Censorship In America
Since this country was founded, we have had a set of unalienable rights that our constitution guarantees us to as Americans. One of the most important rights that is mentioned in our constitution is the right to free speech. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” These are the exact words used by our country’s forefathers when they made these amendments in the late 1700’s. Ever since then there have been people trying to abolish this right by censoring things that the American public has a right to see if they so choose. Movies, books, music, thoughts, ideas, and literature are all things that have fallen victims to censorship in this country. The idea and practice of censorship is unconstitutional and should be completely abolished in all forms.
Many Americans love films, the meanings behind those films and the impact some films have on people’s lives. Ever since films were created there have been people and organizations that have tried to censor and block what the public can and cannot see. Even to this day there are certain things that if put on film because of censorship, would never make it to the public. This is very sad. Film is one of this country’s great expressive outlets. Many filmmakers and the people who enjoy what these filmmakers put out are affected by the horrible concept of censorship.
When a film is put out to the public it is first reviewed by a movie rating board who then assigns the film a rating to tell people what age groups the film is suitable for and what the film contains. Movie selection for minors should solely be the responsibility of that child’s parent, not some critic that watches films and then makes decisions for other people about who can watch it and who can’t. People just need to start to understand the real meaning of free speech and expression in this country. Too many people are taking it for granted. People who are for the censorship of films may argue that it’s for the good of our children, shielding them from violence and sex, and not exposing them to something that they claim may be mentally harming. Some people may be able to see their views on this, I don’t.
Back in the holocaust in Germany book burning was an everyday activity that was taking place. Book censorship today in America isn’t quite as drastic as that, but still is reflecting the same concepts. I remember in junior high school when we would have banned book week. This was where the school celebrated having the right to read censored and banned books. Written word is one of the most important aspects of free speech. In no circumstance whatsoever, should any piece of writing be censored. Writing thoughts and ideas and whatever else comes into someone’s mind has been a practice of humans ever since historians know that man existed. Telling people what they can and cannot read is an invasion of not only the reader’s rights, but the author’s as well.
If someone doesn’t like what an author of a piece of literature have to say then that person has a right not to read it, or better yet form their own opinion and write about that. Book banning is and ungodly practice and the people of this world should learn from the mistakes of the past and not allow the censorship of written material. The only opposition that I can find to the censorship of books would be taking the same mindset on the topic as the Nazis did when they burned all of the Jew’s books. Trying to wipe out an entire race or group of people’s ideas and beliefs should never be done anywhere for any reason.
Music censorship has probably been the most heated topic in censorship right now. Censors claim that the lyrics and violent talk in today’s music are making kids do violent things and claiming that kids are trying to mimic what they hear their favorite musicians talking about. This is completely ridiculous. People who think that music is what is causing these problems are completely ignorant and just need a scapegoat. They don’t really want to deal with the problems so they shift the blame onto musicians. Musicians are out there to entertain people, they are out there to use their freedom of expression to express things they have experience in their lives and to make some money doing it. When this society gets to the point where they blame problems of violence on music, we are in big trouble. Censoring and blaming music for the actions of a few people is not a good thing because it shows how we can’t handle and correct our own problems in this country; we need to blame someone or something to make up for our negligence.
The only good point I can see from the other side of this argument is the fact that profanity and sexually explicit material shouldn’t be exposed to young children without their parental permission. But telling teenagers and young adults who are mature enough to choose what they want to listen to is completely wrong and unjust. The key word here is choice. As stated earlier, the thing that makes this country truly great is the idea that we have the right to listen to whatever we choose we want to listen to, not what a censor thinks you should be exposed to, and it’s ridiculous.
Freedom of speech and expression is one of the most important rights that we have in this country. Our forefathers knew this and acknowledged this in our great constitution which protects our rights as citizens in America. Censorship is a complete contradiction to this concept that has helped make America the greatest country in the world. If we do not stand up for our rights for free speech, someday it may be taken away all together. Everyday there are people out there trying to ban and censor things from Americans, things that as an American you have the right to view. Censorship must be stopped at all costs.