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Censorship and Banned Books

Contains information about censorship, including Internet censorship.

Quotations

“[I]t’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

“If librarianship is the connecting of people to ideas—and I believe that is the truest definition of what we do—it is crucial to remember that we must keep and make available, not just good ideas and noble ideas, but bad ideas, silly ideas, and yes, even dangerous or wicked ideas.” - Graceanne A. Decandidio

"Don't join the book burners... Don't be afraid to go in your library and read every book." - Dwight D. Eisenhower

“If all printers were determined not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed." - Benjamin Franklin

"Books won't stay banned. They won't burn. Ideas won't go to jail. In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas. The source of better ideas is wisdom. The surest path to wisdom is a liberal education." --Alfred Whitney Griswold

"Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings." - Heinrich Heine

“Information is the currency of democracy.” –Thomas Jefferson

"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. " -- Max Lerner

"The burning of an author's books, imprisonment for an opinion's sake, has always been the tribute that an ignorant age pays to the genius of its time." - Joseph Lewis

"If large numbers of people believe in freedom of speech, there will be freedom of speech, even if the law forbids it. But if public opinion is sluggish, inconvenient minorities will be persecuted, even if laws exist to protect them." -George Orwell

"Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too." - Voltaire

“The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame." - Oscar Wilde

"There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them. " - Joseph Brodsky

“Books and ideas are the most effective weapons against intolerance and ignorance." -Lyndon Baines Johnson

"Censorship, like charity, should begin at home; but unlike charity, it should end there." - Clare Booth Luce

"We live in oppressive times. We have, as a nation, become our own thought police; but instead of calling the process by which we limit our expression of dissent and wonder "censorship," we call it ‘concern for commercial viability.’ " - David Mamet

“Censorship ends in logical completeness when nobody is allowed to read any books except the books that nobody reads." - George Bernard Shaw

"Censorship is telling a man he can't have a steak just because a baby can't chew it." - Mark Twain

“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.” — Benjamin Franklin

“Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as publick Liberty, without Freedom of Speech.” — Benjamin Franklin

“Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us." — Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas

First Amendment of the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution 

CONGRESS SHALL MAKE NO LAW RESPECTING AN ESTABLISHMENT OF RELIGION, OR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF; OR ABRIDGING THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH, OR OF THE PRESS; OR THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE PEACEABLY TO ASSEMBLE, AND TO PETITION THE GOVERNMENT FOR A REDRESS OF GRIEVANCES.

The Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution was ratified on December 15, 1791

“Censorship reflects a society’s lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime . . . .” — Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, dissenting Ginzberg v. United States, 383 U.S. 463 (1966)

“The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One’s right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.” — Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943)

“First Amendment freedoms are most in danger when the government seeks to control thought or to justify its laws for that impermissible end. The right to think is the beginning of freedom, and speech must be protected from the government because speech is the beginning of thought.”—Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy,  Ashcroft V. Free Speech Coalition

“Almost all human beings have an infinite capacity for taking things for granted.” — Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World

“Men feared witches and burnt women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears.” — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis (1856–1941), Whitney v. California, 274 U. S. 357 (1927)