Thursday, April 16, 2009

Early Censorship Essay

This essay is in its early stages.

Imagine for a second a world where everything you watch on TV or listen to on radio was dictated by someone. That someone has the authority to remove certain programming that he or she finds obscene. As a kid, this someone should be a parent. It’s the parent’s responsibility to being up the child anyway they wish, I think. So I have to ask, why is the US government going out of its way to censor television and radio? Do they think that parents today can’t possibly keep track of their kids, and even what they watch? If you asked me, I think that the US government and the Federal Cumunications Company should leave it up to the individual to decide what they and their children watch and listen to.
The legal definition of censorship today is the suppression of images or idea by government or others with authority. Censorship has been used throughout history for communities to mold individuals to a certain standard, with the community represented by government. Despite this, the English speaking world has been struggling with censorship since the seventeenth century. The first amendment even gives people of the United States the rights to free speech and the press. Often times, when something gets censored that’s written and spoken, the party getting censored will usually argue that the censorship is in violation of their first amendment rights. (
Representative Bernie Sanders in 2005 spoke in opposition to The Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005, or HR 310. HR 310 would increase fines for any broadcast party that would speak or display content that’s considered obscene, indecent or contains profane language. Sanders is concerned that this is another way for the government to censor and regulate the media. “There are a lot of people in Congress,” states Sanders, “who talk about the intrusive role of “government regulators,” but today they want government regulators to tell radio and TV stations what they can air.”
So what should government do about censoring TV, the radio and the internet? Nothing. Why should government take responsibility for regulating what we watch? There’s no reason. Whatever happened to a person who would see something on television that offended them, and then that person would just change the channel and watch another show. Adam Thierer and I are on the same page with him asking “What happened to common sense and personal responsibility in this country?”
I’m not saying we should not censor everything as there are a few things that need to be looked at. Charles Lee even knows this; well he thinks censorship is the best thing. Lee even goes as far as calling pornography, “Satan,” and the internet, “hell.” Mr. Lee even admits that he was addicted to pornography at one point, until he looked in the mirror and said he saw Satan in himself. Lee would then throw away what he called “JCPornography” magazines and joined a church, never viewing pornography again. Charles Lee claims that children who view pornography at an early age, sixteen or seventeen, are destroyed for life.
So who’s at fault if a child sees pornography? I can say I’ve been exposed to nudity while watching the movie Titanic as a child, and my parents saw the movie along with me. I don’t think that scene destroyed my life.
Why can’t more parents be like mine when it comes to censorship? They knew what would be okay for me to view when watching R-rated movies. My mom and dad knew wouldn’t expose me to certain indecent stuff, like sexual themes, nude scenes, or intense swearing. They would still let me watch movies with moderate swearing and violence. Through this, I was able to create values of my own and determine for myself what was good and what’s bad.
I have babysat for an extended period of time in my life and made sure that the kids wouldn’t be exposed to certain obscene material. I would always tell them that their mother would overrule me if I said something to the contrary. One issue was the maturity level of the two children. One was in the seventh grade during my time and the other, I believe was in the second or third grade. Yes, they did watch some shows with questionable content before I ever stepped in, so I allowed them to watch the shows, but I always kept in the room in case something was overly obscene. Both the children loved to play video games as well, and asked me on numerous occasions to bring some games over. This is where I made sure the games I didn’t want them playing didn’t make it to the house, even if it was at my own expense.
Part of Lee’s argument states that ninety-nine percent of Americans use the internet to view pornography. Is Lee trying to say that only one person out of a hundred doesn’t use the internet to view pornography? Lee however fails to list his source backing up this statement.
It’s should be up to the individual what is decent for them and what isn’t, not the government. Lawmakers even complain about the restrictions placed on television and radio, but as demonstrated with The Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005, the government doesn’t back up what they say. It’s a shame that because one individual was offended by what was seen or heard that government has to make the changes. All of this as we get closer to losing our liberties in this country.

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