Censorship, United Airlines Style

It’s not just at college campuses that politically incorrect speech is being censored. The other day I was killing time between connecting plane fights in the United Club at LAX, and I stumbled across a link to Paul Gottfried’s review of Brad Birzer’s fine new biography of Russell Kirk that appeared on the VDARE website. Gottfried is always interesting and highly readable, though usually idiosyncratic.

But when I clicked on the link, this is what came up (pay close attention to the bolded explanation below the blue HTML link):

VDARE BlockedVDARE is unquestionably controversial, and perhaps nativist, but by no means should it be classified as a “Militancy/Hate and Extremist” website. (It’s where John Derbyshire hangs out ever since National Review fired him.) Seriously—a site that runs a review of a university press-published biography is blocked?  I wonder what other right-of-center websites are blocked by United? (I didn’t have time to check since I had to catch my next flight. Next time. . .) And who at United is making these decisions, or do they farm their Club wireless network control out to some outside firm? Is it “Zscaler” mentioned at the bottom? I’d be curious to know. I wonder, having posted this complaint, whether Power Line will now be blocked at United Clubs. It is entirely United’s prerogative to constrain their private wireless network, but it isn’t a good sign.

The final irony here is that the article in question contains an attack on Power Line and me:

In his work, Birzer quotes Jaffa-disciple and Reagan biographer Steven Hayward, who extolls Reagan for having saved “conservatism” from a fate worse than death—that is, from “having gone in the direction of Russell Kirk, toward a Burkean tradition-oriented conservatism.” [The Vindication of Harry Jaffa, PowerLineBlog, July 4, 2011]

Now, that’s not an accurate rendering of what I said, but never mind. I wouldn’t call Gottfried an extremist, even if he “hates” Power Line.

I think next time I’m killing time over a delayed fight in a United Club, I’ll just find an unblocked porno site (or a Ted Cruz campaign ad) and turn up my speakers full blast.