Civility does not justify censorship

Civility does not justify censorship

There are 6 comments on the Bennington Banner story from Jan 20, 2011, titled Civility does not justify censorship. In it, Bennington Banner reports that:

Matthew Lyon is an unlikely hero. By some contemporary accounts he was somewhat of a politicallyopportunistic boor.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Bennington Banner.


Rutland, VT

#1 Jan 21, 2011
Thank you Audrey, well said.
Along with our right of free speech goes our right to not subject ourselves to what we consider distasteful or offensive. If I don't care for the content of a television show, internet site or any printed material, I have the right to use the off button, to boycott the printed source. I too prefer to self censor.

Albany, NY

#2 Jan 21, 2011
I don't see how anyone can argue with this view other than those who are uncomfortable or insecure in their opinions. I believe that censorship is the last resort of powerful individuals who don't have the ability, the rhetoric, the facts or the intelligence to combat the presented idea.

One of the greatest strengths of our country is that we are, as yet, mostly left alone to voice and debate our opinions and ideas. Perhaps government attempts to regulate the internet stem from an inability to negate the opinions presented there - ideas which are quashed, ignored, ridiculed or venomously attacked in more orthodox and regulated media outlets - I include conservative radio talk shows as well as TV and newspapers in that supposition.

Rutland, VT

#3 Jan 21, 2011
Yes Shadeclan, and we all know from European history what happens when the prevailing governing agency decides to start censoring content available to the citizenry. I can't think of anyone of sound mind who would want that in this country. However, if we let them start taking away liberties one at a time that is exactly the direction we are headed in. I still shudder remembering photos of the bonfire of books in Germany.
Pat Eustis

Gansevoort, NY

#4 Jan 21, 2011
Nicely done, Audrey. I applaud your ability to address this situation in a non-volatile manner. Emotion is interjected into situations in a calculated way. Along with the advances in technology which give us near real-time access to almost any event from around the globe, there is definitely a great exploitation and use of this as a politically motivating tactic. Angry rhetoric is not foreign to either political “side”, it's just that when it's used by one side there is little if any fallout from it. If it's used by the other, there is nothing but. Is it fair? Does the squeaky wheel get the grease?

I think of the highly controversial situation of the “religious group” who protests homosexuality by condemning the actions of soldiers at their funerals. Of course, this is very disrespectful to the families of, and to the fallen themselves, but as a veteran I swore to defend the United States and uphold the constitution to include the 1st Amendment. Many times over the course of my service I would say, at least to myself,“I disagree with you completely but I will defend to the death your ability to say it.” I'm not sure of other servicemen or veterans, but I meant it. If they are within the confines of the law then I don't see how they can be stopped legally. Of course, if someone wants to go out and legally protest the protesters then I'm all for that as well. I would not, and still do not, want the voices of opposition stifled.

I can't say whether or not there is a specific political agenda driving these types of protests at funerals but it wouldn't surprise me. That goes for inciting the masses in circumstances like those in Arizona lately with the deliberate intent to illicit an emotional response. Some may call it ingenious and others despicable. I see it as propaganda and really only effective on people who are willing to be duped. Akin to those who readily believe that they did win $150M in a Nigerian sweepstakes that they never entered. The power of words is backed only by freedom to say them. I don't believe it was random that Freedom of Speech is our first amendment. For me, that's what it's all about, where it all begins. Keep up the great work Audrey!
Jim Sharkey

Bennington, VT

#5 Jan 21, 2011
Very civil article Audrey :)
John in Sunderland

Burlington, VT

#6 Jan 21, 2011
As always, spot on and informative. It's always refreshing to read civil dialogue without name calling and accusations. Bravo.

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