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Censors Say the Darnedest Things

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 03/28/2005 @ 9:54 am

Paul McMasters, of the First Amendment Center, writes about censorship in the Naples (FL) Daily News.

For some government officials, the temptation to censor is sometimes irresistible. They are convinced that some Americans just can’t be trusted with freedom of speech — high school students, library patrons, artists and others who, they believe, should be just sort-of citizens when it comes to First Amendment protections.

Power in the hands of the censor, of course, is like a chainsaw in the hands of a fool. Something is going to get mangled sooner or later. Often it is logic and common sense.

For example, we usually think of the censor’s wrath as directed at obscenity, hate speech, violence in the media, that sort of thing. More often, however, the target of the censor is much more mundane and the reasons given for suppression much more convoluted than we have a right to expect.

Inside the First Amendment: Censors say the darnedest things


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