An American Paradox: Censorship in a Nation of Free Speech

An American Paradox: Censorship in a Nation of Free Speech

An American Paradox: Censorship in a Nation of Free Speech

An American Paradox: Censorship in a Nation of Free Speech

Synopsis

Although America is probably the most free and tolerant nation on earth, censorship continues to flourish and increase in the arts, music, television, and advertising, and even in universities. Patrick Garry defines censorship in America across the years, analyzes its root causes, examines traditional battles and new ones, and describes serious new forms of censorship. His beautifully written book is a thought-provoking one about our national psyche and restrictions on our freedom to speak.

Excerpt

Understanding American society has been a preoccupation since the British government tried to figure out how to govern and control its independent-minded colonies. This task has been complicated by the constantly changing nature of American society. In less than a century and a half, it has evolved from a nation where the Irish were the most recent and the most unwanted immigrants, where women could not vote, and where the Mason-Dixon line divided two radically different cultures within a single nation. Moreover, the country will continue to change in the future: By the year 2001, whites will be in the minority in America.

The task of understanding America has been made ever more difficult by this country's democratic character. Democracies are more fluid and changing than are other more hierarchical and homogeneous societies. Yet because of this democratic nature, the need to understand the national character and identity takes on greater urgency. Indeed, the self-governance of a nation requires an understanding of that nation. And like any kind of knowledge, human and social understanding comes through communication.

Although the United States is unquestionably a nation of speakers and of incessant communication, it is also a society in which censorship has often sought to regulate that speech. Such censorship has frequently occurred during times in which the nation has experienced the . . .

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