Quotations about   censorship

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The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.

John Gilmore
John Gilmore (b. 1955) Computer scientist, developer, civil liberties activist
Quoted in Phillip Elmer-Dewitt, “First Nation in Cyberspace,” Time (6 Dec 1993)
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Sometimes misquoted with "a defect" instead of "damage". Gilmore was speaking of Usenet specifically, though he acknowledges that the principle can be observed on the (now broader) Internet.

More discussion about this quotation: The Net Interprets Censorship As Damage and Routes Around It – Quote Investigator.
Added on 22-Nov-21 | Last updated 22-Nov-21
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The strategic aim of these hierarchical constructions of history is to displace truth, and the invention of a glorious past includes the erasure of inconvenient realities.

Jason Stanley (b. 1969) American philosopher, epistemologist, academic
How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them, ch. 1 (2018)
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Added on 11-Nov-21 | Last updated 11-Nov-21
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The only way to forestall the work of criticism is through censorship, which has the same relation to criticism that lynching has to justice.

Northrop Frye (1912-1991) Canadian literary critic and literary theorist
Anatomy of Criticism, “Polemical Introduction” (1957)
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Added on 21-Oct-21 | Last updated 21-Oct-21
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Don’t use that word [censorship]! How anybody expects a man to stay in business with every two-bit wowser in the country claiming a veto over what we can say and can’t say and what we can show and what we can’t show — it’s enough to make you throw up. The whole principle is wrong; it’s like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can’t eat steak.

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) American writer
“The Man Who Sold the Moon” (1950)
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This may be the origin of the spurious Mark Twain quotation, "Censorship is telling a man he can't have a steak just because a baby can't chew it."
Added on 14-Oct-21 | Last updated 14-Oct-21
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However rationalized it may be, censorship is always an attack on human intelligence and imagination and is always a sign of weakness, not strength, in those who enforce it.

Northrop Frye (1912-1991) Canadian literary critic and literary theorist
“Introduction to Canadian Literature,” #14 (1988)
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Added on 2-Sep-21 | Last updated 2-Sep-21
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Any test that turns on what is offensive to the community’s standards is too loose, too capricious, too destructive of freedom of expression to be squared with the First Amendment. Under that test, juries can censor, suppress, and punish what they don’t like, provided the matter relates to “sexual impurity” or has a tendency “to excite lustful thoughts”. This is community censorship in one of its worst forms. It creates a regime where in the battle between the literati and the Philistines, the Philistines are certain to win.

William O. Douglas (1898-1980) US Supreme Court justice (1939-75)
Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476, 512, dissenting opinion (1957)
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Added on 29-Jul-21 | Last updated 29-Jul-21
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I am a lover of truth, a worshipper of freedom, a celebrant at the altar of language and purity and tolerance. That is my religion, and every day I am sorely, grossly, heinously and deeply offended, wounded, mortified and injured by a thousand different blasphemies against it. When the fundamental canons of truth, honesty, compassion and decency are hourly assaulted by fatuous bishops, pompous, illiberal and ignorant priests, politicians and prelates, sanctimonious censors, self-appointed moralists and busy-bodies, what recourse of ancient laws have I? None whatever. Nor would I ask for any. For unlike these blistering imbeciles my belief in my religion is strong and I know that lies will always fail and indecency and intolerance will always perish.

Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry (b. 1957) British actor, writer, comedian
“Trefusis Blasphemes,” Loose Ends radio program (1986)

Reprinted in Paperweight (1992).
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But it’s not just the books under fire now that worry me. It is the books that will never be written. The books that will never be read. And all due to the fear of censorship. As always, young readers will be the real losers.

Judy Blume (b. 1938) American writer
“Judy Blume Talks About Censorship”
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Added on 24-Jun-21 | Last updated 24-Jun-21
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Censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates, in the end, the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion, incapable, that is, of doing an honest or intelligent job.

Henry Steele Commager (1902-1998) American historian, writer, activist
Freedom, Loyalty and Dissent (1954)
Added on 17-Jun-21 | Last updated 17-Jun-21
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Censorship laws are blunt instruments, not sharp scalpels. Once enacted, they are easily misapplied to merely unpopular or only marginally dangerous speech.

Alan M. Dershowitz (b. 1938) American lawyer, jurist, political commentator
Finding, Framing, and Hanging Jefferson, ch. 15 (2008)
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Added on 27-May-21 | Last updated 27-May-21
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If today you can take a thing like evolution and make it a crime to teach it in the public school, tomorrow you can make it a crime to teach it in the private schools, and the next year you can make it a crime to teach it to the hustings or in the church. At the next session you may ban books and the newspapers. Soon you may set Catholic against Protestant and Protestant against Protestant, and try to foist your own religion upon the minds of men. If you can do one you can do the other. Ignorance and fanaticism is ever busy and needs feeding. Always it is feeding and gloating for more. Today it is the public school teachers, tomorrow the private. The next day the preachers and the lectures, the magazines, the books, the newspapers. After a while, your honor, it is the setting of man against man and creed against creed until with flying banners and beating drums we are marching backward to the glorious ages of the sixteenth century when bigots lighted fagots to burn the men who dared to bring any intelligence and enlightenment and culture to the human mind.

Clarence Darrow (1857-1938) American lawyer
Scopes Trial, Dayton, Tennessee (13 Jul 1925)
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Added on 20-May-21 | Last updated 20-May-21
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In this age of censorship I mourn the loss of books that will never be written, I mourn the voices that will be silenced — writers’ voices, teachers’ voices, students’ voices — and all because of fear.

Judy Blume (b. 1938) American writer
“Censorship: A Personal View,” Introduction, Places I Never Meant to Be: Original Stories by Censored Writers (1999) [ed. Blume]
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Added on 13-May-21 | Last updated 13-May-21
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There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.

Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996) Russian-American poet, essayist, Nobel laureate, US Poet Laureate [Iosif Aleksandrovič Brodskij]
Press conference, Library of Congress, Washington (17 May 1991)

On accepting the US Poet Laureateship.
Added on 11-May-21 | Last updated 11-May-21
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A censor is a man who has read about Joshua and forgotten about Canute. The censor believes that he can hold back the mighty traffic of life with a tin whistle and a raised right hand. For, after all, it is life with which he quarrels.

Heywood Broun (1888-1939) American journalist, author
“Nonsenseorship” (1922)
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Added on 29-Apr-21 | Last updated 29-Apr-21
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There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches. Every minority, be it Baptist/Unitarian, Irish/Italian/Octogenarian/Zen Buddhist, Zionist/Seventh-day Adventist, Women’s Lib/Republican, Mattachine/Four Square Gospel feels it has the will, the right, the duty to douse the kerosene, light the fuse. Every dimwit editor who sees himself as the source of all dreary blanc-mange plain-porridge unleavened literature licks his guillotine and eyes the neck of any author who dares to speak above a whisper or write above a nursery rhyme.

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) American writer, futurist, fabulist
Fahrenheit 451, “Coda” Afterword (1979 ed.)
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Bradbury wrote the coda to his dystopian 1953 novel about censorship when he found out that "offensive" phrases had been deleted from high school editions of the book.
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Censors don’t want children exposed to ideas different from their own. If every individual with an agenda had his/her way, the shelves in the school library would be close to empty.

Judy Blume (b. 1938) American writer
“Judy Blume Talks about Censorship,” judyblume.com
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Added on 8-Apr-21 | Last updated 19-Apr-21
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A Reverend Donald Wildmon in Mississippi heard something on the radio that he didn’t like. Well, Reverend, did anyone ever tell you there are two knobs on the radio? Two. Knobs. On the radio. Of course, I’m sure the reverend isn’t that comfortable with anything that has two knobs on it … But hey, Reverend, there are two knobs on the radio! One of them turns the radio off, and the other one changes the station! Imagine that, Reverend, you can actually change the station! It’s called freedom of choice, and it’s one of the principles this country was founded upon. Look it up in the library, Reverend, if you have any of them left when you’ve finished burning all the books.

George Carlin (1937-2008) American comedian
“What Am I Doing in New Jersey?” (1988)
Added on 1-Apr-21 | Last updated 1-Apr-21
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I believe that censorship grows out of fear, and because fear is contagious, some parents are easily swayed. Book banning satisfies their need to feel in control of their children’s lives. This fear is often disguised as moral outrage. They want to believe that if their children don’t read about it, their children won’t know about it. And if they don’t know about it, it won’t happen.

Judy Blume (b. 1938) American writer
“Judy Blume Talks about Censorship”
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Added on 25-Mar-21 | Last updated 25-Mar-21
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As to the evil which results from a censorship, it is impossible to measure it, because it is impossible to tell where it ends.

Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) English jurist and philosopher
“Principles of the Penal Code,” ch. 3, Theory of Legislation (1802)
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Added on 18-Mar-21 | Last updated 18-Mar-21
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Let children read whatever they want and then talk about it with them. If parents and kids can talk together, we won’t have as much censorship because we won’t have as much fear. The fear that children’s values will change because they are exposed to other values isn’t valid if there is communication between parent and child.

Judy Blume (b. 1938) American writer
“Blume Speaks Out on Speaking Out,” Interview with Barbara Karlin, Los Angeles Times (18 Oct 1981)
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Added on 11-Mar-21 | Last updated 11-Mar-21
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Truth is the first casualty in war.

Aeschylus (525-456 BC) Greek dramatist (Æschylus)
(Misattributed)

Variant: "Truth is the first casualty of war."

Not found, as such, in Aeschylus' works. The closest (Fragm. Incert, xi.) is his phrase "God is not averse to deceit in a just cause." Attribution to of the subject phrase to Aeschylus dates only back to 1965. The first recorded use of the phrase as such is from 1915, but even there it is offered as a quotation from an unnamed source.

More discussion of the history of this phrase can be found here and here.
Added on 9-Mar-21 | Last updated 9-Mar-21
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The punishing of wits enhances their authority, and a forbidden writing is thought to be a certain spark of truth that flies up in the face of them who seek to tread it out.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
(Attributed)
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Sometimes misquoted as "The punishment of wits ...."

Attributed to Bacon by John Milton, in Areopagitica (1644). It is actually Milton's translation from and paraphrase of a passage in Bacon, Advertisement touching the Controversies of the Church of England (1589):
Wherein I might advise that side out of a wise writer, who hath set it down that punitis ingeniis gliscit auctoritas. And indeed we see it ever falleth out, that the forbidden writing is always thought to be certain sparks of a truth that fly up into the faces of those who seek to choke it, and tread it out.

The Latin, in turn, is from the "wise writer" Tacitus, in his Annals, Book 4, sec. 36.

In short, the quotation is partially Milton's translation of Tacitus (as quoted by Bacon), partially Milton's paraphrase of Bacon.
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And what is an authentic lunatic? He is a man who has preferred to become what is socially understood as mad rather than forfeit a certain superior idea of human honor. In its asylums, society has managed to strangle all those it has wished to rid itself of or defend itself from, because they refused to make themselves accomplices to various flagrant dishonesties. For a lunatic is also a man whom society has not wished to listen to, and whom it is determined to prevent from uttering unbearable truths.

Antonin Artaud (1896-1948) French playwright, actor, director
Van Gogh, the Man Suicided by Society [Le Suicidé de la Société] (1947) [tr. Watson]
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Alternate translation:

And what is an authentic madman? It is a man who preferred to become mad, in the socially accepted sense of the word, rather than forfeit a certain superior idea of human honor. So society has strangled in its asylums all those it wanted to get rid of or protect itself from, because they refused to become its accomplices in certain great nastinesses. For a madman is also a man whom society did not want to hear and whom it wanted to prevent from uttering certain intolerable truths.
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No one has ever been known to decline to serve on a committee to investigate radicals on the ground that so much exposure to their doctrines would weaken his patriotism, nor on a vice commission on the ground that it would impair his morals. Anything may happen inside the censor, but what counts is that in his outward appearances after his ordeal by temptation he is more than ever a paragon of the conforming virtues. Perhaps his appetites are satisfied by an inverted indulgence, but to a clear-sighted conservative that does not really matter. The conservative is not interested in innocent thoughts. He is interested in loyal behavior.

Walter Lippmann (1889-1974) American journalist and author
Men of Destiny, ch. 8 “The Nature of the Battle Over Censorship,” sec. 2 (1927)
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Added on 2-Dec-20 | Last updated 2-Dec-20
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From the totalitarian point of view history is something to be created rather than learned. A totalitarian state is in effect a theocracy, and its ruling caste, in order to keep its position, has to be thought of as infallible. But since, in practice, no one is infallible, it is frequently necessary to rearrange past events in order to show that this or that mistake was not made, or that this or that imaginary triumph actually happened. Then again, every major change in policy demands a corresponding change of doctrine and a revelation of prominent historical figures. This kind of thing happens everywhere, but is clearly likelier to lead to outright falsification in societies where only one opinion is permissible at any given moment. Totalitarianism demands, in fact, the continuous alteration of the past, and in the long run probably demands a disbelief in the very existence of objective truth.

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
“The Prevention of Literature,” Polemic (Jan 1946)
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Senator Smoot is an institute
Not to be bribed with pelf;
He guards our homes from erotic tomes
By reading them all himself.

Ogden Nash (1902-1971) American poet
“Invocation,” New Yorker (Jan 1930)
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Nash's poem was about US Senator Reed Smoot (R-Utah) (1862-1941), who had announced an effort in his tariff bill to ban the importation of pornography, leading to headlines of "Smoot Smites Smut." The bill went on to become the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, passed in June 1930.
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But the point is that this is a political age. A writer inevitably writes — and less directly this applies to all the arts — about contemporary events, and his impulse is to tell what he believes to be the truth. But no government, no big organization, will pay for the truth. To take a crude example: can you imagine the British Government commissioning E. M. Forster to write A Passage to India? He could only write it because he was not dependent on State aid.

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
“As I Please” column, Tribune (13 Oct 1944)
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It is not the idea as such which the censor attacks, whether it be heresy or radicalism or obscenity. He attacks the circulation of the idea among the classes which in his judgment are not to be trusted with the idea.

Walter Lippmann (1889-1974) American journalist and author
Men of Destiny, ch. 8 “The Nature of the Battle Over Censorship,” sec. 2 (1927)
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We are willing enough to praise freedom when she is safely tucked away in the past and cannot be a nuisance. In the present, amidst dangers whose outcome we cannot foresee, we get nervous about her, and admit censorship.

E. M. Forster (1879-1970) English novelist, essayist, critic, librettist [Edward Morgan Forster]
“The Tercentenary of the Areopagitica,” Two Cheers for Democracy (1951)
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There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written. That is all.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
The Picture of Dorian Gray, Preface (1891)
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Many of the ugly pages of American history have been obscured and forgotten. A society is always eager to cover misdeeds with a cloak of forgetfulness, but no society can fully repress an ugly past when the ravages persist into the present. America owes a debt of justice which it has only begun to pay. If it loses the will to finish or slackens in its determination, history will recall its crimes and the country that would be great will lack the most indispensable element of greatness — justice.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? (1967)
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Whenever government assumes to deliver us from the trouble of thinking for ourselves, the only consequences it produces are those of torpor and imbecility.

William Godwin (1756-1836) English journalist, political philosopher, novelist
Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, Vol. 2, bk. 6, ch. 1 (1793)
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Strict censure may this harmless sport endure:
My page is wanton, but my life is pure.

[Innocuos censura potest permittere lusus:
Lasciva est nobis pagina, vita proba.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 1, epigram 4, ll. 7-8 [tr. Duff (1929)]
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An appeal to Emperor Domitian, who became censor-for-life in AD 85. Original Latin. Alternate translations:

The censorship may tolerate innocent jokes:
my page indulges in freedoms, but my life is pure.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1897)]

A censor can permit harmless trifling:
wanton is my page; my life is good.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

From censure may my harmless mirth be free,
My page is wanton but my life is clean.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]

A censor can relax, wink just one eye:
My poetry is filthy -- but not I.
[tr. Wills (2007)]

As Censor, you can exercise discretion: my jokes hurt no one; let them be. My page may be dirty, but my life is clean.
[tr. Nisbet (2015)]

Let not these harmless sports your censure taste:
My lines are wanton, but my life is chaste.
[tr. 17th C Manuscript]

These games are harmless, censor: let them pass.
My poems play around; but not my life.
[tr. Elliot]

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The Government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government.

Hugo Black (1886-1971) American politician and jurist, US Supreme Court Justice (1937-71)
New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971) [Majority Opinion]
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One major and fundamental guarantee of protracted freedom is the unfettered right of the man to write as he sees fit, as his conscience indicates, as his mood dictates, as his cause cries out for. The moment you begin to censor the writer — and history bears this out in the ugliest of fashions — so begins a process of decay in the body politic that ultimately leads to disaster. What begins with a blue pencil — for whatever reason — very often ends in a concentration camp.

It has forever been thus: So long as men write what they think, then all of the other freedoms — all of them — may remain intact. And it is then that writing becomes a weapon of truth, an article of faith, an act of courage.

Rod Serling (1924-1975) American screenwriter, playwright, television producer, narrator
Speech (1975)
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Music is no different from opium. Music affects the human mind in a way that makes people think of nothing but music and sensual matters. […] Music is a treason to the country, a treason to our youth, and we should cut out all this music and replace it with something instructive.

Ruhollah Khomeini (1902-1989) Iranian Shia Muslim religious leader, revolutionary, politician
Ramadan Speech (23 Jul 1979)
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Our loyalty is due entirely to the United States. It is due to the President only and exactly to the degree in which he efficiently serves the United States. It is our duty to support him when he serves the United States well. It is our duty to oppose him when he serves it badly. This is true about Mr. Wilson now and it has been true about all our Presidents in the past. It is our duty at all times to tell the truth about the President and about every one else, save in the cases where to tell the truth at the moment would benefit the public enemy.

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) US President (1901-1909)
Kansas City Star (7 May 1918)

Reprinted in "Lincoln and Free Speech," The Great Adventure (1926).
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You know that prudery is only the other side of prurience. The words are even on the same page in the dictionary.

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) Russian-American author, polymath, biochemist
The Gods Themselves, Sec. 3, ch. 12 (1972)
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If the newspapers of a country are filled with good news, the jails will be filled with good people.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1927-2003) American politician, diplomat, sociologist
“Moynihan’s Maxim”

Also referred to as "Moynihan's Law." Quoted in The Illustrated Weekly of India (16-22 Oct 1988).
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Thus, if the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech and press is to mean anything in this field, it must allow protests even against the moral code that the standard of the day sets for the community. In other words, literature should not be suppressed merely because it offends the moral code of the censor.

William O. Douglas (1898-1980) US Supreme Court justice (1939-75)
Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476, 513, dissenting opinion (1957)
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Everybody favors free speech in the slack moments when no axes are being ground.

Heywood Broun (1888-1939) American journalist, author
New York World (23 Oct 1926)
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Books cannot be killed by fire. People die, but books never die. No man and no force can abolish memory. No man and no force can put thought in a concentration camp forever. No man and no force can take from the world the ideas that embody man’s eternal fight against tyranny of every kind. In this war, we know, books are weapons. And it is a part of your dedication always to make them weapons for man’s freedom.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945) US President (1933-1945)
“Message to American Booksellers Association” (23 Apr 1942)
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It was a great relief to be in a country where salacious sex literature cannot be sold; where putrid motion pictures and gangster films cannot be shown. The new Germany has burned great masses of corrupting books and magazines along with its bonfires of Jewish and communistic libraries.

(Other Authors and Sources)
John W. Bradbury, National Baptist Watchman-Examiner (13 Sep 1934)

On being a delegate to the Baptist World Alliance Congress in Berlin.
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What havoc has been made of Books through every Century of the Christian Æra? Where are fifty Gospells condemned as spurious by the Bull of Pope Gelasius. Where are the forty Waggon Loads of Hebrew Manuscripts burned in France by order of another Pope, because suspected of Heresy? Remember the Index expurgatorius, the Inquisitions, the Stake, the Axe the halter and the Guillotine; and Oh! horrible the Rack. This is as bad if not worse than a slow fire.

John Adams (1735-1826) American lawyer, Founding Father, statesman, US President (1797-1801)
Letter to John Taylor (14 Dec 1814)
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You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) American writer, futurist, fabulist
“Bradbury Still Believes in Heat of ‘Fahrenheit 451,'” interview by Misha Berson, The Seattle Times (12 Mar 1993)
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Bradbury is often quoted as saying, "There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them." I can't find an actual citation for that, though this is a very similar sentiment. That actual quotation is also attributed to Joseph Brodsky.
Added on 21-Jan-16 | Last updated 11-May-21
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Whatever may be the immediate gains and losses, the dangers to our safety arising from political suppression are always greater than the dangers to that safety arising from political freedom. Suppression is always foolish. Freedom is always wise. That is the faith, the experimental faith, by which we Americans have undertaken to live. If we, the citizens of today, cannot shake ourselves free from the hysteria which blinds us to that faith, there is little hope for peace and security, either at home or abroad.

Alexander Meiklejohn (1872-1964) Philosopher, university administrator, civil libertarian
Testimony before the Senate Sub-Committee on Constitutional Rights (1955)
Added on 28-Aug-15 | Last updated 28-Aug-15
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Fortune has dealt with me rather too well. I have known little struggle, not much poverty, many generosities. Now and then I have, for my books or myself, been somewhat warmly denounced — there was one good pastor in California who upon reading my Elmer Gantry desired to lead a mob and lynch me, while another holy man in the state of Maine wondered if there was no respectable and righteous way of putting me in jail. And, much harder to endure than any raging condemnation, a certain number of old acquaintances among journalists, what in the galloping American slang we call the “I Knew Him When Club,” have scribbled that since they know me personally, therefore I must be a rather low sort of fellow and certainly no writer. But if I have now and then received such cheering brickbats, still I, who have heaved a good many bricks myself, would be fatuous not to expect a fair number in return.

Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951) American novelist, playwright
Nobel Lecture (12 Dec 1930)
Added on 18-Aug-15 | Last updated 18-Aug-15
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Censorship, in my opinion, is a stupid and shallow way of approaching the solution to any problem. Though sometimes necessary, as witness a professional and technical secret that may have a bearing upon the welfare and very safety of this country, we should be very careful in the way we apply it, because in censorship always lurks the very great danger of working to the disadvantage of the American nation.

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
Speech, Associated Press luncheon, New York (24 Apr 1950)
Added on 2-Jul-15 | Last updated 2-Jul-15
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The crime of book purging is that it involves a rejection of the word. For the word is never absolute truth, but only man’s frail and human effort to approach the truth. To reject the word is to reject the human search.

Maxwell "Max" Lerner (1902-1992) American journalist, columnist, educator
“The Vigilantes and the Chain of Fear,” New York Post (24 Jun 1953)

Regarding the McCarthy era book burnings. Reprinted in The Unfinished Country, pt. 4 (1959).
Added on 10-Mar-15 | Last updated 10-Mar-15
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I loved coming to the US in 1992, mostly because I loved the idea that freedom of speech was paramount. I still do. With all its faults, the US has Freedom of Speech. The First Amendment states that you can’t be arrested for saying things the government doesn’t like. You can say what you like, write what you like, and know that the remedy to someone saying or writing or showing something that offends you is not to read it, or to speak out against it. I loved that I could read and make my own mind up about something.

Neil Gaiman (b. 1960) British fabulist
Neil Gaiman’s Journal, “Why defend freedom of icky speech?” (1 Dec 2008)
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Added on 22-Jan-15 | Last updated 22-Jan-15
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The Law is a blunt instrument. It’s not a scalpel. It’s a club. If there is something you consider indefensible, and there is something you consider defensible, and the same laws can take them both out, you are going to find yourself defending the indefensible.

Neil Gaiman (b. 1960) British fabulist
Neil Gaiman’s Journal, “Why defend freedom of icky speech?” (1 Dec 2008)
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See Dershowitz.
Added on 19-Jan-15 | Last updated 27-May-21
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How important are free speech and satire? Important enough that people will murder others to silence the kind of speech they don’t like.

Neil Gaiman (b. 1960) British fabulist
Twitter (7 Jan 2014)
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Regarding the mass murder at the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris.
Added on 13-Jan-15 | Last updated 13-Jan-15
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I think the most un-American thing you can say is, “You can’t say that.”

Garrison Keillor (b. 1942) American entertainer, author
(Attributed)
Added on 18-Dec-14 | Last updated 18-Dec-14
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The very word “secrecy” is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control. And no official of my Administration, whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know.

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) US President (1961-63)
Speech, American Newspaper Publishers Association (27 Apr 1961)
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Added on 18-Aug-14 | Last updated 18-Aug-14
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I may be arrested, I may be tried and thrown into jail, but I never will be silent.

Emma Goldman (1869-1940) Lithuanian-American anarchist, activist
“Address to the Jury,” Mother Earth (Jul 1917)
Added on 17-Jul-14 | Last updated 17-Jul-14
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