influenced by Christian ideas. Independance: God-believing men doing great things(Christian, Deist, Roman Catholic, whatever denomination). Manifest destiny: America has the God given right to reach the Pacific. Sufferage: Many of the women (and men) who worked on this often worked together in Church groups. Prohibition: Alchohol is a sin and should be banned (Drunkenness, mainly, it was a big problem back then). World War 2 broke out!

Bibles were given out during the war by the truckload. Mothers would send their war-bound sons 'pocket Bibles' to give divine protection (as it were). Now we've got ourselves an argument. Now, the 50's generation had kids. It was the not-so decadent times as it was more of a comfort thing. Every one had a car, a tv, and a radio. People went to Church because it was expected of them. Like you said, just because they went to Church, that doesn't mean they believed. Children are the most... shrewd observers of their parents. Many parents didn't really have a reason to go to church. So, we have the hippies, morals changed for good with them. And we've advanced further my erudite friend.

Movie wise, The fifties had HORROR! Giant ants! And Alfred Hitchcock! Cary Grant! But... what's this? Mr Blandings (Of: Mr. Blandings build his dream house, one of my favorite comedies) is sleeping in a different bed than his hot wife!? What? hey... look! Gone with the Wind had a scandal over the word: Damn!? We now look at F*** f*** f*** f*** f*** f*** and never even bat an eye. Children are glorified, told they are the masters. Money and sex and drugs... all a part of our society. Tv shows about all three (at once!) are primetime showings. Fifty years ago that was too risque!

Morality changes. Do you understand now?

Now for Stalin. He ruled the masses through fear. He censored the media because they could woo the people. He didn't really care about communism, all he, and his successors too, cared about was power. Stalin was a man you could fear. Khrushchev was lucky he lived through his rule, and that is a fact. Lenin was a man who believed that Communism was (what I consider) religion. He believed it could work, and Stalin helped him get into power. Stalin may have even killed him, quietly, of course, and deified him (he definitely did that!) as the man who helped free mother Russia!

Now back to censoring. He feared that if the masses were lied to, they would be more easy to boss around. He was right, but! he needed the media to help. Well, they didn't want that! So he showed them muscle, locked a few in jail, killed a few publicly, and said to the rest: "Stay in line!" Well, the rest is history. Tom Clancy joked, in 'Hunt for the Red October' that everyone knows that the weekend is the Soviet workers paradise. Do you understand? He censored the media for power and prestige.
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Re: An Essay on Censorship

Postby Infidel » Sun May 10, 2009 10:12 pm

Xewleer wrote:Now now... Lets step back.


Step back? Are you assuming I'm having some kind of emotional response? You're the one ranting.

I assumed we were talking about American censorship in my first few paragraphs. I'm touched though. My ignorance is most appalling.
Even if I accept your attempt to backtrack, you still need to prove your statement made earlier. But no, the reason you assumed we were talking about American censorship is because you're thinking is too ethnocentric.

We've got an evolving culture. I

Morality changes. Do you understand now?


I didn't contradict you saying that morality changes. So I can only see your rant on the subject as an attempt to draw attention away from the deficiencies in your argument made earlier.

Now back to censoring. He feared that if the masses were lied to, they would be more easy to boss around. He was right, but! he needed the media to help. Well, they didn't want that! So he showed them muscle, locked a few in jail, killed a few publicly, and said to the rest: "Stay in line!" Well, the rest is history. Tom Clancy joked, in 'Hunt for the Red October' that everyone knows that the weekend is the Soviet workers paradise. Do you understand? He censored the media for power and prestige.


More rambling. Yes he wanted power and prestige, but he used MORAL arguments to secure them. People that had objections to Stalin's rule were "enemies of the people" "opportunists" "counter-revolutionary infiltrators" If you got disappeared, they did everything they could to erase any evidence of your existance, including editing photographs to make it look as if the person was never there.
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Re: An Essay on Censorship

Postby Xewleer » Mon May 11, 2009 12:13 am

Should what I said be censored?
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Re: An Essay on Censorship

Postby Infidel » Mon May 11, 2009 2:23 pm

Xewleer wrote:Should what I said be censored?


If you are referring to my snippage, the original quote is available above. So nothing was censored, I just abridged out the supporting commentary and kept the concluding points to save space.

If that was a theoretical question, then you should be aware already that I'm against censoring an opinion no matter how vehemently I disagree with it. Above I referenced the argument for censoring "stupidity," the reason we can't censor stupidity is because if an opinion differs enough from our own, human nature leads one to define the dissenter as "stupid" and once this happens, we can claim the "moral" right to censor their stupidity so they don't lead others astray.

Morality changes so I don't think morality is a good basis for censorship. Harm doesn't change. Hitting someone on the head with a rock will hurt just as much 1000 years in the future as it does now, as it did 10000 years in the past. Harm is therefore an unequivocal truth that is valid for all cultures and a good basis for making protective laws.
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Re: An Essay on Censorship

Postby Xewleer » Mon May 11, 2009 5:06 pm

I wasn't really referring to anything you said. I portrayed a horrendous amount of misinformation (heck, even I know some of the stuff that I said is wrong). So should I be censored for it? This is a one word answer.
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Re: An Essay on Censorship

Postby Infidel » Mon May 11, 2009 5:34 pm

Xewleer wrote:I wasn't really referring to anything you said. I portrayed a horrendous amount of misinformation (heck, even I know some of the stuff that I said is wrong). So should I be censored for it? This is a one word answer.


Then my answer is no.
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Re: An Essay on Censorship

Postby Mikalyaran » Tue May 12, 2009 2:52 am

Im of the general opinion that censorship, of any form, is a poor choice.
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Re: An Essay on Censorship

Postby depricated » Wed May 13, 2009 5:50 am

Xewleer wrote:I wasn't really referring to anything you said. I portrayed a horrendous amount of misinformation (heck, even I know some of the stuff that I said is wrong). So should I be censored for it? This is a one word answer.
What's the famous quote? "I may disagree with what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it," if I recall? I'll hold to that. I certainly don't agree with your views but I don't think they should be censored.

Xewleer wrote:I would like to see all books on gay sex burned/never written. Why do we need it?

Fags are great. They've got hundreds of uses. You can see them on TV explaining what puce is.
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Re: An Essay on Censorship

Postby balder » Thu May 14, 2009 1:21 pm

Now we're into some new territory.

I want you guys to consider the difference between what it means for you to come here and post whatever you want to these forums, versus what it means for me to create, maintain, and own these forums.

You may have to register to post here, but you're effectively anonymous and free of even the basic repercussions involved in saying something offensive to someone else. Maybe you feel free to toss around the word "fag" in a way that you wouldn't do on, say, a crowded subway. There isn't really any more repercussion on the subway than here, just a possible dirty look or at most, being engaged directly in conversation with the person you offended and having to look them in the eye and say it. But saying it in public meatspace requires you to take ownership of the remark.

Okay.

Guess who has ownership of your remarks here? My name, my "brand" is associated with the content on this site, user-generated or not. My Constitutional freedom of speech guarantees me the right to create a website, pay for it, and control the content on it. You have the same right. But it is not your First Amendment right to make me host material contrary to the aims of this website, any more than you could force the Washington Post to publish your article about how fun it is to have sex with basset hounds.

Censorship by the government is, in my view, a deplorable crime against freedom. Censorship by the owner of a communications medium can be cowardly, malicious, and sinister. But it generally falls under their right of free expression and editorial control, and I respect even a vile megacorporation's absolute right to control their content.

Our editorial aims for this site are clear and simple: we want a healthy, welcoming, positive community centered around the enjoyment of Erfworld. Please keep that in mind, when our rules for this forum are soon published. That doesn't mean squeaky-clean-Disney-G-rated bullshit. See? I said bullshit. What it means is that you're going to be expected to follow what Brian McFadden called the Atheists' One Commandment:

"Don't be an asshole."
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Re: An Essay on Censorship

Postby Xewleer » Thu May 14, 2009 2:13 pm

Eh, as a parent I'll censor what my kids do on the internet. (Don't want 'em to get into porn, or 4chan) Play (No left 4 dead until they can watch 'event Horizon' without flinching!), and watch. (I'll not let them see things like Family Guy, even). That's kinda because I want them to know whats right an wrong BEFORE they start deciding for themselves. It worked for me, and I turned out alright. (well, except for hanging out with YOU degenerates... lol)

But I agree on Government censorship. They work for US! not the other way around.
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Re: An Essay on Censorship

Postby depricated » Thu May 14, 2009 9:04 pm

balder wrote:You may have to register to post here, but you're effectively anonymous and free of even the basic repercussions involved in saying something offensive to someone else. Maybe you feel free to toss around the word "fag" in a way that you wouldn't do on, say, a crowded subway. There isn't really any more repercussion on the subway than here, just a possible dirty look or at most, being engaged directly in conversation with the person you offended and having to look them in the eye and say it. But saying it in public meatspace requires you to take ownership of the remark.
In case this was directed at me, I'm just going to point out what I was referencing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32K0nq0u0f0

I have more than a few gay friends, all of whom would(one did) laugh at my comment. It wasn't meant offensively, and let me apologize if it came off that way. I figured in a community as nerdy as we that most people might get the joke. :ugeek:

The rest of that made me cheer. Freedom of Speech doesn't mean freedom to vandalize(such as by painting profanity everywhere). Further on that vein, cleaning up vandalism as such doesn't necessarily constitute censorship.
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