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Book Banning - Essay Example

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In the modern Western civilization, if the freedom of expression is gaining grounds on the one hand, there have been ample incidents where some sections of the society and the state machinery tend to support censorship and banning of books at one pretext or other…
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Download file to see previous pages One could always come out with the excuses that a specific work of literature or a book could destabilize the society or may have a drastic affect on the impressionable minds (Nocera, 1982).. However, the very act of banning books violates the freedom of speech guaranteed in the constitution and amounts to the deplorable act of suppressing an idea. No free society can allow for the suppression of original and innovative ideas. Freedom and creativity is primarily about allowing for a free play of ideas in a nation and a society, and the act of censorship or the suppression of ideas amounts to intellectual and academic elitism or for that matter orthodoxy.
Books should never be banned, especially in the multicultural societies, which are always open to relative and multiple interpretations of ideas. In a free society, every idea and ideology has the right to find its place in the print. Just because a vast section of the society or a majority group does not particularly agree with an idea, this in no way allows for constraining or hampering the dissemination of an idea cherished and liked by a minority part of the society. Certainly, it does not mean that there exists nothing like bad or evil ideas. However, even if an idea is bad or evil in its ramifications, the censorship or banning of such an idea not only bolsters its hold over the society, but hits hard at the very fundamental ethos of the democratic societies like free speech, tolerance and the acceptance of off beat or innovative ideas and views. Ideas should be counteracted, and opposed by ideas and not by autocratic and coercive means like statutory provisions and governmental or state regulation (Nocera, 1982). Such ethos not only allow a society to be ever fresh, innovative and vibrant, but usher in a quintessentially tolerant and catholic intellectual atmosphere, where a free flow and interaction of multiple ideas leads to growth, development and a continual revival of the society. A controversial work of literature always has the potential to give way to debates and discussions in the social arena, which is the hallmark of all the free and democratic societies.
To some extent, the banning of the books is justified, especially in the contemporary scenarios marred by a widespread proliferation of hate ideologies and international terrorism. However, the kind of books that need to be banned are the ones that promote hate and intolerance against a particular section of the society, that teach people to operate lethal weapons and how to make bombs, that intend to perpetrate violence and abuse, that threaten or intimidate the masses or that discernibly and unambiguously intend to jeopardize social, religious and political harmony and tolerance. Yet, the very act of censorship and book banning cold be carried beyond the limits of reason and understanding by framing or dubbing the diverse or varied interpretations of ideas as being blasphemous, anti-social, pervert or unpatriotic. So its better that the national conscience and the state focus their power on obstructing and suppressing the obviously violent and intolerant groups and texts, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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