I'm not sure why, maybe Geoffrey Rush's appointment as President of AACTA, but I found myself thinking about the movie Marquis de Sade. I remembered that a friend of mine had read 120 Days of Sodom back when we were kids and books generally came on paper.
So I started reading up about the author and his novels on Wikipedia, reading about how he was a pretty sick guy, but his writings are both political and philosophical as well as sick. I downloaded a copy of 120 Days of Sodom to see what it was like, and was confronted with most of what is on the list of what would be blocked by Conroy's Folly. I won't even discuss in detail what was in there, because I don't want search engines to associate those keywords directly with my site.
If there ever was a book written to incite people to burn it, here it is. I've certainly deleted my copy. But should we force others to delete theirs? Hell no!
The story is disgusting, and I only skimmed parts, but there is certainly literary and philosophical merit which I could discern, even from my cursory reading. It seems to be an illustration of what happens when freedom is taken too far. Even libertarians believe that "the right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins." Yet this book shows what happens if the right to swing my fist only ends where another person physically stops me. It is a conception of freedom that is so extreme and unbalanced that it becomes despotic. The story also clearly, and from the first passage of the introduction, serves as an indictment of the clergy and nobility of the time.
So while I find the story entirely distasteful, and it is clearly in the RC category, and its content is probably actually illegal in Australia, it still adds value to our world, even if that value is in illustrating where the boundaries should lie by showing what should not be allowed.
And my friend is pretty well-adjusted. He was not ruined by reading this book, despite what people like Conroy would like you to believe is the risk of encountering distasteful content.