Freedom of speech is the right of any party to say or print whatever he or she wishes. They have the right to practice his or her chosen religion as they so choose and to meet in a peaceful manner.
Censorship is the removal of items deemed offensive in nature from public access or view. These things could include, things of a grotesque nature, violent actions, words deemed offensive by society, etc. Censorship takes such forms as removal of imagery from public view, omitting words from books, plays, music, etc. It might even go as far as removal of the work or claiming certain actions illegal.
Joel Feinberg’s “offense principle” is a step down from the “harm principle.” Heinberg believes that any action that is classified as offensive should only be punished if the action is offensive enough to a majority of people, or the action is outweighed by those that deem it offensive. His view on what is offensive is a basic majority rule at to what is offensive. The punishments for such actions should not be severe and the state should, rather than punish, try to prevent these actions from occurring through censorship.
What is considered offensive? Offensive can be defined in so many ways. Everyone under the Constitution has the right to think, say, and express themselves as they wish. If the majority of the population is offended by an action, that action can be considered offense. Expressing oneself through the art can be offensive when the art portrays violent, sexual, or horrifying imagery. Thus, certain ratings are placed on things to classify them for what is believed to be acceptable ages. People that are affected by an action or word are what classify the act, word, or image as offensive or acceptable in that society, the higher the rate of acceptance or offensive that more acceptable the outcome by the general populace.
Offensive can therefore not be strictly defined by a single phrase or statement. What is offensive to one is not offensive to another, and what is acceptable to one is not acceptable to another. It is without a doubt impossible to limit the human race to a simple black and white view on things that are offensive and acceptable as everything is a matter of personal perspective. One’s environment, home, social setting, cultural beliefs, and own thoughts create a rational assumption of what is acceptable or offensive to solely that individual.
The only way society has been able to attempt to control the offensiveness of actions or words is through censorship. A certain amount of censorship is needed to keep the general population in a mindset that best constitutes a goodwill atmosphere. Through censorship of actions, words, or imagery that is deemed offensive by the population as a whole, society can progress towards a more acceptable understanding of the differences between right and wrong. Limiting the exposure to the offensive material can create a better-structured individual that can through the reasoning of his or her own mind, come to a solution that will advance the human population in a forward motion towards a generalized well-being.