Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Soft censorship and intellectual freedom

  1. "Without any censorship, in the West fashionable trends of thought and ideas are carefully separated from those which are not fashionable; nothing is forbidden, but what is not fashionable will hardly ever find its way into periodicals or books or be heard in colleges. Legally your researchers are free, but they are conditioned by the fashion of the day. There is no open violence such as in the East; however, a selection dictated by fashion and the need to match mass standards frequently prevent independent-minded people from giving their contribution to public life."

    Alexander Solzhenitsyn addressing Harvard students, Thursday, June 8, 1978

  2. "The Catholic Church is the only thing that frees a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age."

    G.K. Chesterton, The Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton, Volume 3: The Catholic Church and Conversion, Ch. 5: "The Exception Proves the Rule," p. 110.

[Hat tip to G. Heenan for the Solzhenitsyn quote]




The "soft censorship" strikes a chord with me. Solzhenitsyn's point is subtle but profound. While the manipulation is already beginning to become overt and heavy-handed today, it was not that long ago when people hardly noticed it. If they will think back and reflect on their own habits of speech, I think they will notice that they began picking up some politically correct habits of dropping masculine singular pronouns some time ago. This is an often unconscious form of self-censorship imposed by the surrounding society, led by pressures from the media and university liberals. Soon it will be obvious to many more of us what is happening and going to happen. It won't be pretty.