Home » Society: Norms & Expectations » Room 101 and Censorship

Room 101 and Censorship


As part of my series of Room 101 posts I took the brilliant suggestion of Censorship from the amazingly talented mco9com at https://healthandgender.wordpress.com

Just to recap what my Room 101 posts are about, for those of you, and there are many, who haven’t bothered to read or got involved with my previous post (thanks for your support)!

Anyway, here goes the recap;

I will be writing about things I wish to banish from the world because I hate or dislike them.

These Room 101 posts will be inspired by subjects, and these subjects can cover anything, basically anything goes. So for example subjects could be; ‘Modern Life’, ‘Going Out’, ‘People Who Are Happy’, ‘Stereotypes’, ‘Banks’ (and so on and so forth).

Whatever subject is chosen by my readers, I will then write a post about and state what it is I hate or dislike about this subject.

Then you, the reader, can decide if I have made a persuasive enough argument to actually banish what annoys me, to Room 101.

OK, reasoning behind for post is now over so let me explain; why I dislike Censorship.

Draconian censorship is becoming an increasingly common tactic among people who have the audacity to consider themselves liberals.

Freedom of expression has always seemed to have its exceptions, never more so than via legally proscribed hate speech.

This hate speech restriction, has encouraged a culture of almost denial. Censorship or restriction of it doesn’t fully address specific issues around intimidation or incitement. The only solution available; enforcing general social regulation – as though this helps change the situation! This muted confusion is why hate speech laws across the world have no consistency, and therefore no real validity, because people don’t know or can’t agree on what actually constitutes as hate speech.

Hate speech laws;

Britain bans abusive, insulting, and threatening speech. Denmark and Canada ban speech that is insulting and degrading. India and Israel ban speech that hurts religious feelings and incites racial and religious hatred. In Holland, it is a criminal offence to deliberately insult a particular group. Australia prohibits speech that offends, insults, humiliates, or intimidates individuals or groups. Germany bans speech that violates the dignity of, or maliciously degrades or defames, a group. And so on. In each case, the law defines hate speech in a different way.

So one response to this legal censorship might be to say: Let us define hate speech much more tightly.

I think, however, that the problem runs much deeper than definition. Hate speech restriction is a means not of tackling bigotry but of re-branding certain, often obnoxious, ideas or arguments as immoral. It is a way of making certain ideas illegitimate without bothering politically to challenge them. And that is dangerous.

Censorship just sweeps the problems under the carpet, but doesn’t solve a thing for society in the long run.

Now you decide what you think.

Should censorship or legally proscribed hate speech be consigned to Room 101???  

Comments please and suggestions please!!!

23 thoughts on “Room 101 and Censorship

  1. Hello again! I’m honored that you chose to write on the topic I submitted. I really enjoyed your response and do agree with what you have written. Applying censorship to the realm of hate speech, I do wish it was abolished to Room 101. However, I also agree with your later response to comment, describing how you wish for the rhetoric to change and for other voices to be heard.
    Censorship in any form is oppressive to me. Sure, there are those that take this ideal to extremes and use it to fuel hate, but it has it’s purpose. Varying decades, political figures, story books, music, and other mediums are constantly affected by censorship. There are times that I am drawn to certain works because I know them to be banned altogether. Therefore, I know they must be powerful and thus deemed exciting to me.
    I agree that censorship should be banned, but I do have an odd appreciation for it throughout history. I may not agree with what is done, but the word stands for a small revolt after all.

    • Thanks for your input, and thanks again for your suggestion!! Yes, I do agree with the revolt it seems to stir, but do feel it has often been a strangle hold over many societies. I suppose out of bad comes good!!!
      Thanks again (oh, and I am happy to have written about the topic), Bex

  2. I don’t think that censorship should be banned.

    In my country (US) people say that we have freedom of speech. In reality we don’t. Many universities don’t allow well known national figures to speak on campuses. It’s not censorship. Banning censorship will not change the situation.

    On the other hand, I believe that it is unacceptable that protesters were allowed to chant: “We want cops dead! We want it now!” It is also unacceptable that some members of the Congress incited hatred against police and racism (by raising publicly their hands and shouting: “Hand up! Don’t shoot!). All of then knew that Michael Brown did not raise hands and attacked a police officer.

    There was some kind of censorship in every state and in every culture for thousands of years. We don’t need to ban censorship. We need to have good laws that don’t allow certain behaviour harmful to society.

    • Thanks for dropping by my blog. I appreciate you taking the time to read my post and leave me your thoughts on this topic.
      I agree there is censorship in every country, and that it has always existed in one form or another. However in its many forms it has caused more issues than it has solved. I agree that what some people or groups have to say can be damaging and may even lead to a loss of freedoms. Yet, how is it we allow one group of people to decide what should and shouldn’t be said. We all see ‘offensive’ differently. I don’t advocate bullying, pornography or anything that would incite dreadful acts like murder or terrorism, but in this world, people may think of these things, say them and do them with or without censorship.
      Good laws are a good thing too, but often only passed by those in power and who hold all the cards in society. A good law is only as good as those who decide it, pass it and then enforce it. Perhaps we as people should consider being more respectful to others and think of the old saying; ‘do unto others as you would have others do unto you’.
      Thanks again or your response, appreciate it, Bex

      • Dear Bex, without laws there is chaos and anarchy. People in power are chosen in democratic countries by voters. So it’s better to consider for what person you vote.
        I am sure that police officers in New York are right when they blame the mayor Blasio for the death of their friends.

        • Hi once again JF. Let me clarify what I mean; with laws there still can be chaos, anarchy, terrorism and so on. A law in itself doesn’t prohibit people from breaking them (necessarily). With laws it might seem as though things are more organised in society, but looks can be deceiving!! In regards to voting; every politician promises the earth and then rarely can deliver. In most countries there isn’t much choice regarding who you vote for; all parties seem to spout the same rhetoric, and don’t honestly understand or reflect what their electorate want or need. Hence why so many people are discontent, living in poverty, homeless and so on and so on. I don’t know enough about what you have mentioned regarding NY. However there are many stories across the world similar, whereby those in charge often can be blamed for the death of ‘their’ citizens (and that is with laws in place).
          Thanks again, and just to let you know I appreciate your opinion and hope therefore you will appreciate mine.
          All the best, Bex

  3. Very interesting topic Bex! This reminds me of a bumper sticker I once saw that said “I don’t tolerate intolerance!” I dont really play the political game because its a lot like watching the Harlem Globetrotters play the Washington Generals, its entertaining, humorous and sometimes even exciting but the game is fake, the outcome already predetermined, and the players just go out and put on their best show. So politically, censorship is just another devisive tool to divide the masses and keep them fighting each other as the politicians quietly stuff their pockets with table scraps thrown down by their banker masters for a job well done. This way the bankers can go about their business without a care because we are so busy fighting over words we are too blind to see whats really going on. As Charles Galton Darwin, the grandson of Charles Darwin, once said “Every civilization has really been a form of slavery for the people. This is the “natural order” and we are now creating a more sophisticated form of slavery using science.”
    I’d say ban censorship but it doesnt really matter, we just keep giving all the power to make decisions for ourselves away to circus clowns in suits who entertain us for a few months, stir up tensions to divide us, promise to change things and then turn around and screw us like they always do, except we keep expecting the outcome to be different each time!

    • Hi there, so happy to see you have made a return!! Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post and leave me such a thoughtful response. I appreciate your excellent points, as always!!
      I agree 100% with what you have raised, all except, I know very little about sport teams and basketball (though understand analogy)! I do however agree with Darwin’s offspring; and have for as long as I can remember held a similar opinion. Especially regarding the political realm, and those who deign to abuse their powers.
      This is the area I would gladly change. I would like the rhetoric to change; allowing more varied voices to speak and be heard. I would actually like to rip up what is and begin again, and if I could, I would do that myself!!! Working within a political environment, I have come to realise that it is difficult to change anything in the greater scheme of things. Also, those who have power often ought not to. It is safe to say that the everyday people don’t really stand a chance of changing a thing; inside the den of inequity or on the outside via direct action or whatever. Without money and power our voices will never be valued. This is something I feel censorship adds too, as those in power set the tune we dance to.
      Thanks very much for your comment, Bex

  4. As my old mum used to say, “sticks and stones can break your bones but names can never hurt you”. Now to be consistent you would also have to abolish sexual harassment laws. Remember, if it puts a lawyer out of business it’s probably a good thing to do 🙂

    • Thanks for taking the time to read my post Malcolm, I appreciate your considered comment, as always!
      Ah yes, I agree with that; blasted lawyers!!! I actually wonder how often sexual harassment laws are adhered to anyway. I know many people who have had these issues, men and women, especially within the workplace, and have never been taken seriously. I think a law often means very little if there is no way of enforcing it (especially those pertinent to the workplace). How can you truly enforce respect?
      Thanks again for your time and your response, Bex

  5. A very interesting debate! I am certainly not in favour of censorship but, for a moment, consider this argument: Many people accept that we cannot have total freedom to do anything we like. Total freedom for all actually means a loss of freedom for many. So, assuming there needs to be limits on freedom, then is some kind of censorship required? I very much agree that commonsense should be the right approach, but if commonsense is based on values, and different cultures have different values, then that may not work either!

    • Hi Rhys, many thanks for taking the time to read my blog and leave such a considered response. I appreciate it as always.
      Yes, I do agree that for people to have complete freedom, might actually create a loss of freedom. For example; on bullying or trolls. I don’t think that anyone believes they have anything of particular use to say. This post for me, is about being able to air more conflicting views, without censure. Especially relating to the political realm. Here people often are gagged from speaking; from saying what really needs to be said. Therefore, very little changes and progress is stunted. Everyone speaks the same old rhetoric, too afraid to break free and meet what many people need and want from a representative.
      Thanks again for your comment, Bex

  6. I definitely agree with you on that one. Aside from the fact that there are people who actually preach hatred towards other people, as Pegida in Germany (party against the islamisation of the occident), who are bigots, even people who simply acknowledge that there may be a problem are automatically branded as racists, bigots and the like. The answer to cultural hatred is not a legal, but a cultural matter, and mixing up these levels leads nowhere.

    • Thank you for your input, may I say, I agree with you too. The point you have illustrated demonstrates how restrained or gagged people have become. Ignoring the problem and calling names at those who raise it, won’t solve anything. It is almost as though Government have lost their ‘balls’ to address real issues’; so why in fact are they there at all?! If we all become too afraid to say anything, address problems and disagree, what exactly can change in society?
      Thanks again for adding this point to the subject, it is certainly good enough reason to banish Censorship to Room 101!

  7. Yes, banish! I wouldn’t expect all countries to have the exact same definition. You’re right, this is one grey area that can be redefined all the time to satisfy laws and civil unrest, etc. When people can be defended under a definition that makes it easier for them to practice hate speech, then society has failed! Room 101 is an interesting idea and I totally applaud you for it.

    • Thank you Amy for taking the time to read my post and share your opinions of this subject. I appreciate it as always.
      Yeas, certainly that is what is has become a grey area, and therefore easily abused and ignored.
      Thanks, I wanted to do something different; I hoped it would work as an idea, and get people involved.
      Thanks again, Bex

  8. Yes, yes and yes again. We should banish censorship and the whole messy idea of “legally proscribed hate speech”, the sooner the better. As you rightly say, these laws never actually change the underlying thought process of the supposed offender (or their “thought crime” as censorship fans might say, they only use the awesome power of the state to intimidate such speech and sweep it under the rug, where it festers.

    I would go further and argue that the same process applies to other supposedly liberal concepts such as the minimum wage, where rather than trying to create an economy with educated people and skilled jobs for them to perform, those on the left such as the Labour Party are quite happy to see a low skill economy, but then use the stick of the minimum wage to force employers to pay above the market rate for many jobs.

    And you are right that this tendency to quash opposing views (or at least shield oneself from ever having to hear anything offensive or challenging) is spreading – over in the United States, many conservative-leaning politicians and public figures are having to pull out of speeches at universities across the land because the coddled students are starting petitions to have them disinvited, for fear of hearing something that challenges their worldview.

    So however it manifests itself, I think that censorship is a cancer on our society that should be fought and removed. We need to hear things that contradict our own personal world views, because that is both how we grow as individuals and how bad ideas are exposed to the light of day, where they rightly wither.

    • Thanks for taking the time to read and respond to my post; I truly appreciate your input on this topic.

      I agree with the points you have raised as examples, and was actually thinking of the uni speeches when writing this.I certainly do feel that censorship of ideas or opinions isn’t healthy for a progressive society. Even the more ‘radical’ voices have a place in society, for me that is what the very premise of being in a ‘democracy’ is about. Without a bit of ‘radical’ how can the status quo ever change? If we all think and feel the same, how dull life will become.

      Regarding the minimum wage. I have always felt that for some employment areas it has worked wonders, but in general, I feel it has actually suppressed the growth of wages. Most employers feel happy enough, cheekily so, to pay minimum wage regardless of the job requirements. Whether cleaner or manger it is minimum wage all round! More so now than ever before! They use the minimum wage as though employees should be thankful for the pittance they are being offered for often very skilled labour. Just lately I was offered a position for £13,500 a year. Granted this is more than the minimum wage, but in comparison to what I have been earning, disgusting. I personally am an advocate of a living wage.

      Thanks again for your comment, I appreciate it as always!

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