A Dilemma

Bridget - Ballwin, Missouri
Entered on May 4, 2009

This I Believe: When a faction attains control or power, they have the ability to take away the rights and freedoms of their citizens. This action is highly immoral and should never happen, although it does.

When Joseph Stalin acquired power in 1928 with the Bolshevik party, his strict and immediate action was to ban all things not conducive to the Soviet Society. Stalin and his government were so severe in constricting their people, that their people suffocated in anything outlet they had to express themselves in. This idea is expressed in a satirical way throughout Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel The Master and Margarita. While Bulgakov was writing his novel, he actually struggled with censorship that his government imposed on his ideas. The novel was published posthumously when tension subsided in Russia, and one could not get into trouble for the condemning comments that Bulgakov made. During Stalin’s rule, he tried to create a façade in which foreigners could glance at the Soviet Union and see that there was productivity, when in reality, that productivity was shallow and restricted.

I believe that this kind of restriction, whether it is for literature, art, public speaking, or in any other forum that people can convey their opinions is immoral and ridiculous. Because the people are doing the restriction, it shows an acknowledgement that some of their actions are wrong or bad, and they do not want anyone to publicize it. That is the kind of motivation I see being censorship in the Soviet Union: Stalin and his cohorts were fearful of being exposed in front of their submissive citizens. When the reason behind doing something is fear, cowardice is clearly illustrated. Bulgakov even comments on this with his character Pontius Pilate. Pontius Pilate knows what the right and moral thing to do is, but he chooses to ignore it because he is fearful of what the society of other important figures in that society might think of him. Pontius Pilate is fearful that if he does not condemn Yeshua to death, his power might be stripped.

In the United States, the general rule set up by the Supreme Court is that only when one’s actions incite violence or some other kind of significant disturbance would they need to be censored. However, the reasoning behind these kinds of rules is to keep a peace necessary for a positive life. This is completely contradictory to the way that Stalin controlled his government. I believe that the difference can be described as control out of fear, and careful censorship in order to preserve peace.

I believe that action, when in a powerful role, for the purpose of preserving that power is immoral. It is the responsibility of a government to protect and promote the people, not themselves, through unreasonable means such as censorship.