I don't know why, but I just felt stupid. And I felt untrustworthy--like I couldn't be expected to be able to handle such a book with tact and maturity.
I believe the most important part of Areopagitica is that Milton argues the fact that we can't fully know what is good in this world if we are not give the chance to experience evil. No reason or agency is involved when we "choose" good over evil, simply because evil is not available to us by our mothers.
Milton understands that books are not a dead thing, that they are a medium that can fully bring to life some pretty controversial and nasty ideas to the world. But banning books is not going to ban the existence of these ideas. In fact, it hinders our ability to choose the good over the evil:
"Since therefore the knowledge and survey of vice is in this world
so necessary to the constituting of human virtue, and the scanning of error to
the confirmation of truth, how can we more safely
and with less danger scout into the regions of sin and falsity than by reading
all manner of tractates and hearing all manner of reason?"
Cut us some slack, mom[s]. We have the ability to decide for ourselves what is too much for us, and what we can handle.
"When God did enlarge the universal diet of man's body, saving ever
the rules of temperance, he then also, as before, let arbitrary the dieting
and repasting of our minds, as wherein every mature man might
have to exercise his own leading capacity."
I have a great mom, and she was only doing her job--keeping her daughter safe and sound from the perverted words of Stephen King--and I am by no means actually criticizing her for not wanting me to read it. I did eventually read it, by the way... I gave it a solid "meh." But that experience helped me to gain a more personal understanding of the kinds of books I do and don't want (or really need) to read.
Now my mom has been bugging me to let her borrow Fight Club, and being on the other side of it is a whole different story... how long can I protect my mother from the harshness that is Palahniuk?