In Defence of Creative Freedom

The popular practice of banning books which don't share the ruling party's opinions shows an insulting lack of trust in the people. For the Powers That Be to have realised that these books are so evil, they must have read them. If the Powers That Be have read them, and presumably resisted the evil influences oozing from their pages, why can't their people? If they haven't read them, how do they know that they're so evil? The mistrust, rather than the lack of freedom, alienates the people.

If Communism is so shiningly and self-evidently right and true, why are our leaders so determined to stop people hearing any criticism of it? It puts dark, mistrustful thoughts in my mind. Is it—God forgive the suggestion—not so self-evident? Nothing wobbles my faith so much as our leaders' own lack of faith. If the Socialists spreading the word in capitalist countries can resist capitalist lies, why do the Governments of Communist countries assume the people are suddenly much more stupid?

Overtly political and religious books I can perhaps understand. Novels, less so. The Party is not a literary salon. Among the authors banned in Cuba is, apparently, Karl May. This strikes me as frankly bizarre. May isn't exactly pernicious Miami propaganda. Is it just because the books are set in the U.S.A.? Leading a country is not an excuse to indulge your artistic pet hates.