Censorship is the plague literature and free thought

Egad! The creative world is under attack from the nefarious forces of uptight busybodies once again! Artists, writers and vulgar people everywhere feel the burden of the terrible shackles of someone else's interpretation of "decency."

"But Adam," you might say, "what are you talking about? This is America, land of the free! You can say whatever you want, it's guaranteed in the constitution - heck, it's the First Amendment!" Yes, it is the First Amendment; it's one of the basic inalienable rights that all Americans have. Though that seems nice and pretty if taken at face value, this right joins Britney Spears circa 1999 as concepts that have been warped by time to a point of unrecognizable obscurity.

One need only open a history book to see that censorship has time and time again reared its ugly head in our country. John Adams enacted the Alien and Sedition Act in 1798 to silence critics of the government, and anti-war protests during World War I led to the court precedent of "clear and present danger," which states that during times of war, the First Amendment can be ignored. And let's face it: lately, when aren't we at war? Stemming from this idea is the controversial U.S.A. Patriot. Act, which was designed as a necessary guard against our country's enemies but is considered by some to be a law straight from an Orwellian nightmare.

Right and wrong is not exactly clear if you listen to fanatics on either side, which is why I look to our Founding Fathers for matters like these. Ben Franklin said it best: "Those who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Of course, there are manners of ensuring the safety of citizens that are less threatening than Big Brother striking down independent thought from his orbital sky laser. The New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, based in lower Manhattan, was once the largest book burning organization in the country; the standards it set were so strict that the book Ulysses by James Joyce, widely considered to be one of the most important English language novels of all time, was kept off the shelves for 20 years because of a small section on masturbation.

Anyone who's even heard of lower Manhattan knows that time has made the area just a tad more liberal than it used to be, but that just goes to show that you never know where censorship and ignorance will come merrily strolling in. Even today, we still have the Federal Communications Commission making sure the general public never encounters the horrid evils of swear words and human anatomy.

There is of course the painfully obvious argument: "Adam, censors are good, they keep inappropriate material out of the hands of children." Well, call me an optimist, but I like to think that the majority of people are able to make rational decisions by themselves. People don't need committees to decide for them what's appropriate for their kids; they should know naturally if their child should be reading Playboy or Dr. Seuss. So to the unnecessary evils that have been plaguing literature and art for centuries, I will simply say: "-content omitted-"