Protecting your children from exposure to materials you believe might undermine the values you're trying to teach is not censorship. It's parenting.
Many of my writer friends have raged at WalMart for its refusal to carry books with "steamy" covers it believes will offend a large portion of its customers. But nobody's making my friends shop at WalMart, and nobody's stopping them from purchasing those "banned" books at Barnes and Noble or another store.
Refusing to carry certain products in order to keep the bulk of your customer base happy is not censorship. It's business.
This is censorship:
Dozens of literary masterpieces and international bestsellers have been banned in Iran in a dramatic rise in censorship that has plunged the country's publishing industry into crisis.
Companies that once specialised in popular fiction and other money-spinners are being restricted to academic texts under a cultural freeze instigated by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Several thousand new and previously published works have been blacklisted by Iran's culture and Islamic guidance ministry, which vets all books.
Read more in The Guardian.
Here in the U.S., we have the right to buy and read whatever books we want. Sure, some titles are unavailable in school libraries and in stores like WalMart. Occasionally, as happened with the O.J. Simpson book, we even see independent booksellers refuse on moral grounds to stock certain titles. But while it may not always be easy to obtain a controversial book, there's a difference between being inconvenienced and being prohibited from buying and reading what we want. There's a huge difference.
Just ask an Iranian.
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