Friday, October 13, 2017

Quickies: Redefinitions

     “It depends what the meaning of ‘is’ is.” – You know perfectly well who.

     For human communication to be trustworthy, specific words must have specific meanings, especially when used in public. If you are unwilling to agree in toto with that statement, you might as well stop reading right now.

     Quite a lot of people are trying their best to redefine the words censor and censorship. I refuse to permit this to pass unchallenged. To censor has always had a specific meaning: to forbid the expression of certain facts or ideas by the threat of punishment.

     Publishers cannot censor. Neither can wholesalers or retailers. They can hide a book. They can discourage mention of it by their employees. They can obscure its availability. They can refuse to have anything to do with it. They can arrange for it to be denounced, whether in their “house organs” or by other writers. But they cannot punish him who seeks to offer it to the general public. That takes a government: an institution with the pre-indemnified use of coercive force against private persons or institutions and their property.

     The emotional power of the word censorship must not be diluted by allowing agenda-laden persons to redefine it to suit their purposes. John Peter Zenger would rise from his grave in horror at the sight. There are other words available that would accurately express the travails of those who can’t get published, or are having their sales impeded, by private institutions. We don’t yet live in a nation in which a publishing company can kill, confine, or expropriate you without breaking the law. God willing, we never will.

1 comment:

NOVA Shooter said...

I would have to disagree with regards to stores or publishing houses not being able to punish the author that writes something they think shouldn’t be written.

You know how many man-hours it takes to write a book (you know it much better than the majority here). If a publishing house or a store (or worse a big bookstore chain) decides that your works shouldn’t bee seen and then hides the fruits of your labor in order for it to not sell, then they are punishing you (holding back money that you should get). Therefore it seems to me that the behaviors you mentioned does indeed rise to the level of censorship.

Just my $.02