Heresy: Breaking Taboos and What They Don’t Want You to Say

by Azreel | January 26th, 2004

For years, had prided its self on saying what others won’t say; on busting trends, and breaking taboos. Our purpose for existing is to provoke thought by making known those ideas and concepts that may be contrary to popular thought. Some may even be considered dangerous, wrong, immoral, or un-american. But why is it so important to say these things? Is it even important at all? Obviously, it would be pointless to simply spount off obviously erronous or false information. Contrary ideas are all well and good, but if they don’t have any merit of foundation, then they will not only be dismissed as heresy or taboo, but also as baseless and without foundation.

Politicians have dictated colloquial and idealogical taboos for years. Calling someone a communist was a quick way to put down and shut up any person who voiced an opposition to defense department spending. Joseph MacCarthy was perhaps the most ferocious when it came to enforcing these taboos.
The same could be said of old Salem and other parts of New England. A woman who broke conventional thinking in how she dressed, acted, or spoke, would be at best ostracized, and at worst put to death. Customs and punishments such as these were nothing new at the time. Scientists and philosophers such as Galileo and Socrates faced similar punishments for their thoughts and ideas.
Do these same taboos exist today? Obviously not in the same form – women today are not accused of witchcraft and hanged for wearing their skirts too short. People are no longer deemed insane and imprisoned for stating that the world is round. But we still have things that are forbidden to be said, things that are heretical to write, or considered wrong to do.

Paul Graham has an article on what you can’t say. In it, he explores the moral taboos and colloquial fashion that dictates what can be said and thought and when those thoughts can be expressed.

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