Censorship Quotes

Read the best selected censorship quotes by some famous people of their times. These censorship quotes will motivate and inspire you and you will be much wiser about the subject.


Censorship is never over for those who have experienced it. It is a brand on the imagination that affects the individual who has suffered it, forever. Nadine Gordimer
A free press can be good or bad, but, most certainly, without freedom a press will never be anything but bad. ~Albert Camus
This film is apparently meaningless, but if it has any meaning it is doubtless objectionable. British Board of Film
Woe to that nation whose literature is cut short by the intrusion of force. This is not merely interference with freedom of the press but the sealing up of a nation's heart, the excision of its memory. Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Assassination is the extreme form of censorship. ~George Bernard Shaw
We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavoring to stifle is a false opinion; and if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still. ~John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859
Art made tongue-tied by authority. William Shakespeare
When truth is no longer free, freedom is no longer real: the truths of the police are the truths of today. Jacques Prevert
If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. ~John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859
Censorship reflects society's lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime. ~Potter Stewart
The upshot was, my paintings must burn that English artists might finally learn. D. H. Lawrence
I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it. ~Mae West
If you don't have this freedom of the press, then all these little fellows are weaseling around and doing their monkey business and they never get caught. ~Harold R. Medina
We do not fear censorship for we have no wish to offend with improprieties or obscenities, but we do demand, as a right, the liberty to show the dark side of wrong, that we may illuminate the bright side of virtue -- the same liberty that is conceded to the art of the written word, that art to which we owe the Bible and the works of Shakespeare. David Wark Griffiths
Would you approve of your young sons, young daughters -- because girls can read as well as boys -- reading this book? Is it a book that you would have lying around in your own house? Is it a book that you would even wish your wife or your servants to read? Mervyn Griffith-Jones
Art is never chaste. It ought to be forbidden to ignorant innocents, never allowed into contact with those not sufficiently prepared. Yes, art is dangerous. Where it is chaste, it is not art. Pablo Picasso
Obscenity is not a quality inherent in a book or picture, but is solely and exclusively a contribution of the reading mind, and hence cannot be defined in terms of the qualities of a book or picture. ~Theodore Schroeder
Every human being has a right to hear what other wise human beings have spoken to him. It is one of the Rights of Men; a very cruel injustice if you deny it to a man! ~Thomas Carlyle
As good almost kill a man as kill a good book; who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, God's image; but he who destroys a good book, kills reason itself, kills the image of God, as it were in the eye. John Milton
I think you can leave the arts, superior or inferior, to the conscience of mankind. William Butler Yeats
Nature knows no indecencies; man invents them. ~Mark Twain, Notebook, 1935
The dirtiest book of all is the expurgated book. ~Walt Whitman
Did you ever hear anyone say, "That work had better be banned because I might read it and it might be very damaging to me?" ~Joseph Henry Jackson
They can't censor the gleam in my eye. Charles Laughton
What progress we are making. In the Middle Ages they would have burned me. Now they are content with burning my books. ~Sigmund Freud, 1933
The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error. ~John Stuart Mill
If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all. ~Noam Chomsky
We have a natural right to make use of our pens as of our tongue, at our peril, risk and hazard. ~Voltaire, Dictionnaire Philosophique, 1764
The condition every art requires is, not so much freedom from restriction, as freedom from adulteration and from the intrusion of foreign matter. Willa Cather
Whenever books are burned men also in the end are burned. Heinrich Heine
I am thankful for all the complaining I hear about our government because it means we have freedom of speech. ~Nancie J. Carmody
God forbid that any book should be banned. The practice is as indefensible as infanticide. ~Rebecca West
If we can't stamp out literature in the country, we can at least stop its being brought in from outside. Evelyn Waugh
The crime of book purging is that it involves a rejection of the word. For the word is never absolute truth, but only man's frail and human effort to approach the truth. To reject the word is to reject the human search. Max Lerner
If some books are deemed most baneful and their sale forbid, how, then, with deadlier facts, not dreams of doting men? Those whom books will hurt will not be proof against events. Events, not books, should be forbid. Herman Melville
Imagine a world in which we are all enlightened by objective truths rather than offended by them. ~Neil deGrasse Tyson, 2014
Right now I think censorship is necessary; the things they're doing and saying in films right now just shouldn't be allowed. There's no dignity anymore and I think that's very important. Mae West
Censorship offends me. ~Author Unknown
Every burned book or house enlightens the world; every suppressed or expunged word reverberates through the earth from side to side. Ralph Waldo Emerson
Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one. ~Abbott Joseph Liebling, "Do You Belong in Journalism?" New Yorker, 4 May 1960
Your own mind is a sacred enclosure into which nothing harmful can enter except by your permission. Arnold Bennett
The paper burns, but the words fly away. ~Akiba ben Joseph
I am of course confident that I will fulfill my tasks as a writer in all circumstances -- from my grave even more successfully and more irrefutably than in my lifetime. No one can bar the road to truth, and to advance its cause I am prepared to accept even death. But may it be that repeated lessons will finally teach us not to stop the writer's pen during his lifetime? At no time has this ennobled our history. Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Censors tend to do what only psychotics do: they confuse reality with illusion. David Cronenberg
To limit the press is to insult a nation; to prohibit reading of certain books is to declare the inhabitants to be either fools or slaves. ~Claude-Adrien Helvétius
One of the curious things about censorship is that no one seems to want it for himself. We want censorship to protect someone else; the young, the unstable, the suggestible, the stupid. I have never heard of anyone who wanted a film banned because otherwise he might see it and be harmed. Edgar Dale
No member of society has the right to teach any doctrine contrary to what society holds to be true. Samuel Johnson
We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people. ~John F. Kennedy
It seems not more reasonable to leave the right of printing unrestrained, because writers may be afterwards censured, than it would be to sleep with doors unbolted, because by our laws we can hang a thief. Samuel Johnson
Here we have bishops, priests, and deacons, a Censorship Board, vigilant librarians, confraternities and sodalities, Duce Maria, Legions of Mary, Knights of this Christian order and Knights of that one, all surrounding the sinner's free will in an embattled circle. Sean O'Casey
The test of democracy is freedom of criticism. ~David Ben-Gurion
To reject the word is to reject the human search. ~Max Lerner
The German censorship forbade or mutilated my every book, which was like sticking pins into my soul... ~Israel Zangwill
That was but a prelude; where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people as well. ~Heinrich Heine
Take away the right to say "fuck" and you take away the right to say "fuck the government." ~Lenny Bruce
You can cage the singer but not the song. Harry Belafonte
The fact is that censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates, in the end, the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion. ~Henry Steele Commager
The only valid censorship of ideas is the right of people not to listen. ~Tommy Smothers
Censorship ends in logical completeness when nobody is allowed to read any books except the books nobody reads. George Bernard Shaw
To choose a good book, look in an inquisitor’s prohibited list. ~John Aikin
Censorship feeds the dirty mind more than the four-letter word itself. ~Dick Cavett
Instead of asking -- ''How much damage will the work in question bring about?'' why not ask -- ''How much good? How much joy?'' Henry Miller
We live in oppressive times. We have, as a nation, become our own thought police; but instead of calling the process by which we limit our expression of dissent and wonder ''censorship,'' we call it ''concern for commercial viability.'' David Mamet
No government ought to be without censors; and where the press is free, no one ever will. Chance is the pseudonym of God when he did not want to sign. Anatole France
Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire
Books won't stay banned. They won't burn. Ideas won't go to jail. In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only weapon against bad ideas is better ideas. ~Alfred Whitney Griswold
Those expressions are omitted which can not with propriety be read aloud in the family. Thomas Bowdler
It is useless to close the gates against ideas; they overlap them. Klemens Von Metternich

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