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Reblogged:A Century Ago: Nonsenseorship

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The Democrats' disingenuous riff on Warren Harding's 1920 campaign slogan isn't the only thing about the political landscape that resembles the one of a century ago: We also live in a time when the censorious impulses of anti-freedom crusaders are on full display, and deserving of ridicule. This makes a 1922 anthology titled Nonsenseorship worth a thought.

A review of the book, which is now public domain, appears at Public Domain Review, and states in part:

Harding.jpg
Warren G. Harding (Image by Harris & Ewing, via Wikimedia Commons, fair use.)
You will find no sympathy here for censors. "Their viewpoint is already amply set forth", [publisher George] Putnam justly says: "Moreover, likely they would not be amusing." Fortunately for us, most of the writers here remain amusing even a century later. The sheer absurdity of what was considered outrageous in the early 1920s struck them then as being just as absurd as it seems to us today. "The sight of a woman making baby clothes is not generally considered a vicious spectacle in many communities", the journalist Heywood Broun writes with restrained frustration, "but it may not be shown on the screen in Pennsylvania by order of the state board of censors". Ample proof, to Broun's way of thinking, that a censor is a person who "believes he can hold back the mighty traffic of life with a tin whistle and a raised right hand".
The more things change, the more they stay the same, I can almost hear you say, around the time you chuckle.

But don't stop there. The scolds had already gotten Prohibition into the Constitution by then: It is worth considering that America would eventually overturn that enormous danger to liberty, as well as how. Hint: It took more than one man "with a pen and a phone."

It is notable that several new kinds of "prohibition" are being floated, and that, unlike then, the ticket that promises the fantasy -- in this election, anyway -- of a return to normal is firmly on the side of the censorious "cancel culture" scolds who want to continue to greatly curtail or even end cheap, reliable energy; entrepreneurialism; law enforcement; and personal freedom.

History tells us that they can be turned back and stopped, but that it will be hard, and it won't be the last time we will need to do it.

-- CAV

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