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  • To reject censorship after studying the risks involved is very well. To reject it ex cathedra, in the tones of Calvin pronouncing a dogma, eyes and mind closed to the possible consequences, the even marginally possible, is to make things too comfortable for oneself.

  • Is it really beyond our wits to devise some form of censorship which would trap only the crudely sadistic?

  • A dreary censorship, and self-censorship, has been imposed on books by the centralization of the book industry.

  • If we ban whatever offends any group in our diverse society, we will soon have no art, no culture, no humor, no satire. Satire is by its nature offensive. So is much art and political discourse. The value of these expressions far outweighs their risk.

    • Erica Jong,
    • "Deliberate Lewdness and the Creative Imagination: Should We Censor Pornography?" What Do Women Want ()
  • A concern with 'public morality' is — if not the last refuge of a scoundrel — the first foray of the fascist.

    • Erica Jong,
    • "Deliberate Lewdness and the Creative Imagination: Should We Censor Pornography?" What Do Women Want? ()
  • ... I am against censorship. I prefer the chaos of uncontrollable communication of all sorts to selective banning of certain materials. I do not think human beings can be trusted to be above politics and to promote the common good. One group's common good is another group's evil.

    • Erica Jong,
    • "Deliberate Lewdness and the Creative Imagination: Should We Censor Pornography?" What Do Women Want? ()
  • 'Censorship' is a term pertaining only to governmental action. No private action is censorship. No private individual or agency can silence a man or suppress a publication; only the government can do so. The freedom of speech of private individuals includes the right not to agree, not to listen and not to finance one's own antagonists.

  • Self-censorship, the most important and most successful form of censorship, is rampant. Debate is identified with dissent, which is in turn identified with disloyalty. There is a widespread feeling that, in this new, open-ended emergency, we may not be able to 'afford' our traditional freedoms.

  • God forbid that any book should be banned. The practice is as indefensible as infanticide.

    • Rebecca West,
    • "The Tosh Horse," The Strange Necessity ()
  • Censorship made me.

    • Mae West,
    • in Matthew McCann Fenton, "Goodness Had Nothing to Do With It: The Life of Mae West," in Biography ()
  • ... perhaps these men in the House Caucus Room [Committee on Un-American Activities] are determined to spread silence: to frighten those voices which will shout no, and ask questions, defend the few, attack cruelty and proclaim the rights and dignity of man. ... America is going to look very strange to Americans and they will not be at home here, for the air will slowly become unbreathable to all forms of life except sheep.

  • Those on the search for a good shock have been trying to undo the greatest etiquette advance of our age, the condemnation of bigotry. When the nostalgic moan about the decline of etiquette, Miss Manners turns contrary and points out that it is only recently that frank expressions of prejudice have become socially unacceptable. That lascivious and bigoted statements no longer pass uncensured is enormous progress. To be sure, there are people who cannot spell and who therefore equate censureship with censorship. They do not understand that an etiquette rule is not the same as a law and that disapproval and the desire to keep rude people at a distance are not the same as throwing them in jail.

  • The case against censoring anything is absolute: ... nothing that could be censored can be so bad in its effects, in the long run, as censorship itself.

  • It would be nice to think that a censor could allow a genuine work of artistic seriousness and ban a titillating piece of sadism, but it would take a miracle to make such a distinction stick.

  • Some have said that the strongest drive is not love or hate, but the drive to censor another's opinions.

  • The question isn't whether or not to censor artists who espouse misogynistic views. The question is whether or not we support them as listeners and consumers.

  • Feminists who want to censor what they regard as harmful pornography have essentially the same motivation as other would-be censors: They want to use the power of the state to accomplish what they have been unable to achieve in the marketplace of ideas and images. The impulse to censor places no faith in the possibilities of democratic persuasion.

    • Susan Jacoby,
    • "A First Amendment Junkie," in Evelyn Ashton-Jones and Gary A. Olson, eds., The Gender Reader ()
  • Censorship, like charity, should begin at home; but unlike charity, it should end there.

    • Clare Boothe Luce,
    • in Evelyn L. Beilenson and Ann Tenenbaum, eds., Wit & Wisdom of Famous American Women ()
  • ... censorship is the height of vanity.

  • Censorship ... went way beyond my concept of military censorship; in my opinion, it added up to psychological and political censorship.

  • Censorship may have to do with literature; but literature has nothing whatever to do with censorship.

  • Censorship is never over for those who have experienced it. It is a brand on the imagination that affects the individual who has suffered it, forever.

  • One thing is sure — none of the arts flourishes on censorship and repression. And by this time it should be evident that the American public is capable of doing its own censoring.