Government Must Not Censor The Arts Essay

2561 Words 11 Pages
Cultural historians often ask how the preoccupations of an era shape a society. And the best insights are revealed, not through the clarity of connection, the union of expression or the dominant ideology, but through the chaos and rupture caused by the dissenting voice. It is often when an artist is most at odds with his or her world, most subject to critical debate, that we glimpse the dominant values of society, giving way to the cultural conscience of the time. "One of the artist's and humanist's greatest value to a society is in the mirror of self-examination which they raise so that society can become aware of its short-comings as well as its strengths," stated the 1965 Senate Report on the establishment of the National …show more content…
However, as American's we are guaranteed the freedom of expression as written in the Constitutional Bill of Rights, stating:

Congress shall make no law representing an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

It is with this First Amendment that allows us the right to the freedom of the speech, press and discourse, and through cases in the Supreme Court, the freedoms have extended to all aspects of life. Therefore, the censoring of any material, including in the arts and entertainment industry is not and should not happen in the land of the free.

To begin, one must define what censorship is and determine when something has been censored. There are several definitions going around, both by non-partisan group as well as special-interest groups. The term "censorship" has its entomological roots in Latin and the word censere, meaning "to give as one's opinion, to assess," and it was in Roman times when censors were magistrates who took the census count and served as assessors and inspectors of morals and conduct. Censorship then came to mean the act of assessing the morality of a work. In the 21st century, Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary explicitly defines it censor and censorship as:

Censor: One who