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In the darkness of secrecy, sinister and evil in every shape shall have full swing. Only in proportion as publicity has place can any of the checks applicable to judicial injustice operate. Where there is no publicity, there is no justice. Publicity is the very soul of justice. It is the keenest spur to exertion and the surest of all guards against improbity. It keeps the judge himself while trying under trial.
The free man is he who does not fear to go to the end of his thought.
You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.
By hating vices too much, they come to love men too little.
1790 - from
Reflections on the Revolution in France
Chesterton, Gilbert K.
Don't ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up.
If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all.
Censorship is contagious, and experience with this culture of regulation teaches that regulatory enthusiasts herald each new medium of communications as another opportunity to spread the disease.
Rationales and Rationalizations: Regulating the Electronic Media
You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other man's freedom. You can only be free if I am free.
Doyle, Robert P.
When books are challenged, restricted, removed, or banned, an atmosphere of suppression exists....The fear of the consequences of censorship is as damaging as, or perhaps more damaging than, the actual censorship attempt. After all, when a published work is banned, it can usually be found elsewhere. Unexpressed ideas, unpublished works, unpurchased books are lost forever.
1998 - from
Banned Books 1998 Resource Guide
Campaigns and laws [which censor pornographic or Holocaust-denying speech] ... are particularly attractive in western democracies because they urge censorship in the interests not of the powerful but of the vulnerable; in the name not of injustice but of equality. They must nevertheless be resisted ... because if we deny freedom of speech to opinions we hate, we weaken the legitimacy of our entire political system, particularly the legitimacy of the very laws we pass to protect victims of stereotype and prejudice.
1997 - from his essay "Forked tongues, faked doctrines" published in
Index on Censorship
, March 1997
Eisenhower, Dwight D.
Don't join the book burners. Don't think you are going to conceal thoughts by concealing evidence that they ever existed.
Forster, Edward Morgan
We are willing enough to praise freedom when she is safely tucked away in the past and cannot be a nuisance. In the present, amidst dangers whose outcome we cannot forsee, we get nervous about her, and admit censorship.
1951 - from
Two Cheers for Democracy
In those wretched countries where a man cannot call his tongue his own, he can scarce call anything his own... Who ever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.
Heresy is only another word for freedom of thought.
Freedom is fragile and must be protected. To sacrifice it, even as a temporary measure, is to betray it.
Jackson, Joseph Henry
Did you ever hear anyone say 'That work had better be banned because I might read it and it might be very dangerous to me?'
No government ought to be without censors; and where the press is free, no one ever will.
Sep. 9, 1792 - from a letter to George Washington
The inner censor of the mind of the true believer completes the work of the public censor; his self-discipline is as tyrannical as the obedience imposed by the regime; he terrorizes his own conscience into submission; he carries his private Iron Curtain inside his skull, to protect his illusions against the intrusion of reality.
Luce, Clare Booth
Censorship, like charity, should begin at home, but unlike charity, it should end there.
The only way to make sure people you agree with can speak is to support the rights of people you don't agree with.
Down this route [of the liberal evolution of society], liberal values turn into coercion and hedonism. Freedom and equality turn into absolutes, ends rather than means. Thus broadcasters and film-makers can drench our screens with sexual voyeurism or gratuitous violence regardless of the way such influential abandonment of moral constraints helps lower the threshold of unacceptable behaviour. Since their creative freedom is considered an absolute, any plea for self-restraint is condemned as censorship.
May. 01, 1997 - from her lecture "The Corruption of Liberalism" delivered at the London-based Centre for Policy Studies
Rousseau, Jean Jacques
Censorship may be useful for the preservation of morality, but can never be so for its restoration.
1762 - from
The Social Contract
... the worst, most insidious effect of censorship is that, in the end, it can deaden the imagination of the people. Where there is no debate, it is hard to go on remembering, every day, that there is a suppressed side to every argument. It becomes almost impossible to conceive of what the suppressed things might be. It becomes easy to think that what was suppressed was valueless anyway, or so dangerous that it needed to be suppressed.
1984 - from his essay "Casualties of Censorship", in
They Shoot Writers, Don't They?
, edited by George Theiner
...this is precisely the purpose of censorship - not only to block unwanted views, but to keep people who are unhappy from knowing how many millions of others share their unhappiness; to keep the dormant opposition from awakening to its own developing strength.
What is ominous is the ease with which some people go from saying that they don't like something to saying that the government should forbid it. When you go down that road, don't expect freedom to survive very long.
Stevens, John Paul
As a matter of constitutional tradition, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, we presume that governmental regulation of the content of speech is more likely to interfere with the free exchange of ideas than to encourage it. The interest in encouraging freedom of expression in a democratic society outweighs any theoretical but unproven benefit of censorship.
Jun. 26, 1997 - from the majority opinion of the Court, which struck down the Clinton
Communications Decency Act
that sought to regulate Internet content
Censorship reflects a society's lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime.
Censorship reflects society's lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritative regime.
Westmoreland, Gen. William
Without censorship, things can get terribly confused in the public mind.