In the 1600s, the church killed anyone who translated the bible so that the laity could have access to it. They burned people at the stake who had variant religious ideas, calling them heretics. Since religion is all made up anyway, there is not much to recommend one lie over another. Censorship is pretty much the only way to stop the spread of other people’s religious ideas.

Today censorship is more subtle. Most of the time you don’t even know it is there. For example, circa 1976, I tried to buy radio and TV time to promote the idea that reducing nuclear stockpiles would reduce the risk of accidental nuclear war. Every station refused stating that it would disturb their viewers.

They are many ideas that rarely appear on the mainstream blogs such as: the state of Israel has behaved badly, the US government has withheld information on 9-11, today’s soldiers are motivated by sadism, not patriotism, or the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are illegal. If somebody posts them, they are just quietly removed. Unless you actually make such a post, you would never know such censorship was going on. It is hard to see what is not there. I wonder how aware the Chinese are of their government’s censorship.

If you host a controversial website such as mine, you have to put up with death threats (mostly from Americans) demanding you remove material they don’t agree with.

Most websites have a moderator whose job it is to keep out the spam, irrelevancy, obscenity and outright crazies. But they can’t help also unconsciously censoring out ideas they don’t agree with. Again, unless you post something that crosses swords with the moderator, you would never notice the censorship. RichardDawkins.net is unusual in that it also pre-moderates even what thread topics are permitted. In these days, your best defence is to interact with multiple sources.

There is yet another form of censorship. Circa 1971 I lead a gay lib group. Two of the members were Trotskyites (a flavour of Communist). Our group was solely concerned with gay lib. It has no opinions on economics. Yet our radical ideas on gay equality were constantly discounted because some of them came from Trotskyite mouths. Americans often discount any idea that came from outside the USA. It is though Americans imagine European ideas have cooties. It is the ad hominem fallacy writ large.

~ Roedy (1948-02-04 age:69)