Rationalizing Censorship: Arguments for Censorship and the Human Capacity to Reason in Plato’s Republic and Herbert Marcuse’s “Repressive Tolerance”

  • Matthew Declan Moulden


Debates about freedom of expression and censorship are increasingly common, and as one possible solution to humanity’s irrational nature, many political theorists justify censorship’s use as a means to a better world. This paper will interrogate two such arguments from Plato and Herbert Marcuse, respectively, who offer similar justifications for censorship. However, this paper will argue Marcuse does not fully delineate censorship’s place in his ideal world, making it doubtful whether his proposals match the world he promises. Relatedly, it is a cautionary tale for any person who rushes to accept censorship as an instrument for a better future.