A short 4 paragraph essay. Originally 5 for a class but edited here and there (and exclusive of a paragraph) so I can post it here.
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others,” writes Orwell in his allegory Animal Farm (representational of Stalinist Russia, an infamous form of a totalitarian state). Ray Bradbury writes of a similar dystopia in his novel Fahrenheit 451. Both of these aforementioned societies include widespread censorship; it is known that a common beginning for oppressive regimes is the removal of the right of free-speech and freedom of the press. States often enact policies of censorship for the sake of a “just cause”, but it is only ever self-defeating. Censorship is one of the largest dangers there is to a government and its people. Empirically, it is the best of means to provide domestic destruction and turmoil. Adversely, assuring the liberties of all people serves as the best means for a prosperous and happy society. Only tyrannical despots may find the arguments to justify a spurious freedom and democracy, such as the ones people mainly live in thus far in the 21st century.
Governments commonly fail after pushing censorship to its people: Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya to name a few. Others take longer to fail, such as Communist Russia, the British Empire, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and even countries such as East Germany and others in Europe. These are all centrally planned, all oppressive, and all failures. By removing the rights held by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, the oppressive regimes effectively pave way for the use of incredible fiscal irresponsibility and crashing economies. Even in the Roman Empire’s history, as speech and other liberties become more exclusive of the people, its debt-to-GDP ratio accelerates to one hundred percent and sets the Empire into hyperinflation and then a crumbling end; there is a similar story for the Weimer Republic. Central banks, deficits, and overbearing regulation in both home and business life all stem from the end of the very essential liberty of speech. Books, films, and documents are where new ideas come from: new ideas for the proletariat and the people upset with the status quo. If there is no speech, there is no change.
It is also evident that as societies becomes freer, there is a more fulfilling life for its inhabitants. After the European communists fail and become more capitalistic, they witness economic booms (still susceptible to large market busts though by way of the European Union). The United States remains a guide for prosperous societies, because through most of its history it is fairly liberal and, therefore, very wealthy monetarily and sentimentally. China picks up some of these traits and races to becoming a superpower; more specifically, Hong Kong (a pseudo-sovereign-state, still limited by many collectivist policies) is listed as one of the most successful “countries” in the world in the same regards as the United States. Liberties that bring about change often bring more economic freedoms, keeping the individual paramount for any society.
Government controls the essential liberties of the people, and the only weapon against the government are those same liberties. Bradbury and Orwell demonstrate this in their works; global politics effectively does the same, both in the regard to its failures and successes. Orwell famously states that, “[i]f you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face —forever.” This is no fallacy. The state becomes vicious as rights deteriorate, and the first to go is freedom of speech and peaceable assembly. And one must remember that censorship from a “Democratic” government is no different than a dictator, elected or unelected. Force and coercion, which are state powers, are as dangerous as fire to play with.