You don't see many NC-17 rated movies coming out these days. Mainly due to the assortment of "Unrated Director's Cuts" mainly reserved for gross-out comedies that are now made to appeal to the younger demographic. This loophole gets the younger audiences to see the sleaze and all the degeneration they can with very little trouble. Of course the theaters don't show this stuff, but they sure can get an eyeful on DVD.
But before I am called ignorant, I find censorship in film wrong, especially in the case of films like Requiem For A Dream, where the most shocking scene had to be cut to avoid an NC-17 rating. It's all about distribution and money. And that is a crying shame. If it is something supposed to represent degeneration or shocking, by all means it should be left in, but if it is exploitative, like let's say a sex romp that over exaggerates someone's lifestyle (like many of these new teen gross out comedies), it serves no purpose whatsoever.
I found the images in L'humanite very shocking and heavy, but meaningful and important. Of course this should not be exposed to little children, personally they would be bored to death by this film, but anyone studying movies should take a look into what realistic filmmaking is like.
You make several good points, but I don't see where they are supposed to lead. I can't tell if you don't like the ratings system or you don't like the existence of Unrated movies which lets NC-17 types of movies get into video stores, if not theaters. If they are in the video stores, then for the movie fan it doesn't really matter if they get into the theaters.
The condemnation of "distribution and money" is flat-out stupid. It costs money to produce a film and if they don't make money in return (which most do not), most people who want to make films can figure out that there isn't much of a future in it: especially since the film maker will soon find it impossible to get financing. Most of us work "for a living" and most film makers need to get paid for their efforts just as we do.
I give credit to the few actors who will work for scale occasionally so that a film he or she deems worthy can be made on a small budget. But, even there, if the actors don't like a film they won't contribute their time - de facto censorship? You may not have noticed that we don't see films about the gulags of Stalin or the death prisons of Mao. On the other hand, there are quite a number of films, many of them first-rate, about the horrors of the Nazis. Is that selective censorship?
I suppose we could have the government finance movies, which I fear may happen in the USA. Then you will see real censorship in action.