As in a Stalinist purge, Amazon has silently “disappeared” Ryan Anderson’s book When Harry Became Sally. Amazon tacitly alleges that it acted under revised guidelines prohibiting the sale of “content that we determine is hate speech … or other material we deem inappropriate or offensive,” including content that “promotes the abuse or sexual exploitation of children, contains pornography, glorifies rape or pedophilia, [or] advocates terrorism.” Beyond citing the policy, Amazon has declined to justify its treatment of Anderson’s book.
The suppression of Anderson’s book cannot reasonably be justified under Amazon’s policy. Not even close. What we have here is the enforcement of a party line — forgive me for repeating myself — as in a Stalinist purge.
As I noted here yesterday, Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf remains for sale by Amazon. Likewise Quotations From Chairman Mao (a/k/a “the Little Red Book”). And you may want to walk around Amazon’s Che Guevara Store as well.
Now the Free Beacon’s Andrew Stiles identifies a few other items that have escaped the net of Amazon’s revised policy. The list he has compiled reflects a spirit of mockery. Teddy Kennedy’s True Compass is an example.
Stiles’s mockery is one approach to keeping the Amazon story alive. We need it and more.
A few of the items Stiles identifies fall into the category of “get ’em while you can” — the Bible, the Constitution, and Huckleberry Finn, for example. Examples could be multiplied endlessly. Think, for example, of Aristotle’s Ethics, with its analysis of slavery. It’s enough to make you think that perhaps this whole “hate speech” thing could get out of hand, or that this is precisely the point.