There have been many attempts to censor material tangible or intangibl
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There have been many attempts to censor material. tangible or intangible, by not only Governments, but also libraries, classrooms, and households. Board members like that of your local library or school district have been most willing to censor things.
During the begining of this century Anthony Comstock and the "Society for the Suppresion of Vice" of had a law passed to completely ban any material, thoughts or speech that was "vice". Their definition of vice was very broad: vice included anything that included content about sex, drugs, birth control. It also included any and all profanity. In the terms of the law however, vice was "Anything that was of improper character." If you were caught distributing or discussing any vice he made you out to be a sinner in the eyes of God and you could and almost certainly were arrested. His laws stood until a group of socialists, including Margaret Sanger, challenged it. After a long battle the law was weakened and later quashed completely.
Anthony Comstock had boasted that they had destroyed 194,000 “questionable pictures” and 134,000 pounds of books of “improper character” in the first year of the
law's enactment. The Comstock law was in effect for well over a year. Just how many
peoples ideas, and beliefs had been destroyed because of that law is up to your imagination. Sometimes people censor things because they believe them to be morally inproper, but sometimes they have less acceptable reasons, it is as if some people try to make their jobs justified. People have even banned the book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finnby calling it "garbage being passed off as literature.
Oliver Twist was completely banned in Australia because it had content in which Oliver was instructed and encouraged to steal. Mr. Stott Despoja, a democtatic member of the Australian Parliament, strongly against censorship stated “…a publication that instructs in stealing is Oliver Twist, the Charles Dickens classic, which instructs Oliver in--'Pick a Pocket or two'" . He then continued on with his disgust that anything conatining any hints of stealing were to be banned. He finished his speech with:
“I think we want to retain the diversity of materials that form our entertainment and our education in this country, but we must have
a law that cannot be arbitrarily applied, and its wording must be clear
not only to avoid confusion, but also to ensure that we protect our
community and that we treasure and protect the freedoms we have in
the country when it comes to civil liberties, the press and speech.”
Oliver Twist, also known as the Parish Boy, did many rash things, chewed snuff, stole, and picked pockets. Throughout his life Oliver was making bad decisions, who to talk to, what to do, and who to listen to. His lack of decision making skills gets him into a lot of trouble. He is even at one point arrested:
'No,' replied Fagin, 'not very. He was charged with attempting
to pick a pocket, and they found a silver snuff-box on him,--his
own, my dear, his own, for he took snuff himself, and was very
fond of it. They remanded him till to-day, for they thought they
knew the owner. Ah! he was worth fifty boxes, and I'd give the
price of as many to have him back. You should have known the Dodger, my dear; you should have known the Dodger.'
I can see why some people believe that the book encourages inapropriate behavior, but most childeren, if brought up right, know the difference between right and wrong, and the difference between fiction and non fiction.
The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) and the ALA (American Library
Association) are also against censorship. The ACLU has always maintained their
position that any form of censorship violates the first amendment of the Constitution. The ACLU was the main proponent against the CDA (Communications Decency Act). The CDA was tried in the US Supreme Court and was found to blatently violate the first ammendment of the constitution. COPA (Child Online Protection Act, also known as CDA-II) has now had two preliminary injunctions placed against it, no enforcement may be used under the name of COPA until it has been tried and found constitutional, which it probably wont. COPA is simmilar to CDA in that any material possibly harmful to children would be banned,
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Obscenity law, Pornography law, Internet censorship in the United States, American Civil Liberties Union, Censorship in the United States, Comstock laws, Communications Decency Act, Banned Books Week, Child Online Protection Act, Censorship, Oliver Twist
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