Cases For Censorship

Cases in Favor of Censorship in the Land of the Too-Free

A commentator on a morning T.V. news show happily, and teasingly announces that a popular actress, “has more than one reason to get married; she is expecting twins!”

A local disc jockey told the following joke over on a favorite rock station that kids listen to on the way to school:

“A girl called her priest, confessed that she touched a boy in his private place and asked if washing in holy water would cleanse her of her sins. The priest assured her that it would. The girl then asked if it was O.K. to gargle with the holy water.”

On a popular teenage rock program, a female vocalist moans, “touch me, touch my body.” later she continued, “like a tramp in the night I was begging you–to treat my body like you wanted to.” Another duo later, during this time of epidemic teen suicide in our culture crooned, “if I close my eyes forever, will it always be the same?”

As I drive the poor part of main street in my home town, I watch a mother and two children walk the dirty sidewalk. They carry bags of groceries as they pass in front of a “strip joint” painted with larger than life-size naked female images posturing sexually. As they pass, the door opens briefly as someone enters. The children stop and crane their necks to see inside as the mother walks on tiredly. The boy and girl were somewhere between six and nine years old.

Cases in favor of censorship in the land of the too-free.

Billy Budd

Spring, 1987

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2 Responses to “Cases For Censorship”

  1. vtmawhinney Says:

    Jana, I try to be optimistic. Albert Ellis states that people are basically irrational. To some degree, I think he is correct. I need to control my eating and should do better than I do. I know a heart surgeon who smokes cigaretts. We all know smart people to drink too much, who don’t control their tempers, and people who repeatedly do other self-defeating and even self-destructive things, over and over again.

    What the science of psychology suggests is that delayed consequences do not control our behavior as effectively as do immediate consequences. If I were convinced that my next bite of pizza would would cause me to have an immediate heart attack, I would not taste pizza again during the rest of my life. Of course, I would probably search for a safe substitute. ; – )

    In therapy, individuals can be helped to more carefully consider the consequences of their own behavior, to make even delayed consequences more salient to their current actions and many, not all, can be helped to stop doing self-defeating, self-destructive things.

    I am sorry to say that, at the cultural level, the answer to your question is uncertain. However, my main concern is with America, a republic in which an informed population at least has a chance to influence the rules by by which it lives, and presumably then a significant percent of its collective actions and outcomes. I can only hope that by introducing a population to the rules and rule changes that it has effected, or passively allowed to be made in its behalf, and showing it the likely short-term and long-term effects upon them and their present and future loved ones’, it will be induced to vote more wisely.

    There are many reasons why cultures fail. Therefore “rational decision making” on the part of a population is a necessary, but not a sufficient condition for survival. I try to be opimistic, but my optimism has been shaken by my readings of the history of a large number of failed cultures.



  2. jana Martin Says:

    I was wondering about something. If all the people were given all the cold, hard “facts”, the scientifically measured evidence of our social decline and its causes, would they choose to change? Can rational thought effect change in the majority of the population? And do they have the power to change even when they want to?


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