The purpose of this research is to provide a bibliographical reference point for developing materials relevant to the debate on censorship. The plan of the research will be to set forth a context for the development of an understanding of the issues involved in a library policy on censorship, and then to list some 20 sources on the subject that may facilitate the formulation or discussion of a policy statement that may deal with or preclude attempts to censor library materials in the name of religion, sexism, racism, and the like.
A case for censorship may be presented with reference to a host of impeccably classical resources. The most famous example is that of Plato's favoring censorship. Poets themselves--except those who would affirm the prevailing culture--would be banned in Plato's Republic. Indeed, Plato appears to offer direct support for censorship of all art.
Then the first thing will be to establish a censorship of writers of fiction, and let the censors receive any tale of fiction which is good, and reject the bad; and we will desire mothers and nurses to tell their children the authorised ones only (Plato Rep. Book II).
Lest modern-day censorship advocates eager to preserve, as it were, family values, derive comfort from this declaration, it might be noted that it is a commonplace of the censorship debate that Plato was a poet; that the Symposium is nothing if not poetic, lyrical; and that the kind of love celebrated in the Symposium is between man and man, not between man and woman, which was "on a lower plane altogether" (Loomis 42). The love described does not only not exclude homosexual love but insists on it, as evidenced by Alcibiades's description of his lust after Socrates. Such family values as these would find little place in the professional censor's repertoire of supporting arguments.
The conventional liberal argument against censorship in Plato's or any other republic has one fundamental basis in J...