In the mid-20th Century, the “Banned in Boston” label became a valuable promotional tool for publishers, studios, recording labels, and agents of books, movies, music, and comedians. I admire and respect how the label of censorship flipped to the label of endorsement.
The Puritans of Boston’s Watch and Ward Society had engaged and enforced censorship in Boston for decades. They silenced many voices to protect the “ignorant-innocent.” The Inquisition, King George, and Boston Puritans claimed to protect huddled masses from Galileo, colonists from Thomas Paine, and audiences from Lenny Bruce. In truth, they were protecting themselves from being exposed.
Today, government, in concert with cronies in media and commerce, engages censorship. Again justification protects the “ignorant-innocent” from words, images, and misinformation. One form of censorship lies in the weapon of online cancellation.
Unlike Boston’s Watch and Ward Society, online cancellation extends far-beyond city limits.
Many online voices live in economic fear of being canceled, much as Galileo and Thomas Paine accused of misinformation. But a rising tide of new voices wears and exploits the cancellation label as the “Banned in Boston” once was.
I am aware that many fear this potentially chaotic wave of freedom.
They should relax unless they fear exposure.
They should trust in free speech. And trust our fellow Americans.
Our freedom has worked and protected us since 1787.
Prepare to welcome the flipping of another label of censorship.