Authors were notified this weekend that the financial institutions that handle payment for books on Smashwords will longer allow Smashwords to process payments for books that contain erotica, rape, incest, or bestiality. I do not write or read erotica, but I am reminded of the famous quote regarding the first amendment rights of freedom of speech. Voltaire said: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
I do not like censorship because it is impossible to come up with anything that makes sense. In one city a few years ago, the city fathers were well on their way toward writing an obscenity ordnance, when one member wanted to go one step further and outlaw animals going naked. Her amendment would have required owners to make their pets or farm animals wear diapers.
My books contain every crime or sin imaginable, although I try to present it in a sensible way in which the good guys win and the criminals get the punishment they deserve. While I do not like erotica, I see this act as a first step in banning other anti-social acts from literature. What would happen to our stories if they banned murder, bank robbery, simple assault, or criticism of corrupt officials? Censorship in any form is a slippery slope that I don’t think we can deal with until we take a giant step up the evolutionary scale from where we are. If the management of these financial institutions gets away with this, can censorship of Amazon or the other publishers be far behind? Below, you will find the addresses of the financial institutions and credit card companies that are leading this crusade to reign in our rights of freedom of expression. If you agree with me, send them an email stating your position.