by Peter J. Mancus,

Owner, www.wowthewonderofwomen.com

Retired Attorney-at-Law

Sebastopol, California

[email protected]  |  707-703-9210


Why I Wrote This Document:

I wrote this document and complied the anti-censorship quotations, below, to highlight the problem of censorship and try to raise people to a high level of understanding, so they become more tolerant and accepting of ideas and content they might otherwise want to suppress.


I define censor as used here, as a noun, to mean this: 1) an official who examines any tangible form of communication for the purpose of suppressing or deleting parts to suppress and/or to advance a preferred orthodoxy, whose conduct chills the free expression of ideas, manipulates the free expression of ideas, controls the free market of ideas, intimidates disfavored persons and/or promotes and insulates favored persons from criticism; 2) a private person who, while lacking governmental power, exercises his/her rights of free speech and/or freedom of association to express a negative opinion of anyone’s expression of ideas in any form.

I define censure as used here, as a verb, to mean this: 1) any strong or vehement expression of disapproval by a government, a government official and/or a private person, regardless of legality; 2) criticism, reprimand, rebuke, or reproach done harshly; 3) suppressing, banning, outlawing, and/or confiscating any tangible or intangible communication of ideas and/or images in any form.

I define censorship as used here, as a noun, to mean: the act or practice of censoring.

What I Hate:

I hate censorship. I am also leery of censors, people who hate liberty, hate freedom, want to control others, poke their nose into others’ areas of legitimate autonomy, and are miserable if they cannot control or intimidate others into submission.

I also hate “the tyranny of the majority”. The majority often functions as an arrogant, mean, stupid, drunk with power, oppressive, gang, with the uncritical, myopic, self-serving blessings of their conscience, if any, and, more probably, with the blessings of their ignorance and prejudices.

What I Champion:

I champion a maximum measure of unfettered free expression of ideas, in any medium [written, visual, electronic] per these core beliefs that I hold dear: 1) Some of the most precious and vital “blessings of liberty” that are secured for American citizens by the U.S. Constitution include the broad rights of “Free Speech”, “Freedom of Association” and “Right to Pursue Happiness”; 2) Like cream that rises to the top, when and where there is robust, uncensored, “Free Speech”, the best ideas, eventually, will and do, secure favor in the public market place of ideas; and 3) As a sweeping generalization, the best and most effective remedy for “bad” and/or “dangerous” ideas is more “Free Speech”, not censorship to promote any government’s or any private actor’s preference.

I embrace this part of the July 4, 1776 Declaration of Independence: “. . . But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their security. . . . .” [Emphasis added by me.]

Things I Prefer:

I prefer tolerance and “live and let live”; tranquility to tension; discussion to argument; logic to illogic; freedom to oppression; merit to privilege; equality to inequality; creativity to regimentation.

Censorship’s Sting:

I have felt censorship’s sting: 1) In college, “academic freedom” was a snare because some professors functioned as egomaniacal, condescending, pseudo intellectual, despots who reduced “academic freedom” to a trap; 2) when I worked as a lawyer I encountered too many judges who usurped and substituted their opinions and policy choices for what was the controlling law; 3) disingenuous elected officials who usurp, after I criticized them publicly, maliciously twisted what I said to try to marginalize me, make me look unhinged, intimidate me, and gag me; 3) relatives and so called friends have put me on probation and disassociated themselves when I failed to wear their yoke and conform to their norms [their rules?] for how they want me to behave; 4) most of my Christian friends criticized me when I began to photograph artistic nude models; 5) many of my friends and people I know not only do not have the courage of their convictions they don’t have convictions, and they just “go with the flow”; 6) peer group pressure is another form of censorship: either yield to the group or risk expulsion and ridicule; 7) the senior management of Smug Mug, where I originally had my WOW THE WONDER OF WOMEN art nude Internet site, after I spent 1.5 years investing my valuable time and energy to improve that site, told me—firmly—I had to make all galleries that showed nudity 100% non-public and 100% non-searchable, which destroyed the viability of that site, so . . . . I fled Smug Mug; and 8) I hate anyone who acts or thinks they have a mighty fine ass and they can willy nilly sit on my back and ride me into the ground. Any one who approaches me that way is bucked off.

Censorship is Frustrating:

Censorship is frustrating because it is a manifestation of people control, and people control is anti-individual freedom.

Many people are rigid, uninformed, misinformed, uneducated, and judgmental, and many have different understandings of “right and wrong”,

different levels of “tolerance”, and different levels of “competency”. Some are libertine and others are rigid; some are incompetent; others, competent.

Competency Levels:

There are four levels of competency—from lowest to highest: 1) A person is so totally incompetent they do not appreciate that fact. [This type knows so little they tend to be quick to see everything in stark black and white, and they also tend to be absolutely certain that their views are correct. This type sees no gray because they know so little, do not comprehend the nuances and complexities involved, and wrongly assume that the limits of what they know co-extend with all there is to know.]; 2) A person knows they are incompetent. [This is progress!]; 3) A person is marginally competent but has to rely on a checklist because their mastery of X is not ingrained; and 4) A person is a master, meaning they comprehensively know their subject, and could handle a complex situation if drunk, swinging upside down.

These four types tend to have different attitudes and approaches to censorship.

Ignorance, fear, arrogance, ego, bias, personality, governance, and competency—or the lack thereof—play major roles in the decision to censor or not censor and how to react to censorship or a censor.

Extreme Forms of Censorship:

Racism, usurpations, illegal arrests and subsequent punishment, murder and assassinations are an extreme form of censorship.

Fundamental Questions

Censorship triggers fundamental questions:

  1. 1)  Is it wise to allow anyone to tell you how to live?;

  2. 2)  Is it wise to empower anyone with actual authority to control what you say, see, hear, do?;

  1. 3)  Who, if anyone, do you have enough confidence in to elevate to have the right to deny you “the blessings of liberty” and your inalienable “Right to Pursue Happiness”;

  2. 4)  How should we cope with someone who does not see the world as we do, who leans against us, and tries to censor us?

  3. 5)  How should you respond to censorship: Accept or resist? If resist, how: Resist or retaliate? If retaliate, how?;

  4. 6)  Why would you react the way you would?

  5. 7)  Does it take guts not to fight back? Not to retaliate? To turn the other cheek?

  6. 8)  Does not retaliating embolden the censor or sap the censor’s strength?

  7. 9)  For how long should one refrain from retaliation? Why?

  8. 10)  When we have a right to retaliate, should we? How? When? Why?

  9. 11)  Does enduring the insufferable and endlessly turning the cheek promote peace or conflict?

  10. 12)  Is it better to be right or be kind?

What the Bible Says About Censorship:

Per the Bible, here is one of Jesus’ most difficult commands to human beings [Luke 6:27-28]:

“. . . I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on the cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also.” [Emphasis added.]

Consequently, the Bible commands that we tolerate censors and even love them.

History is full of examples of people loving their enemies and retaliating against them.

Real Life Examples of Extreme Censorship: A. Socrates—399 B.C.:

Socrates is considered to have been one of the wisest men in Ancient Greece and the founder of ethical philosophy, but, he ran afoul of Greek elites. Socrates was found guilty of corrupting the minds of the elites’ children and not believing in Greek gods. For those crimes he was sentenced to death and ordered to drink a poisonous brew.

When elite Greeks were horrified that they were about to kill one of their best intellectuals they offered him a means to escape death but Socrates refused, supposedly, for these reasons: 1) If he fled he would indicate he feared death and he believed no true philosopher fears death; 2) He believed if he fled he would not be better off any where else because he would continue to ask probing questions about life which would trigger the displeasure of the well connected elites; 3) Since he had agreed to live per Greek law he had to accept the jury’s verdict; otherwise, he would break the social contract and harm the state, which was an unprincipled act he refused to do; and 4) if he allowed his friends to help him escape he would be instrumental in getting them in trouble with the law, which he refused to do.

Socrates is a profound example of mean, foolish, misguided, overly zealous elites abusing their power to censor one of their best to the ultimate punishment—death, and of an innocent condemned to death who did not retaliate and made no attempt to escape, as a matter of principle.

B. Witch Trials—Medieval Western Europe:

When the Christian church was at the height of its power, it was, sadly, common for ugly women to accuse beautiful women of being witches. The ugly women had an ulterior agenda: They wanted to get rid of the competition. Sadly, senior church leaders gave the accused a lose-lose choice: Admit you are a witch and be drowned; refuse to admit, and be burned at the stake.

Killing is indeed an extreme form of censorship.

I have been told that the main reason the Slavic population of Eastern Europe has a relatively larger percentage of beautiful women is this: When the Christian church in Western Europe killed beautiful women accused of being witches senior Greek Orthodox Church leaders in the Slavic countries, and in particular Ukraine, refused to kill beautiful women accused of being witches; thus, those women were allowed to live and passed on their genes.

C. Martin Luther—1500’s:

Martin Luther was an extremely brave, principled, intellectual priest of the 1500s who disputed the Catholic view that giving the Roman Catholic Church monetary indulgences was required for salvation and, therefore, challenged the Pope’s authority and alleged infallibility when it comes to scripture. Luther asserted that eternal life cannot be earned by good deeds or indulgences, salvation is a matter of God’s grace, and to be saved one only had to sincerely believe that the historical Jesus was the son of God.

Luther found a passage in the Bible that supported his point of view, but the intolerant church excommunicated him, threatened him with execution, and deemed him an outlaw.

Luther is credited with being an intellectual giant, a man of great courage and the founder of the Protestant Revolution.

For more information, read Eric Metaxa’s superb Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World.

Martin Luther is an excellent example of an honorable person who stood his ground, broke barriers, remained non-violent, and got results that are socially beneficial.

D. Galileo Galilei—1550’-1650’s:

Galileo was a controversial Italian astronomer who used a telescope for scientific observation of celestial objects. He championed the idea that the correct astronomical model is the Earth and the other planets revolve around the sun, and Earth is not the center of the universe, which is what the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope advocated.

Since Galileo’s views challenged Church doctrine and Papal infallibility the Roman Inquisition investigated him and concluded Galileo’s ideas were “foolish and absurd” and they contradicted the Bible.

When Galileo urged the Pope to look through his telescope to see the evidence, the Pope refused.

The Inquisition concluded Galileo was “vehemently suspect of heresy”, and the Inquisition and the Pope forced Galileo to recant.

For merely passively reporting publicly his observations, Galileo was forced to live out the rest of his life under house arrest.

Galileo remained non-violent and did not stand his ground. He recanted, under threat of death.

E. Hitler—1939-1945:

Hitler was an evil man who believed Jews were responsible for much of Germany’s and the world’s problems, they were “vermin”, and it was justifiable to kill them. He was instrumental in having approximately six million innocent civilian Jews murdered. He censored them, irrevocably.

When I asked two ordained Christian pastors if they could have killed Hitler at no risk to their lives, would they have done so and why. Both were silent for a long time, in apparent deep thought, and their response was the same: No; they could not justify killing Hitler because human life is sacred and the Bible forbids killing.

I once asked a very devout Christian friend, a retired USAF/Air National Guard, fighter pilot, the same question. His answer: Yes, immediately; no moral qualms.

I am strongly inclined to agree with my fighter pilot friend. If killing Hitler would spare the world of WWII and the lives of six million innocents, why not?

I watched a movie that is suppose to be a true story. Per this movie, Winston Churchill early in the war convened some of the best British minds to report to him their answers to these questions: If he issued an order for the British to kill Hitler, should the British try to do it? Could the British do it? What are the odds of success? How should they attempt to do it?

This movie started with British intellectuals convened to study these issues debating them. When I heard the questions I silently told myself, yes, the British would be justified killing Hitler because he is a horrible tyrant and the Bible condemns murder, not killing, and killing Hitler in the context of WWII would be a justified killing.

At the start of this movie, all of these intellectuals were in agreement that the British could kill Hitler and all, but one, agreed they should. I listened carefully to the dissenter’s reasoning. I ended up agreeing with him. This “we should not kill Hitler” intellectual did not rest his judgment on religious grounds but on practical strategic ones. This man reasoned as follows: Yes, Hitler is evil and he deserves to be killed, but, as a military strategist, he is incompetent, he is Germany’s worse enemy and, in the long run, it is in Britain’s best interest to let Hitler live so he will continue to make strategic mistakes, because, if the Brits killed him they risked a competent professional senior German military officer would gain political control of Germany, and Germany lead by such a person would be harder to defeat.

That committee embraced that dissenter’s reasoning and Churchill decided to not try to kill Hitler because Churchill embraced the committee’s recommendation.

F. An Unknown Old Jewish Lady—Approximately 1943-45:

A scholarly academic book I have on the Holocaust states this: One day, at one of the extermination camps, the camp guards had a large line of naked Jewish women walk toward a huge ditch where they would be shot to death. Along the way, an old, skinny, wrinkled, emaciated Jewish lady got out of line and danced uttering nonsensical sounds. She acted so funny a German officer bent over laughing hysterically. The old lady grabbed the officer’s Lugar and shot him dead. A German soldier then shot and killed her.

When I told a Jewish lawyer about this and asked for his opinion about what happened he told me he was appalled by what the Jewish lady did because she wrongly committed murder just before she knew she was going to be killed and she should not have placed her soul in jeopardy by committing murder so soon before she would be judged by God!

When I asked my Christian pastor for his views about what the old lady did he paused for a long time. His final answer to me was he did not know how to evaluate what the Jewish lady did.

My opinions are these: 1) The Jewish lady is a hero; 2) she did not commit murder; 3) she killed a man who was an officer in charge of subordinates who would murder her and many other innocents; 4) as futile as it was, she committed an act of prudent self-defense and defense of others; 5) to her credit, she created a distraction which gave her a chance to get the officer’s pistol and she took advantage of it; and 6) by killing that German officer she censored him permanently, set an example of a new standard for deviance and courage, and benefitted society by killing a German officer who would go on to kill many if allowed to live.

Here, we have a real life example of how educated and intelligent people disagree while remaining agreeable: the Jewish lawyer, the pastor, and I have a materially different reaction to what the Jewish lady did.

G. Winston Churchill versus Gandhi—1940’s:

Winston Churchill [United Kingdom’s WWII prime minister] and Gandhi [India’s champion of non-violent resistance to secure political change] are two more of my heroes, but they were political enemies. Churchill wanted to keep India, “the Jewel in the Crown of the British Empire”, politically, legally and economically, under British control whereas Gandhi wanted Indian independence and lead massive non-violent resistance to British control.

Gandhi and his non-violent protesting unarmed Indians ultimately prevailed, even when British military used lethal force against them.

Gandhi cleverly pitted relentless, non-violent, steadfast, stubborn, defiant resistance against British bullets, bully tactics, and moral values.

In my opinion, Gandhi’s non-violent tactics worked against the British because the Brits embraced Western Civilization values [“consent of the governed”, “fair play”, “independence”,“rule of law”, and “human life is sacred”], and, unlike the Nazi’s, the Soviets, and the Japanese, did not have the stomach to continue to use lethal force to try to intimidate massive numbers of non-violent Indians willing to risk death for their cause.

H. The Jackie Robinson Story:

Jackie Robinson is another one of my heroes. He was a great athlete and the first Black professional baseball player in the major leagues during the 1940’s, when virulent racism was as “American” as apple pie a la mode. He is, to his credit, the first man of color to break the all white code, which was not a law, but an entrenched bias against non-whites in the major leagues. Robinson was the pioneer who took the arrows.

Robinson was hired by Brooklyn Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey, a Caucasian, who was instrumental in promoting good race relations after World War II but at the price of inflaming race relations until a break through was achieved.

During World War II many American Blacks served in the U.S. Armed Forces against the Germans and the Japanese, but they came home to face virulent segregation. That stark reality seriously offended Branch Rickey. Mr. Rickey, therefore, searched for an African American man who could play baseball per major league standards, who would be willing to be the first Black major league baseball player, who would stand his ground, and who had the courage not to fight back or retaliate in any way and not give up when he was viciously and repeatedly taunted, insulted, and threatened with murder.

“42” is an excellent drama that tells the story of Robinson and Rickey who, together, bravely stood against racial prejudice and forever changed professional baseball by standing their ground and not retaliating. The worse the censoring bigots became, the more they accelerated the collapse of the “all white” barrier in professional baseball.

Jackie Robinson is an excellent example of an honorable person who stood his ground, broke barriers, remained non-violent, never retaliated, and got results that are socially beneficial.

I. U.S. Air Force Fighter Pilot John Boyd—1960’s/70’s:

John Boyd, a Caucasian, a retired and deceased USAF colonel, is an unsung hero. He was a master military strategist, a champion of the need to design and acquire dedicated air superiority fighters, and he is credited with allegedly being the Free World’s best fighter pilot in simulated air combat, even though he never fired a shot in anger. During his career, the Free World’s best fighter pilots, for years, challenged him in air-to-air combat over instrumented ranges, but he prevailed every time.

Boyd had a standing proposition: If you think you can beat me in a combat, let’s put it to a test. Boyd always gave every challenger a distinct advantage. Boyd let every challenger start a “dog fight” in the highly advantageous “six o’clock position”—directly behind Boyd, but, even with that major advantage, Boyd always defeated his challenger in 40 seconds or less!

Perhaps more significantly, Boyd is credited with unofficially breaking the race barrier in Las Vegas. When Boyd was the commanding officer of an elite USAF fighter squadron at Nellis AFB, near Las Vegas, Nevada, stellar Black performers, such as Sammy Davis and Lena Horne, had to enter casinos from the rear door to perform and would be refused a place to sit and eat a meal in a pubic dining area at any of the Strip’s casinos. Boyd, however, unofficially broke that race barrier and got away with it.

When Boyd was the commanding officer of his squadron he established the tradition of all the pilots going to a major casino on the Strip on Friday afternoons to share a meal. When a dark skin Black pilot was assigned to his squadron, Boyd’s executive officer told Boyd they could not bring the Black pilot to the casino due to racial segregation. Boyd told his EX to shut up and, since the Black pilot was a USAF fighter pilot good enough to be assigned to him that man was going with them, no matter what. At the casino, Boyd and the casino’s management exchanged intense hate looks but the casino served the Black pilot without incidence; that pilot ate with the squadron every time it went to a casino for a meal.

Boyd was an extremely focused, determined, polarizing, daring, ferociously passionate, no nonsense, principled, courageous, intractably stubborn man who made enemies but got results.

When Boyd died, many of his enemies who had risen to the rank of general, ordered that his name be removed from invaluable manuals and training materials that Boyd developed because they detested him, they were petty, and they wanted to rebuke him, even in death. The U.S. Marine Corps, however, erected a memorial in honor of Boyd in their official museum even though Boyd was never a Marine.

John Boyd is an excellent example of an honorable Caucasian who stood his ground, stood up on behalf of a Black man, broke barriers, remained non-violent, and got results that are socially beneficial.

Many Americans Are Constitutionally Illiterate

Americans have a fairly complicated form of government. Sadly, many do not correctly understand the U.S. Constitution, have not read it, do not reason correctly from or to it, don’t care what it says, and have no intent to obey the USA’s “supreme law of the land”.

Many Americans want to censure others without good cause. Example: My local chief of police told me his department is often plagued with requests by street corner placard holder protestors to come arrest opposing protestors. When the police ask, “And what crime did these people commit to warrant an arrest?”, the answer is, “They disagree with us.”!

Here is a real life example that further illustrates my point. Years ago, I saw and heard Sam Donaldson, a TV reporter assigned to cover the White House, discuss his views about the First Amendment’s guarantee of “Freedom of the Press”. I was shocked when Donaldson said he construed this part of the First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of . . . the press . . . .” to mean this: He, as a member of “the press”, has an absolute, literal, categorical, constitutional right to report, and to disclose, anything to the public, with absolute immunity from punishment, regardless of the circumstances. Mr. Donaldson articulated this example to support his opinion: If he were a reporter in 1944 and he found out what were the Allies’ plans for the invasion of Europe to liberate Europeans from Nazi control, he, per his “Free Press” right, would have been 100% free to report to the world, including Hitler and his senior military commanders, the exact time and place for the Allies’ plans to attack!

I disagree. I would have censored Donaldson because he, inexplicably, expressed a foolish opinion and made a fundamental mistake: He focused on one part of the U.S. Constitution—his “Free Press” right, in isolation, but it is axiomatic that to construe the U.S. Constitution correctly one most correctly construe it as a whole.

Donaldson ignored what the U.S. Constitution says about treason. In my opinion, Donaldson’s approach smacks of treason as defined in the U.S. Constitution. Art. III, Sec. 3 defines treason as: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.” [Emphasis added by me.]

If Donaldson had revealed General Eisenhower’s [Supreme Allied Commander] plans for invading Europe, before the event, he would have exceeded his “Free Press” rights because he would have committed treason by giving Hitler and his armed forces substantial “aid and comfort” by telling them the Allies will invade on X date at Y place. By so reporting to the public, there would be at least “two witnesses” to his “overt act” of him giving Nazis “aid and comfort” in the guise of him exercising his “Free Press” right.

I doubt if the men tasked to participate in the invasion, or their loved ones, would agree with Donaldson that his “Free Press” rights extend as far as he claims.

This conflict of views between Donaldson and myself is an example of how the public market place of ideas works best when it is allowed to function unfettered, with absolute minimal interference, especially by government officials.

Reality Check

The most effective way to get me to change, or to conform to anyone’s norms, is simple: Convince me on the merits I am wrong and the recommended alternative is wiser or better. Fail to do that and I know of no convincing reason why I should allow anyone to censor me or you control me.

My Conclusions

  1. Censors, by being oppressive, create sympathy for their victims and in the long run embolden people to throw off the censor’s oppression.

  2. It is probably imprudent to align oneself with a censor.

  3. As a society we would be better off if more of us minded our own

    business, adopted a “live and let live” attitude, and did not pressure

    government to make illegal what we disfavor.

  4. Individuals, society, and government should be prudent about what they

    want to suppress, regulate, and make illegal or criminal.

  5. When and where there is a robust, uncensored, “Free Speech”, the

    best ideas eventually secure favor in the public market place of ideas.

  6. The best and most effective remedy for “bad” and/or “dangerous” ideas is more “Free Speech”, not censorship to promote any government’s or

    any private actor’s preference.

  7. Anything not under government control is not necessarily dangerous,

    harmful or out of control.

  8. The best government is the one that governs least.

  9. A robust, boisterous liberty has positive values.

  10. It is imprudent for government to make laws it is incapable of or

    unwilling to enforce.

  11. I object to misguided, over zealous efforts to make the Internet and

    other means of communication “family friendly” and innocent enough to avoid corrupting young children. Adults should not have content disfavored by some restricted to protect children. Parents should exercise parental controls to protect their children and not demand that adults police adults to protect other adult’s children from allegedly objectionable content.

  1. It is probably best to stand firm and not retaliate for as long as possible because self-control and a calm, non-offensive response will often reduce conflict and be cost-time effective in the long run. However, remaining unduly passive for too long can also be extremely dangerous.

  2. If and when one’s vital interest’s [bodily security, core principles or important assets, etc.] are in jeopardy, it might be best to retaliate.

  3. Violence is not inherently bad or good. It is morally neutral and some times necessary and justifiable.

  4. Gandhi’s and Martin Luther King, Jr’s non-violent tactics can be successful, but only against a society or government that embraces Western Civilization norms.

  5. An excellent reliable sign of good mental health is an appropriate response to stimuli.

  6. An excellent sign of horrible mental health is a human being who is so apathetic or lethargic they fail to appreciate a threatening stimuli and/or fail to respond wisely.

  7. If and when one does retaliate, it is probably best to do it in a way that once is enough, e.g., the best way to slap a King is to hit him so hard you knock him down, stun him, and make it clear he is best off leaving you alone because you enforce your boundaries.

  8. Most people grow older but not wiser.

  9. There is awesome wisdom in the anti-censorship quotations which I

    compiled, below.

  10. If you value your freedom and wisdom, I recommend you read and

    ponder these quotations and adjust how you live and think.

  11. We all have to live with ourselves, so be ultra careful about who you

    align with and the choices you make.

  12. If you want a maximum amount of liberty for yourself, stand up for the

    rights of your fellow human being and always dare to exercise your rights so they do not atrophy.


Censorship is Dangerous and DespoticProgress generally begins in skepticism about accepted Pro

“Progress generally begins in skepticism about accepted truths. Intellectual freedom means the right to re-examine much that has been long taken for granted. A free man must be a reasoning man, and he must dare to doubt what a legislative or electoral majority may most passionately assert. The danger that citizens will think wrongly is serious, but less dangerous than atrophy from not thinking at all. . . . The priceless heritage of our society is the unrestricted constitutional right of each member to think as he will. Thought control is a copyright of totalitarianism, and we have no claim to it. It is not the function of our Government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the Government from falling into error.” [Emphasis added by me.]

— U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, dissenting, in Communications Assn. v. Douds (1950) 339 U.S. 382, 442-443

“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.”
 — Thomas Sowell “. . . to impose what you believe is true for you upon all men, indeed upon a single individual—that is despotism.”
—Thomas S. Szasz

“Where there is official censorship, it is a sign that speech is serious. Where there is none, it is pretty certain that the official spokesmen have all the loudspeakers.”
— Paul Goodman

“The dread of censure is the death of genius.” — William G. Simms

“Censure is the tax a man pays to the public for being eminent.” —Jonathan Swift

“If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.”
— John Stuart Mill

Community Censorship is Too Loose and Dangerous

“Any test that turns on what is offensive to the community’s standards is too loose, too capricious, too destructive of freedom of expression to be squared with the First Amendment. Under that test, juries can censor, suppress, and punish what they don’t like, provided the matter relates to ‘sexual impurity’ or has a tendency ‘to excite lustful thoughts’. This is community censorship in one of its worse forms.”
—William O. Douglas

Community Censors = Gang

“No matter whose lips that would speak, they must be free and ungagged. The community which dares not protect its humblest and most hated member in the free utterance of his opinions, no matter how false or hateful, is only a gang of slaves. If there is anything in the universe that can’t stand discussion, let it crack.”

— Wendell Phillips

No Censorship is the First Condition for Progress

“All censorship exist to prevent anyone from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently, the first condition of progress is the removal of censorship. There is the whole case against censorship in a nutshell.”
—George Bernard Shaw

Censorship’s Limits

“You have not converted a man because you have silenced him.” — John Morley

“He who complies against his will, is of his own opinion still.” — Samuel Butler

Ideas Cannot be Incarcerated

“Ideas won’t go to jail. In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only sure weapon against bad ides is better ideas. The source of better ideas is wisdom. The surest path to wisdom is a liberal education.”

—Whitney Griswold

“You can cage the singer but not the song.” — Harry Belafonte

The Danger of Unchallenged Orthodoxy

“Free speech has been preserved, but its effective existence is disastrously curtailed if the more important means of publicity are only open to opinions which have the sanctions of orthodoxy.”
—Bertrand Russell

Best Solution for Bad Ideas

“Where opinions are free, either in matters of government or religion, truth will finally and powerfully prevail.”
—Thomas Paine

“If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the process of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.”
— Louis D. Brandeis

“For God’s sake, let us freely hear both sides.” — Thomas Jefferson

To Escape Censorship is Essential

“A man’s first care should be to avoid the reproaches of his own heart; his next, to escape the censures of the world.”
—Joseph Addison

Americans Can Speak Freely Without Fear

“America is a free market for people who have something to say, and need not fear to say it.”
—Hubert H. Humphrey

“The very aim and end of our institutions is just this: that we may think what we like and say what we think.”
—Oliver Wendell Holmes “. . . the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.”
— William J. Brennan, Jr.

“If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.”

— Robert H. Jackson

“Intellectual freedom means the right to re-examine much that has been long taken for granted. A free man must be a reasoning man, and he must dare to doubt what a legislative or electoral majority may most passionately assert.”
—Robert H. Jackson

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
— George Orwell

“No one deserves punishment for his thoughts.” —Latin saying

“Give me the liberty to know to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.”
—John Milton

“The Constitution is a delusion and a snare if the weakest and humblest man in the land cannot be defended in his right to speak and his right to think as much as the strongest in the land.”
— Clarence Darrow

Americans’ Right to Criticize Public Officials

“I can imagine no greater disservice to the country than to establish a system of censorship that would deny to the people of a free republic like our own their indisputable right to criticize their own public officials. While exercising the great powers of the office I hold, I would regret in a crisis like the one through which we are now passing to loose the benefit of patriotic and intelligent criticism.”

— Woodrow Wilson

Censor’s Excuse to Murder Under Color of Law

“Give me six lines written by the most honorable of men, and I will find an excuse in them to hang him.”
—Cardinal Richelieu

Hostility Against Tyranny Over Free Thinking

“I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”
—Thomas Jefferson

“Almighty God hath created the mind free.” —Thomas Jefferson

“If there is anything that cannot bear free thought, let it crack.” —Wendell Phillips

Censorship is the Dictator’s Weapon

“The weapon of the dictator is not so much propaganda as censorship.”

—Terence H. Qualter

He Who Yields to Censorship is a Slave

“He who endeavors to control the mind by force is a tyrant, and he who submits is a slave.”
—Robert G. Ingersoll

Control Freaks

“Some who are too scrupulous to steal your possessions nevertheless see no wrong in tampering with your thoughts.”
— Kahlil Gibran

Pondering Certainty

“To refuse a hearing to an opinion because they are sure that it is false, is to assume that their certainty is the same thing as absolute certainty. All silencing of discussion is an assumption of infallibility.” [Emphasis in the original.]

— John Stuart Mill

The Cost of Censorship

“If there had been a censorship of the press in Rome, we should have had today neither Horace nor Juvenal, not the philosophical writings of Cicero.” — Voltaire

Freedom to Offend

“What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.”

— Salman Rushdie

Society’s Lack of Confidence

“Censorship reflects a society’s lack of confidence in itself.” — Potter Stewart


“Self-censorship silences as effectively as a government decree.” —Tom Wicker

Friend’s Silence = Censure

“The silence of a friend commonly amounts to treachery. His not daring to say anything on our behalf implies a tacit censure.”
— William Hazlitt

If Free Expression for Another Worth Your Death?

“I disapprove of what you say, but I well defend to the death your right to say it.”
— Voltaire

Who Speaks Freely?

“Kings and fools speak freely.” — Dutch saying

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