Truth Seeker D. M. Bennett
- Published: Thursday, 24 December 2009 01:14
John Algeo – USA
Bennett was one of the best known and most effective free-thinkers of the nineteenth century. He fought for freedom of belief and expression against such supporters of the narrow ecclesiastical establishment of that time as Anthony Comstock (1844-1915). Comstock, a virulent “reformer” who got control of what could be legally sent through the U.S. mail, prosecuted Bennett and sent him to prison, ostensibly for circulating immoral literature (shades of Annie Besant) but actually for violating Comstock’s intolerant views. Even during Comstock’s life, his name became a new word in English: “Comstockery,” which the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary defines as “strict censorship of materials considered obscene [or] censorious opposition to alleged immorality (as in literature).” He was America’s most infamous book-burner.