Calls For Censorship Are Making a Comeback

Congress is never at a loss for a reason to be threatened by free expression.


Oxford Dictionaries defines "censorship" as "the suppression or prohibition of any books, films, news, etc. that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security." As I've noted recently here at Reason, calls for censorship, based on the supposed existential threat to the US' national security posed by ISIS, are on the rise. 

At The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald unleashes righteous anger on these would-be censors in a column titled, "Those Demanding Free Speech Limits to Fight ISIS Pose a Greater Threat to U.S. Than ISIS":

Guaranteeing free speech rights is one of the things that the U.S., relative to the rest of the world, still does well (not perfectly, but well). It is not an exaggeration to say that the people now plotting how to exploit terrorism fears in order to formally restrict rights of free expression themselves pose a clear and present danger to the U.S… 

And as far as "hate speech" goes: there are few things more "hateful" than wanting to imprison one's fellow citizens for expressing prohibited political ideas.

America's academic and political classes rarely miss an opportunity to cynically scaremonger the public as a means of agitating for more restrictions on free speech. This year it's ISIS and hate speech, but in previous years it's been Beavis and Butt-head, Marilyn Manson, Mortal Kombat, and yes, even Twisted Sister.

All of these campy pop culture relics from decades past were considered serious enough threats to the fabric of society to warrant congressional hearings. In the video at the top of this page, you can watch Reason TV's collection of six of the most unbelievably dumb of their kind (with so much Joe Lieberman!).