In a world in which acts of heinous violence, murder or crude and shocking behavior seem to be a normal occurrence, it may lead one to wonder what has put society onto this slip­pery slope. How did this type of behavior come to be so ac­ceptable and in some cases glorifiable? A careful study of society may lead to multi media as being the main cause in this changing of ideals. The modern world has become de­sensitized to the acts shown on television, movies, and video games or printed in newspapers and magazines. Censorship must be employed if morals and decency are to be preserved.

Censorship is a controversial word that has been with us since who knows when. Ancient dictators would burn books because they didn’t like them and force people to believe what they did. The question I ask myself, though, is if censorship in Libraries and schools is justified. My answer is yes, and that is what I will try to convince you. Censorship is the act which helps keep the world from being so corrupt.

One of the culprits of criminal behavior is T. V. violence. Violent programs may have a negative influence on those in­dividuals who are already violence-prone, or children who are living through vulnerable periods of their development. Adult violent offenders tend to have shown certain personal­ity features as children, “one being they tended to have viewed violence on television.” The amount of violence on televi­sion continues to grow. “A typical child watched on televi­sion one thousand murders and twenty five thousand acts of violence before finishing elementary school.” When displayed this often, how can people not become desensitized to crimi­nal acts? “By allowing this type of material to be openly ex­posed to the public we are endangering safety and society’s values.” Without control of what material is delivered to the masses, we cannot expect people to have a proper sense of right and wrong as they will constantly see the horrific things that happen in the false reality of the media and become immune to feelings of disgust toward such atrocious deeds in real life. Controlling what is viewed on television is the responsibility of the government in order to decrease violence in the real world.

Pro Censorship

With today’s such profound increase in violence, sex crimes, teen pregnancy, and other corrupt acts on today’s so­ciety one cannot help but to turn to television, movies, internet, and video games. These uses for entertainment have to be a cause of criminal behavior. Evidence that shows censorship may be positive is explained when we examine what drives delinquent activity. “To see this, we must take a look at what is inside the mind of a criminal. Eighty-one percent of crimi­nals rate pornography as their highest sexual interest. This means that a clear majority of criminals like pornography and find it highly interesting. Most other people probably rank other human beings as their highest sexual interest.’ Further evidence of the relation between pornography and crime is seen when an adult bookstore is closed; the crime rate in the surrounding areas falls significantly. With this we see that censorship is a helpful idea for America. People don’t realize that violence on television or video games does have effect on them. Take, for example, the video game “James Bond,” one of the highest selling games ever. This games put you in the eyes of an assailant and makes killing look like fun, or that it’s no big deal. Another example is sex on T.V. A boy that has been brought up with never watching sexual explicate material or being surrounded by people that talk about sexual activities, would be less likely to be as interested in the prac­tice of sex, as a kid that watches porno all the time, making him less likely to commit a sexual crime. “A lot of people in the world are against censorship just for the mere reason they say it’s unconstitutional;” they believe it is taking away from free of speech and choice. Censorship is not taking away the rights of citizens; it is protecting the rights of people who do not wish to be exposed to certain things. It is also a great tool in preserving morals and social order. Violence in things such as movies and pornography are obvious to encourage crimi­nal or immoral behavior. Violent lyrics in popular music also tend to foster such behavior. Music is for inspiration as well as entertainment, but like a teacher drilling vocabulary words or history facts into your head, so does music. My dad always told me he wished I would know my English like I know the words to this or that song. With today’s songs containing materials with vulgar language and talking about drugs and killing, you cannot help but believe that this does have ef­fects on people. In another example, Mr. Raymond Kuntz re­ferred to his son’s incident: “When his wife went to wake their son for school, they found him dead of a gunshot wound, still wearing his headphones with Marilyn Manson’s “Anti-Christ Superstar” CD still in the player. The boy’s favorite song was “The Reflecting God” However, the artists and producers defend the musical lyrics, and claim that these acts come purely from self-inspiration, not extrinsic influence such as their music. If this were true, then why would fifty nine percent of substance abusers name heavy metal as their favorite type of music?

Another issue that deserves addressing is the lack of cen­sorship in public facilities. Librarians have often complained about the lack of control they have over what the patrons view on the computers in the library. Websites featuring pictures of lewd sexual acts are often left to be displayed on the screens for library workers and other patrons to find who do not want to see this kind of material. Some patrons are often children, these being the people who should be protected most from this type of exposure. This type of atmosphere also leads to increased sexual harassment. People unwilling to view things such as pornography should not have to be subjected to this matter in order to do their job or use a public computer. Clearly, censorship in this type of situation would be of a great ben­efit to society.

When these points are taken into account we can see that censorship is a necessity in society today. It will allow our children a better chance to develop in a healthy way. With­out crime being pushed onto society every day, deviant thought might not be so deeply set into impressionable indi­viduals. In addition, people would not have to worry if they are going to view something that will disturb them when they want to use a public service such as a computer at a library. Censorship is not taking away the rights of citizens; it is pro­tecting the rights of people who do not wish to be exposed to certain things. It is also a great tool in preserving morals and social order. Violence in things such as movies and pornogra­phy obviously encourage criminal or immoral behavior. Re­stricting such materials to certain times and places may keep them being viewed as taboo, and not allow them to become the norms of society. When these grounds are considered, we can see that censorship is a beneficial tool and must be ap­plied in order to keep society at a safe, respectable, and just level.

Con Censorship

To look at the other side of this subject, the question to be asked is censorship in libraries and schools is justified. The answer is no, and that is what will be explained. Censor­ship is ridiculous, unfair and selfish, and censors are hypo­critical, intolerant, and arrogant. What I mean when I say cen­sorship is ridiculous is exactly that. In censorship opposing Viewpoints, “it states that the American Heritage Dictionary was banned from Anchorage, Alaska because of words con­sidered to be obscene, like bed, tail, ball, and nut.” At first we laugh at it, but we stop when we hear it has also been banned in Cedar City, Indiana, and Eldon, Missouri. “The percent of other dictionaries were banned in Texas.” These people that ban them call themselves People for Better Education. I thought dictionaries help you learn? An article in Scholastic Update entitled “The Case of the disappearing Books” it says “last year there were 338 cases of parents trying to remove books, among these was the classic Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.” A teacher was fired because she assigned a book with a lesbian as a main character. A parent, Ruth Somoro, said “this was being intolerant of religious beliefs, and schools aren’t supposed to promote religious beliefs.” The Supreme Court ruled books couldn’t be removed because they dislike the ideas in them. A student says, “They don’t let me bring God into school, so I don’t think they should be able to bring the devil into school.” This boy thought homosexuals de­scended directly from the devil.

Religious Right people seem to think that if you have a word in your vocabulary such as, academic freedom, analy­sis, career education, creative writing, human growth, iden­tity, parenting, racism, world view, and self-understanding, (there are others but this gets all of the human race), you are a secular humanist. This has now become known as anyone with other beliefs than the Religious Right; it is a code word for communism. These people are part of a conspiracy against America and dare also communists who shouldn’t have a say in anything. This is from an essay in Censorship opposing viewpoint, by Michael Scott Cane. The second aspect that censorship is unfair and selfish deals with our rights and the First Amendment. A quote from Nat Hentoff in “The Case of the disappearing books, “says,” The First Amendment doesn’t just give you the right to express ideas, there’s also a right to receive them.” We have the right to read any book we want and educate ourselves: the library plays a big part in this. Guess what, we also have the right to choice and we can choose not to read something if we don’t like the content, that doesn’t mean we have to force others not to read it. The Religious Right seems to be forcing their beliefs on us, and we also have freedom of Religion. The Religious Right is trying to take over the libraries locally. The libraries would then be “family friendly” with parental advisory sections because they feel it is Gounaud in an article from the education Digest, “The Religious Right Hits Libraries.” The Religious Right doesn’t agree with ALA’s Bill of Rights, which is totally anticensorship. I think these people must be protecting them­selves from the outside world, not watching news or reading newspapers to see what really happens and the horrors peo­ple have to go through every day, we learn about them some­time. I feel bad for their kids. The last point is ever so true. Censors are the most arrogant, hypocritical, intolerant people ever. In Censorship Opposing Viewpoints the essay by Michael Scott Cane also says, “Secular humanism causes falling test scores, declining values, lack of Christian morals, poor gram­mar, situational ethics, and other things they disapprove of.” “It is destroying the family, wrecking society, and wiping out the minds of children.” I don’t see this happening. They also said how much better everything was when in Public School they taught praying and the bible, back in the old day. I don’t think so. A problem is that there is no compromise; there are no neutral parties. In “The Religious Right Hits Libraries” Karen Jo Gounaud says “there is too much material that un­dermines traditional values” and traditional family.” The term traditional is problems. They cannot solve all problems by forcing beliefs on you. They think if you do not have their beliefs you will corrupt society? The Religious Right also says “the Liberal Left censors and undermines education, how hypocritical is that?” The Religious Right also says the Lib­eral Left censors and undermines education.” Who is to say whose moral beliefs are correct? With censorship you are say­ing with absolute certainty that your, and not being tolerant of others.


Many believe censorship keeps the U.S. from being cor­rupted, other say that it takes away from our rights as an American. Without censorship we are exposing our youth to criminal’s favorite viewing and hobbies. The youth will be­come more corrupted thus giving in to more criminal activi­ties. If you do not support censorship then you are supportive in the act of making our youth into criminals.

If we do not expose our youth to the evils in the world then how do they know right from wrong when they run into it? If we do not show them what effects drugs, sex, and vio­lence can have on them then they will not know what the harm in those things is. If we show a kid, on TV a person that got shot and the sadness it brings to that person’s family or other love ones then they will be more likely feel sadden them, or at least angered by the gunman.

Censorship has many pros and cons to it, many people disagree with it, and many support it. The debate on censor­ship will go on forever without ever being resolved. In this day of age censorship is more of a choice with programs on TV, Internet, and even Video Games that allow blocking ones son or daughter from viewing. Censorship is a controversial word that has been with us far backing as we can remember.