Sunday, November 14, 2010

Freedom of expression: 1605

But all these inconveniences, and many more I have not mentioned, would cease, if some intelligent and judicious person of the court were appointed to examine all plays before they are acted, not only those made about the court, but all that should be acted throughout all Spain; without whose approbation under hand and seal, the civil officers should suffer no play to be acted; and thus the comedians would be obliged to send all their plays to the court, and might then act them with entire safety; and the writers of them would take more care and pains about what they did, knowing their performances must pass the rigorous examination of somebody that understands them.

--From Don Quixote de la Mancha--

Don Quixote goes mad from reading fantasy books, mistaking them for true stories. People burn books; it's portrayed as a good thing to do. And there are long passages, like the one above, where characters endorse government censorship.

Paternalism was seen as something all right thinking people should get behind.

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