Censorship is the suppression of ideas or news sources in mass communciation or of products bearing ideas that are deemed objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or otherwise inconvenient by political, economic or cultural elites with the power to coerce its removal or marginalization.
- Al Jazeera is largely shut out of the U.S. news media market by the refusal of an oligopoly of cable television providers to carry it. Only in a handful of U.S. news media markets, in Ohio, Vermont and Washington, D.C., do cable carriers allow viewers access to Al Jazeera. As the old adage goes: the press is free...if you own one.
- Montreal Police arrested 20 year old Jennifer Pawluck for posting an Instagram image of graffiti depicting a local top police officer with a bullet in his forehead. Canadian Woman Arrested After Instagram Post Critical of Police RT. April 5, 2013.
- In mid-May 2012, the owners and operators of TED chose not to post online a brief March talk by Seattle venture capitalist Nick Hanauer argued that wealthy investors do not actually create jobs and that broadly distributed middle-class prosperity does create jobs. Heresy is usually met with censorship, with its from the state or hegemonic private interests. The Class That Dare Not Speak its Name: The Talk Deemed Too “Political” for TED. Chris Lehmann. June 19, 2012.
- Major American supermarket chains appear to have responded to Mississippi based priggs One Million Moms to ban Ben & Jerry's Schweddy balls ice cream.
Some conservatives argue for censorship using a version of the logical fallacy called the argument from adverse consequences. For example, on pages 108-109 in his anti-Darvinian evolution book, Darwinian Fairtales, David Stove writes the following:
- "It is impossible to deny that, in this respect, Darwinism has a closer affinity with national Socialism or Marxism than with onfucianism or Buddhism. Darwin told the world that a "struggle for life," a "struggle for existence," a "battle for life," is always going on among members of every species. ...[I] is perfectly obvious that accepting Darwin's theory of a universal struggle for life must tend to strength whatever tendencies people had beforehand to selfishness and dominaeering behavior towards their fellow humans."
Then on pages 109-110, he writes:
- "It is perfectly possible, of course, and indeed it constantly happens, that publishing a certain proposition is an incitement to crime, and yet that the proposition is a true one. If a large amount of money, or drugs, or firearms, is unprotected at a certain place, and I publish this truth, then I incite to crime: indeed, "the greater the truth, the greater the incitement." This is merely an instance of what every sensible person knows: that there are truths which morally ought not to be told to children, to the moribund, to people whose sanity hangs by a thread, or to the criminally inclined. So I do not mention Darwinism's being an incitement to crime as a reason for thinking that it is false. I mention it as a fact worth knowing, which is almost never stated, but is, very often indeed, concealed by people who know it perfectly well."
The authoritarian conclusion Stove would have readers draw is that Darwinism should not be taught because it increases tendencies toward egoistic behavior, with Nazism and Marxism being its large scale manifestations. What is odd is that he mentions Marxism, which denounces egoism, rather than libertarianism, which enshrines egoism.
Censorship is an old story in the United States. Established by President Woodrow Wilson with an executive order during the First World War, the Committee for Public Information operated a pro-war propaganda campaign that demonized Germany as intent on world domination, spread false war atrocity stories and engaged in "discreet censorship of alternative points of view." (Jenkins 2002: 15).
- Dominick Jenkins. 2002. The Final Frontier: America, Science, and Terror. London: Verso.
- David Stove. 2006. Darwinian Fairytales: Selfish Gene, Errors of Heredity, and Other Fables of Evolution. New York: Encounter Books.
- Carl Sagan. 1995. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. New York: Random House. (argument from adverse consequences logical fallacy on pages 212-213)