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Quotes of the Day for 20 April 2001 – Censorship

Today is the day that the Children's Internet Protection Act goes into effect in the US, requiring schools and libraries to install "filtering" software to censor the Internet - an appalling assault on freedom of inquiry affecting institutions that receive any federal funds. I grew up certain that such legislation was possible only in countries such as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union, now it is practiced in China (where my Twisted History mailings have sometimes been banned for their content), Singapore (where chewing gum is illegal), and sadly, as of today, the United States.

I'm not sure what to do about it, but I hope it upsets you as much as it does me. A great place to start learning about the follies of Internet censoring software is the Digital Freedom Network's "Foil the Filters" contest which includes some hysterical examples of how stupid the whole concept is. (The website of US Representative Dick Armey, a supporter of the program, cannot be viewed in libraries where the software is installed because of his first name!) Check out the most amusing examples at

Van's signature

The quotes:

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

Literature should not be surpressed merely because it affects the moral code of the censor.
     - William O. Douglas

Once you permit those who are convinced of their own superior rightness to censor and silence and suppress those who hold contrary opinions, just at that moment the citadel has been surrendered.
     - Archibald MacLeish

As it is an ancient truth that freedom cannot be legislated into existence, so it is no less obvious that freedom cannot be censored into existence.
     - Dwight David Eisenhower

They can't censor the gleam in my eye.
     - Charles Laughton

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