We like to pretend that we live in a world where we can express ourselves freely, but every time we think we’re free, there’s always one grim spectre that comes back to haunt us – the spectre of censorship. Of course, we all know what censorship is. It’s the practice of filtering out anything that offends the meaningless values of the establishment, mainly enforced by powerful old men who wish to cloister us from reality, under the delusion that they’re protecting us from what we can’t handle. It’s all complete nonsense, but somehow censorship still exists in this world.
Throughout the past year, censorship has found ways of biting back in a supposedly more liberal age. In America, there is an alarming amount of adults who support the banning of “inappropriate books” in school libraries. Governments around the world are increasingly mounting attempts to pressure individuals and private companies to remove “offensive content”. In entertainment, censorship is still a plague. In India, films can be banned just for having a scene where a character holds a cigarette or a bottle of alcohol. In the UK, an episode of Steven Universe (specifically, “We Need to Talk”), a show notable for its groundbreaking portrayal of same-sex relationships, had a scene showing two of the major female characters kissing censored. In the year 2016, such censorship is appalling and has no place in our society, and yet it still continues unabated, all because the people who run the media are afraid of what they don’t understand.
I strongly believe that we have no need for censorship, and I also firmly believe that censorship is ultimately futile. We’re living in the age of information, where if you can access the Internet, anything you want to know is literally at your fingertips, and with the right tools, any form of censorship could immediately by circumvented. There’s almost nothing that can be hidden, and I think that governments and moral guardians are scared by this fact.
There’s one question I feel we should be asking. Why would any sane human being advocate censorship? Granted, that in itself opens several more questions, including “what would anyone have to gain from enforcing censorship?”, and those are the kind of questions that many who blindly support censorship aren’t interested in answering. To this day, I have not heard of any intelligent arguments in support of censorship (outside those involving parenting), and I doubt that I ever will. For me, censorship is an outdated concept from the days when most of us can’t handle the real world, but those days no longer exist, and in the information age, censorship should have been made obsolete years ago. Unfortunately, there are still people out there who to control what we can see, and what knowledge we can access, and that’s why those people must be stopped.
Ultimately, censorship is completely irrelevant for those with a clear understanding of fantasy and reality, and with a rational mind able to see with eyes that aren’t shrouded with ignorance. Sadly, we live in a world where paternalistic governments treat everyone like children. Such a society cannot thrive for very long, and I feel that those who wish to censor free expression cannot keep sheltering us from new ideas as long as we know that this is happening. However, I can’t help but think that each generation tries to shelter the next from new ideas under the banner of moral guardianship. And as long as that goes, who knows when the cycle of censorship will end.