The Evils of Censorship

« Principles » and exceptions, III : The evils of censorship

In part II, last Thursday, I went a little further on the idea that principles never have any exception, and that most people don’t get that. I then considered the principle of freedom of speech, so beloved in these parts of the Earth, and using Philippe Val’s case, I proved it was all bullshit. [Philippe Val has used freedom of speech as a principle to defend his publications of the Mohammed caricatures, during his trial; but then rejected it months later, as a matter of logic, when he fired one of his cartoonists, Siné, from the satirist paper, Charlie-Hebdo.] I concluded by saying that we did not live in countries with freedom of speech, but, rather, in countries with control of speech. This control has terrible consequences. I wanna talk about some of these consequences today.

You'll have noticed the title does not use the word control, but censorship, a much stronger term. If it is true that not all discourse is checked and authorized by the State, as it was during the French monarchy, or during the 3rd Republic, there are still today some that are not tolerated. This brings me to quote one of the most interesting declaration from George Carlin: “As far as rights are concerned, I believe one of two things is true: either we have unlimited rights, or we have no rights at all.”

I do not want to explain that point here. Watch the video and you’ll understand. The simple idea that a principle cannot admit exceptions without being destroyed overtime gives you the solution to this apparently enigmatic statement. The point is that the control of discourse by the State wields the same gravity, regardless of the specific degree of control, loose or tight.

To repeat what I said the other day, people do not believe in freedom of speech. They do not think freedom is something to wish for, when it comes to racists, nazis and antisemites. They’ll want freedom for themselves, but not the others. Or, for the others, but certain others. Those whose freedom they can accept, with a stretch of good will. In this way, the actual nature of their position is obvious: far from acting on principle, they believe in an arbitrary list of authorizations and interdictions, and they will choose who belongs where.

It might be a good idea to mention some of those who oppose censorship, all censorship, and who claim to defend civil liberties. Their main, and pathetic, argument is deduced from the famous quote from Matthew: “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged.” Another one is: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” How cute. Thusly, censorship, and any anti-liberty measure, is not considered as a profoundly evil and dangerous measure, but rather as a tool that might turn against you, some day in the unforeseeable future. And you certainly don't want to be censored yourself, do you?

I will now try to describe some consequences. The first of them is the censored becoming defenseless. Censorship puts an interdiction on certain ideologies.

At this point, let us use, for the rest of the post, the case of racism, against which most think censorship is okay, and even required.

Censorship thus says that racism is intolerable, and all racist speeches, writings, and so on, are to be erased from public view. But this does not stop there. For the citizens in turn create an interdiction on their own thinking. You cannot think about it, reflect on it, and don’t even start believing, oh boy. Racism is bad, mkay ?

So what is the problem ? To begin with, and from a strictly pratical point of view, is this interdiction going to mean the disappearance of racist thoughts in people’s minds ? No. Racism will remain, and logically, racists too. Racists cannot use the usual means of communication. Will they stop being racists ? Another no. They will simply use other, less visible methods. They will, for instance, create websites hosted on foreign servers, against which the police won’t have the authority to intervene. I think there are still many ways to communicate, aside from that. Generally, censorship does not remove that which is censored. You all know that.

The citizens becoming defenseless, on the other hand, comes from the fact that racism is not recognized and condemned according to simple and solid principles. Racism is taken as a whole, and labeled intolerable. One does not enter the dark, shaky house anymore, and therefore one does not recognize the weak points, the falsehoods. One stays well outside, and reads the “Racist” card planted in front, mostly because the owner is proud of it. Then, one gets indignant and does "Oh !"s and "Booo!"s.

If you watch TV, then you know that at no time we are told why racism is “bad”. We’re just told it is. It’s the only message. No principles, nothing. We suppress words like nigger, but the principles that would truly protect us are never given.

As a consequence, far from arming citizens against it, censorship deprives them of munitions by logically depriving them of confrontations with racism, confrontations that would render the understanding of its errors necessary. Remember, one has to consider the possibility that racists could be right, in order to truly understand what is wrong with them. Just standing outside and doing “booos” won’t do the trick. Furthermore, racism itself, even though it “disappears” from sight, still exists, under sane appearances. With the use of censorship, you get the impression you have vanquished a terrible evil, until the day it comes back, more untouchable than ever. The rise of the National Front, and other extremist groups around the continent, sticks with this view perfectly.

Another consequence, even more terrible and underground, is the modification of an important part of the racists. Several persons I've known and met, some in real life, some on the internet, whom I know are far-right, have told me they actually cared about the Republic and that they were not racists or fascists, even as their positions spelled the contrary. One could also quote the Minister of Immigration and National Identity (!), who said he would implement his policy “with humanity.” And later, that the Left “did not have the monopoly of the heart.” I know many will say it was simply hypocrisy and I should not focus on this.

But I would like you to consider the contrary. Consider the possibility that censorship is so efficient and pervasive that even racists have integrated it, and more importantly, bypassed it. I deeply believe this is the case. And now witness the terrible situation we’re all in, all this due to censorship: the various populations are unable to recognize racism; and racists themselves sincerely believe they are not racist. This is really something I’ve been witnessing: more and more acts of open racism, and no condemnations, except when said acts are symbolic. But most of the time, people offer excuses.

At this point, I have nothing more to say. I plan to describe more examples of pseudo-principles –or as I call them, list-principles- in the future, but solely on my blog (the French one). I would certainly welcome other examples of list-principles in the comments.


thanks. this is good!

and it's much appreciated.

Thanks to you ;) and an update

There's one point I forgot to mention.
We know that antisemitism is censored as well. Although I do not subscribe to this ideology (of course), the interdiction that most have integrated towards it also has consequences, and one that we know very well. It is now a weapon and a way for someone to close his eyes.
That is, the censorship of antisemitism is spreading to the censorship of other ideas that loosely sound like antisemitism. Exactly, the plot.

The censorship of antisemitism has carved in our minds the fake idea that no plot could ever be possible. That it is a crazy idea. It has become an argument against the 911 truth movement. Again, WP has mentioned the crazy and crazed reactions to people expressing doubts on the official story. They are exactly as one would expect from people who have integrated such interdictions.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.