Letter: Keeping the flow

By Matthew Leffler

The recent onslaught of editorials and letters dealing with the offensive materials posted in the Daily Illini are epidemic.

It’s amazing that a public school’s newspaper is now facing censorship issues over portrayals of stereotypes. If someone out there believes the goal of the University or the paper is simply to not offend anyone, then let me set the record straight. It’s not. The idea of the University is a free flow of ideas – wrong or right. The argument of censorship boils down to one idea. “If something offends me or could offend someone, it shouldn’t be seen by anyone.”

I’m sure someone will try to argue that these stereotypes deal with religion and religion is a serious matter. Well, to me, religion isn’t a very serious thing. What’s more, when someone says that religion is serious, I tend to feel like my beliefs are under attack. When my beliefs are under attack I feel offended. Therefore, we should censor any religious materials because there are people like me who might be offended.

Hmm, seems censorship is a two-way street. If anyone believes for a minute there aren’t people like me, let me again set the record straight. There are a lot of us. If people find a way to censor these artists, people like me, hell, I will go to any extreme and as far out of my way to censor any religious idea that is portrayed positively.

But why stop with religion? Death might offend people, better not post anything about war. Hmm, fiscal irresponsibility makes me feel sad, let’s get rid of that news. What else? Let’s look at everyone and see what makes them offended. Book reviews? Gone. Gay and lesbian issues? Gone. In the end, all we have left is a blank white piece of paper.

White paper? Uh oh. Gone. We better get rid of the whole newspaper. Is this a slippery slope argument? You bet.

Would I do everything in my power to make it happen?

Absolutely.

In college, you’re asked to do one thing: Think. Why can’t people seem to do it when they’re outside of the classroom (that is, if they do at all)? If we censor things today, what will happen tomorrow? I’m not saying you can’t be offended; by all means, complain to your heart’s content. Just think of the implications. Do we want a free flow of ideas or would we rather have a few voices drown out The Daily Illini – the last voice that everyone can hear?