You may have heard that knowledge is power.
We also know that power corrupts.
So doesn’t it follow then that Knowledge corrupts?
And isn’t that the best argument for censorship?
On some level, that argument seems to be true. We worry about graphic sex and pornography corrupting the minds of our young. We worry that insensitive comments or derogatory names and remarks may warp impressionable minds. We want to protect our children and keep them innocent.
But what happens when we try to protect adults and keep them innocent?
We end up treating them as children.
Censorship is necessary to protect children, and for as long as the intent is to protect children, I’m all for it.
But when censors decide that adults are unable to think for themselves, it points to two possible situation. First, the censors have a patronising attitude and assumes that they know best. Second, the adults that need protecting have never really grown up.
Or put another way, if the censors are there to protect us, who protects the censors? If the things we should not see or hear might corrupt us, then why aren’t the censors corrupted by them?
In this Information Age, there is little sense in censorship. It is a futile effort to try to protect our children with censorship.
You see, the corollary to “knowledge is power” is “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” The only answer to a little knowledge is more knowledge. To give enough knowledge so that the dangerous little knowledge becomes power.
That said, if I caught my 8 year old nephew watching pornography, what knowledge do I share with him to make his little knowledge less dangerous?
I don’t know.