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Thursday, 11 June 1970

Some of the Commission's recommendations may well support the anti-censorship argument, that is, the matter is one for personal responsibility. Nevertheless we have to realise that individuals are members of a political state, which can be defined as a natural society, freely established by individuals for their common good under the direction of a governing authority. The English philosopher John Locke wrote:

The body politic is formed by a voluntary association of individuals; it is a social compact, by which the whole people covenants with each citizen, and each with the whole people that all be governed by certain laws for the common good.

In a democracy then, the elected government is vested with authority to make laws and to impose obligations for the common good and public welfare. On the other hand, the government has an obligation to protect the general community from both the abuse of power and the selfish desires of minority groups within the community. However, thu first question which arises in political philosophy concerning government is: What is the proper degree of control or regulation of the lives of the people by a government? This question arises because while men possess the natural need to live in an organised society for mutual protection, advancement and welfare, they are also individuals and seek personal property and demand what they refer to as natural or civil rights.

Consequently, the harmony which the common good principle suggests is never achieved. Instead, every democratic society is confronted by continual conflicts of interests between individuals, organisations, pressure groups and the State. It is such conflicts which the government has to try to resolve in the light of its obligation to the community as a whole. Honourable members will realise that because of these conflicts, together with uncritical acceptance of censorship by many, it is exceedingly difficult to establish community standards.







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