OFF - and multiply!

Chris Bates C.D.Bates at SHEFFIELD.AC.UK
Wed Mar 13 08:07:49 EST 1996

Apologies first. I wasn't going to post anything else about
the great censorship debate but sometimes keeping quiet is
the worst possible thing to do.

Maxine wrote:
> Because the concept of censorship has been abused on by a small
> fanatical minority in power to the detriment of the healthy development
> of the human race... and it's about time the balance was redressed?!

Of course the fear of new ideas, particularly where those ideas
threaten the power of an elite has led to repression. We might look
at the pagans attitudes to the early Christains, the Christians
attitudes to dissident philosophers before the rennaissance as
good examples. Similarly the free dissemination of information
without checks and balances has serious, often fatal, effects upon
millions of lives today. The hatred spread by the Hutus and Tutsi
peoples of central Africa, extremist Hindu and Muslim politicians
in parts of India, Holocaust denial in Europe is all freely
available. People read, see or hear this stuff and are then influenced
by it. Merely arguing against such views has little effect (the
Protocols of Zion continue to be influential amongst Nazi and white
supremacist groups many years after being discredited).

It might suprise libertarians but not everyone has your incredibly
highly developed critical faculties, people are influenced by the
information they receive. The internet is the fastest method yet
developed of spreading rumour and hatred. By the time a denial has been
disseminated the lies of extremists are already in the public
domain and being accepted. Not everyone who sees the lie will ever
see a rebutal.

> I think you are missing the point that not everybody is happy with the
> way the World is run (if indeed we can say that it is 'run' at all) and
> that some people are pig sick of being dictated/restricted by laws to
> which they don't subscribe.

That's right. Some people, for instance, want to kill Jews or
remove non-whites from parts of Europe. I presume that you don't
think it right for people to do these things? Laws DO NOT exist
to please anyone. they are there so that we can all co-exist
with the minmum of hassle. If you don't like that then fair
enough, you don't have to obey the law provided you are willing to
take the consequences should you be caught. This is a noble tradition
amongst British political dissidents from the anti-poll tax campaign

What you do not have the right to do, in my view, is remove
protection from the vulnerable to satisfy your own desires.

> I would suggest that censorship has created these scenarios in the first
> place -

Rubbish. Paedophiles are usually the victims of abuse themselves,
possessing child-porn does not reduce their disgusting activites.

> Sounds like a good idea to me - I mean not only are we funding the
> little p****s through University

Fancy that eh? A state funded education system! Whatever next? A
state funded/developed internet? Oh no we have one of those, sorry
my mistake :-) In fact this is a key issue, large parts of the
internet are government owned - the cables which carry this message
away from my office are part of the UK state-funded network and
the same is probably true of most other countries. Most users remain
in universities. Whilst the state is involved the govt has a right
to say what its networks are used for. If you don't like this then
get a commercial account.

> Go on Tax it!!!!! :(

Unless you are VAT exempt I would assume that any UK subscriber
to a commercial ISP is paying tax already.

> - as with all other forms of communication, information, education etc on
> the Internet there should be no censorship.

No. As I've demonstrated above the internet is different because
it allows the dissemination of propaganda without a *right of
reply*. This can surely not be called communication!

> Yeh - and no more guns or knives shown on television (at all, ever, so neh!)

As a life-long pacifist I can't disagree with this proposition :-)
Well done Maxine, at last a cogent argument.

> Which is a taking a complete liberty over childless couples who not
> only live in the area but are burdened by the ridiculous cost of
> installing these monstrosities, those sleeping policemen are ruining my
> suspension! It seems to me that responsible people (ie those that avoid
> children!) are always paying the cost of others desire to propagate their
> own seeds in a bizarre attempt at immortality!

Excuse me! But what the hell is this all about? There are 2 points
I take from this: you believe that traffic control/calming is a bad
thing (so presumably you feel free to ignore speed limits), you object
to paying for other peoples children. Are you therefore opposed to
state education, state health care, dole, pensions - all of which
are benefits accruing to others from your taxes.

Incidentally I rarely drive these days, preferring to cycle and I find
sleeping policeman most amusing. The other day I was chased over one by
a boy-racer and his car made a lovely noise as it bottomed out on
the far side. Me 1, wanker 0 :-)

> > Giving them the right to ban pornographers on the Net means that after
> > that we exist only by permission. If they get the right to ban anyone,
> > they get the right to ban us.
> And that, sadly is that!

Where it's state funded that is, and should remain, the case.


More information about the boc-l mailing list