Censorship: A Necessary Evil
There is a need for censorship, even if it seems to be a style of oppression of our every day freedoms.
It was said by Lord Chief Justice Halisham, “Abuse is the very hallmark of liberty.” I find this statement to be utterly incorrect. I would much prefer to state that anything is excess is gluttony, and excessive abuse or use of something is something that is unnecessary. I stand behind the concept of censorship because I believe that it is not something that impedes the liberty of the United States of America, but I believe that it protects our selves from possibly gaining information that is not in our best interest. I’ve seen the movies where there is a crisis, and in the case to make things as safe and orderly, the main character neglects to inform the people of the dangers around them and for the most part they are successful with order in the silence of information and the creation of a calm environment. I am pro-censorship because it is not a removal of our freedoms, but something that is can and generally does protect us from annoyances, danger, and many other feelings that tend to bring only more troubles onto a situation before it is resolved.
First off, I want to talk about a generally popular topic in the news recently. The people of this nation know all about the current War in Iraq, and that is entirely necessary for us to be up to date on information pertaining to our military status. Something that is unnecessary that people may watch on television and ask themselves why they can do that or even why is the disclosure of military information such as location, strategy, and weaponry important to the every day person? The interest of people lies within the knowledge that their troops are safely doing their duties in my opinion. My priority is not to know what the next move is, specifically if it is possible that the enemy can access this information by the turning on of a television. According to a poll taken in 2003 about whether the government should be able to censor the media during war, nearly 70% of this nation agreed that it was a necessary evil in the protect of our troops overseas more so then anything (Nakaya 46).
Now within the last four years I am sure people have had the opportunity to change their views, but I am going to believe that still more than 60% of this nation believes censorship is a necessity specifically in this area. I think that if we are going to efficiently deal with the current war in Iraq, our troops must have the element of a strategic step-ahead. Not only does this removal of vital information that helps terrorists save our troops, but it protects our national strength as a whole. During WWII, President Roosevelt created the Office of Censorship to look into the media reports before they reached home (“Censorship in the United States”). Not only was this an efficient way of dealing with the information being left back into the country, but it seemed to have been a very positive influence on the morale of this great nation.
The second main topic of my explanation is on the necessary limitations that need to be placed upon the current internet that this nation has at its disposal at all times now. The internet is one of the most growing problems with censorship in recent years as it has become a more widely used application. I am a strong believer that the internet is a very valuable resource, but it can also become a hazard. The first part of this subject’s discussion is library filters. The library is a wealth of knowledge, but can be a place of mischief for some children. Unlike at home, a child’s access on a computer at a library is less likely to be monitored and they may be able to access anything they desire and I believe this is a problem. A parent can protect their child from everything except what they don’t know they are doing. I do not stand alone in saying that the library needs to be monitored at least for children’s activity. William Rehnquist, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, supported the increase in library filters and considering him to have been the most knowledgeable in the field of law, I am sure he had much intelligence to share on the issue.
It can be argued that a child would not be able to access information they need due to a minor thing on a website that would not be appropriate, but the simple solution is to request access for a reason if that is the case. In the case of knowledge, I am sure anyone would be happy to help. Continuing on the subject of the internet, let’s move to a growing problem, the viewing of pornographic images by minors. The Kaiser Family Foundation found that among teens online, 70 percent have accidentally come across pornography on the web. Nine out of ten children ages eight to 16 have view pornography on the internet. The most troubling information that this polling came across was the fact that 59% of people think it increases the chances of sexual activity starting at a young age (Nakaya 81). I find these staggering statistics and the fact is that years have passed since that poll was taken, meaning the numbers have most likely grown who have access to this objectionable content.
I believe it is necessary to increase censorship on such imagery or make it more inaccessible to younger people. I’d be willing to bet that if someone searched out some improper word on the internet, they would stumble upon one of these sites, looking for it or not, and that troubles me. Finally, I want to discuss school filters. I know that Dover has filters and I believe that is a good thing for the school to do. Thought they can be used educationally, immaturity can be a problem. Not only can people access things that are not appropriate for the school environment, but in some cases they could possibly place viruses or problems within the computer causing the school problems in even the sense of having to hire a computer repairman or buy a new computer completely depending on the damage. Thought it may a simple joke, I believe that the possible trouble it can produce wouldn’t be worth not having the filter to protect not only the student, but the school itself.
The final argument topic I will discuss is media broadcasting censorship. We all watch television, play video games, or listen to the radio at one time of the day or another. Television is becoming a more graphic and verbally displeasing environment as time progresses. Society has gone from Bugs Bunny and Dracula to adult referencing cartoons and Saw 3. The violence displayed within shows and movies is a continually growing problem in my opinion. Yes, a parent can block a television channel or change the channel of a show they don’t want their children to watch, but what happens when the parent isn’t there? What happens if the parent does care? You increase the risk of your child mentally and possibly physically! I was reading an article in one of my sources about the growing violence in video games and television. It was a sad story to read. In 1997, Michael Carneal was a 14 year old at Health High School in Paducah, Kentucky. He was a video game enthusiast, specifically Doom, a recently new game of the time.
Another thing he liked the movie The Basketball Diaries, in which the films hero brings a firearm to school and kills a teacher and numerous students. One day he went to school with a stolen pistol after a prayer group was breaking up and opened fire. With nine shots, he wounded eight students and killed three and had no experience with weaponry outside of his video games. Two years later the same happened at Columbine High School in Colorado. Heavily armed, they killed a teacher and 12 students injuring 23 others. They too were avid Doom players. One had gone as far as to name his sawed-off shotgun the name of a character in the game along with the fact they dressed in trench coats like in The Basketball Diaries (Nakaya 30-31). This is a sure sign that the increase in violence in the media has created a dangerous environment for students who may have mental instabilities. To conclude this paragraph I want to shortly discuss music.
Music has become more and more expressive in recent years along with the language in some music. Yes, we have the current labels that state that music may have inappropriate language, but I have to honestly say I sometimes miss that. A curse word doesn’t bother me in a song, but the only word in a song being a curse word surprises me. Radios need to have censorship and if a person wishes to hear the original version of the artist, they should purchase the song and enjoy it in their leisure, but the vulgarity of some modern songs are not necessary for specifically younger children who may listen to their elder’s music. Music is a strong place of expression and a place of emotional power and I think that if continual allowance to hear violent lyric or hateful music may be hazardous to a child’s emotional progress.
I am sure there are many people out there who could argue my points above and argue many other points that I would be willing to discuss in detail. However, I have compiled a small list of things I find good opposition to my topic with. First of all, there is the argument that censorship is against the first amendment and takes our rights away. This is an utter fallacy. In no way, shape, or form are the rights of a person or persons taken away by censoring something. If it’s music, go but it. If it’s a movie, get the unrated version, and so on. It does not remove freedom of speech or our expression, as we are still allowed to say our peace, we can still express our dislike or approval of something in society. People need to understand that censorship is not an evil conspiracy created with the intent of taking away our rights. It is a means to protect our growing population from emotional stresses that may be caused unknowingly via any form of communication.
The media is not stopped either, but merely disrupted in their normal communications. They are hindered only if they are intending to use something that is potentially harmful, and that is something that must be understood. So people think censorship is hiding the truth? In no way does it hide the truth, but instead puts it into a format that is suitable and necessary without giving information that may be potentially dangerous. In no way is censorship too protective of society. Believe it or not, censorship is something that can improve society as a whole. Whether everyone knows it or not, censorship is what is used to stop excessive telemarketing, spam, and the other problems that most people complain about, but fight against removing as a mistake in arguing against censorship.
So to complete my expression of my feelings I want to reiterate the fact that censorship is a necessary evil, so to speak, to those who may doubt the idea of censorship. It is a process in which we are to be aided, not harmed. Censorship is an aide, not a hinderer. If we as a society would only understand that censorship is a means to save this nation from its own flaws, or even simple mistakes, I think the current War on Terror would not be so looked down upon, as the media specifically twists the story to make us seem like an unwanted aide along with many other issues we should be able to make our own judgment on, but sometimes we can be fickle and the media, and some many other things can influence our thoughts. Everyone is meant to follow their own judgment and have the freedom to choose as that is a natural right of life, but I hope that in this I have aided in the progress in creating a knowledge in others on what censorship really is.