This I Believe

Fenimore - Arlington, Virginia
Entered on October 15, 2007

I believe in plenty of ideals, philosophies, and values. One thing I don’t believe in, or rather believe in the opposite of, is the idea of censorship. To me, censorship can do nothing but harm our culture and society. There are a lot of things that we feel we must control and censor from certain types of people who need to be shielded from something. But when has keeping the truth from someone ever been beneficial? Never. I believe that everyone should be exposed to life and its arts, whether or not it’s deemed inappropriate by an outside group.

I understand that some things will never be appropriate, like racist and other forms of discrimination. But by censoring it, are we really blocking it out or just making it more provocative and interesting than it really is. In the end discrimination is going to get out, why attempt to “protect” someone from it. Especially when it will get out anyways.

And when will it stop. Much of America is made up of Puritanical families insisting on the media to blocking nudity, strong language, and violence. Why should our countries culture: movies, television, art, literature, and magazines, be blocked from everyone because some people think a naked breast is a no no for a small child to see? Will it ever get to the point where it is in China? With websites from porn to wikipedia to personal blogs censored?

In the case of China it is the government doing the censoring. But here in America it isn’t, we have free speech. Yet the media and entertainment business has taken censorship into their own hands. To them, they have the power to open and close my, and your, access to information and entertainment. It’s because of our values of protecting society from the “bad” has gotten out of hand. By repressing freedom of expression everyone is affected.

I may be an extremist in this issue, but I believe nothing should be censored. Maybe because i feel, once you censor one thing, where do you draw the line? Censorship has typically been thought of as a tool used by dictators and tyrannical governments to repress their population’s knowledge of the world. But then what is our Viacom, Verizon, or Comcast anything but a tyrannical dictator controlling out vision of the world.

I believe that i should be left to make my own decisions and choices in this world, without influence and censorship on the books I read or music I listen too. I believe I should not have to go through great lengths to find a clip of a Pearl Jam concert not censored by AT&T. When is it ok to limit someone’s information and when has it gone too far? I believe that censorship hurts me, America, and the world.