Censorship was once so simple. Kings, emperors, hierarchs, dictators stifled free expression to protect their authority. They decided what ideas were dangerous; organized a network of schoolteachers, priests, and informers to sniff out expressions of these ideas; then hired policemen, judges, and civil servants to punish the speakers. The censors didn’t want to make us good or persuade us of anything in particular: Obedience would suffice.
As we began, more or less, to govern ourselves, the first thing we did was rid ourselves of the informers, demote the priests and schoolteachers, and find other work for the cops.
What we're doing these days is something quite new: The people themselves seek to rehire the censors, restore the (social) network of snitches, and redeploy the police—to govern our own speech. The aim is not to ensure the stability of a regime but to save us from being unkind to one another and encourage moral excellence. The notion that vigilantly watching what we say makes us better people is a crazy one. But it has an even crazier corollary: the widely shared conviction that what people say aloud is a reliable gauge of their private thoughts. Consider the case of the student journalist and the terrorist.
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
The Not-Talking Cure For Islamo-Arab Imperialism
Advocacy of censorship has returned in order to deny the reality of Islamic savageyr