Censorship

Censorship can be short-term or long-term.

Long-term censorship does not depend only on direct prohibitions, but on keeping foreground corrupted enough that anyone of awareness will venture there but rarely. (This is a special case of the fact that anyone seriously advancing some agenda does not just issue an edict and then sit back and wait for it to be carried out. For example, the taxing authority does not just sit back and wait for you to pay your taxes at the end of the year, but takes out your estimated tax from each of your paychecks throughout the year. Another example is the military front: The government does not simply order soldiers to advance, but has special soldiers whose job it is to shoot those soldiers who do not advance.) Being instrumental in keeping foreground corrupted pays very well, and many highly talented people make a prosperous career out of it.

This insight is certainly not new. It is what Voltaire was getting at when he said, “We must tend our garden.”

Short-term censorship is another matter. Firstly, it is inevitable, as it is not possible to foreground everything immediately. The sheer volume forces a selection, or prioritization. (This selection, or prioritization, constitutes a kind of emergent order. The study of emergent order is called Ramsey Theory.) Secondly, it often happens that details embarrassing to someone connected with a news story are suppressed if publication of the details would serve no public utility, or if the publication of certain details would aid criminal activity, or encourage copy-cat crime.