Psychomamma made a good post about Sarah Palin and censorship. Her point, which was echoed in comments, is that even *considering* censorship is bad. Which I generally agree with.
But while i abhor censorship in general, and think that 99% of speech/writing must be protected in a free society, i've come to believe that a blanket no-censorship stance is too simplistic.
If someone wrote a book that included the addresses of local police officers and instructions on how to kidnap their children, for example, I find nothing wrong with refusing to publish it. If it were published, I would happily pull that book from my library shelf. Likewise kiddie porn.
And once you've appointed yourself guardian of the public good (ie, you lose your anti-censorship virginity, as it were), it's hard to stop. It's no stretch to also pull from the shelves the newsletter of White Aryan Resistance, on the grounds that it serves no legitimate social purpose, and contributes to social pathology.
IOW, as in everything else, there's no simple rule that covers every case; instead of simple black & white, the world continues to be frustratingly gray.
So on the censorship question, I've decided that the key question is not "whether" but "where do you stop?" and one measure of a free society is how wisely it balances freedom of expression vs the public good.
What do you think?