Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Free People Read Freely

Thanks to Ted for reminding us yesterday, it's Banned Books Week.

We have plenty of course to celebrate here. Books banned and "restricted" and disappearing from bookshops ... with no discussion, no channel for appeal, no statement from the government.

I've taken this quote by John Stuart Mill from the American Library Association's website (which is a great source of information about books banned in the US):
If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. Were an opinion a personal possession of no value except to the owner; if to be obstructed in the enjoyment of it were simply a private injury, it would make some difference whether the injury was inflicted only on a few persons or on many. But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error. — On Liberty


Ted Mahsun said...

Hoho! Am currently reading a "restricted" book - Time for a Tiger. Am enjoying Burgess's depictions of the various races...

Anonymous said...

Free speech is impractical.. it should be allowed of course, but smart people know when to be tactful and diplomatic. Otherwise they'd end up like me :)