Then: Social media bans. Now: Book banning.

We have all heard about shadow banning – or outright banning – of conservative voices on Twitter and Facebook. Then there is the demonetizing of conservative videos on YouTube. Now there is selective book banning by Amazon and Barnes &  Noble.

PJ Media

It’s the British government and the BBC, rather than CAIR, that are likely behind this, but Amazon has just dropped the book Mohammed’s Koran by the renowned British activist Tommy Robinson and Peter McLoughlin — and apparently only because its censors dislike Robinson. In the last two weeks, Robinson spectacularly embarrassed the BBC by exposing the bias and dishonesty of its reporter John Sweeney. The retaliation has been swift and severe: Robinson has been banned from YouTube and Facebook, and now his book has been withdrawn from sale.

Coauthor Peter McLoughlin states:

[T]his is the twenty-first century equivalent of the Nazis taking out the books from university libraries and burning them. Can you think of another scholarly book on Islam that has been banned by Amazon? Mein Kampf is for sale on Amazon. As are books like the terrorist manual called The Anarchist Cookbook.

McLoughlin is correct that Amazon’s behavior has been wildly inconsistent. He adds that Amazon officials are steadfastly mum on why the book was banned:

[They] refuse to reinstate the book and refuse to explain why it has been banned. So they have banned the No.1 best-selling exegesis of the Koran. I can’t get my head round it. Every few weeks for the past 18 months they had emailed me asking to put it into special sales programmes, as it was selling so well. For 18 months they sought to profit even more from the sales.

[They] refuse to reinstate the book and refuse to explain why it has been banned. So they have banned the No.1 best-selling exegesis of the Koran. I can’t get my head round it. Every few weeks for the past 18 months they had emailed me asking to put it into special sales programmes, as it was selling so well. For 18 months they sought to profit even more from the sales.

This is an extremely ominous development. Amazon and Barnes and Noble — which is also not carrying this book — have a virtual monopoly on book sales. When these two giants refuse to carry a book, that book effectively does not exist. If they are now going to ban books that are critical of Islam and opposed to jihad terror and Sharia oppression of women, gays, and others, then an Islam-critical perspective will be almost impossible to find anywhere.

This is frustrating, and there is no reasonable explanation for this kind of political selective censorship of written material. If other books, such as Mein Kampf, are sold by Amazon, why not this one? This will of course be applauded by many who don’t support criticism of the Qur’ran, without realizing or acknowledging that what happened here could happen to them.

It would be almost understandable if Amazon had declined to carry the book in the first place, as they could have represented that as a business decision. Instead, however, they carried the book, it became a profitable offering, they sold it for more than a year, then suddenly refused to continue selling it without any explanation as to the reason for their sudden decision.

I don’t normally support government intervention in private business, but Amazon now has almost a complete monopoly of book sales and, consequently, the power over the success or failure of an author’s work. With Barnes &  Noble, the monopoly must be almost complete. Now, here is the caveat: It isn’t the monopoly I object to, as a business will be rewarded for doing an excellent job, and it should be. A bookseller, however, should offer any book in print that will sell, and they shouldn’t be yanking books from the market because of their opinion of the contents, as long as that book is legally available.

Another recent example of Amazon censorship:

American Renaissance

White Identity by Jared Taylor has just been delisted by Amazon. Like most cases of this kind, the digital book burning was in response to a hit piece. An article from Quartz called “There’s a disturbing amount of neo-Nazi and white supremacist material on Amazon” frothed about White Identity and other titles. The piece was headlined by a picture of a flaming swastika and a group of people performing the stiff-armed salute.

The article recycles the usual silliness, claiming Mr. Taylor is a “white supremacist who has earned a place in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s ‘Extremist Files.’” But the most “extreme” quote Quartz could find from the book was a warning to whites: “If they do not defend their interests they will be marginalized by groups that do not hesitate to assert themselves, numerically and culturally.” The fact that White Identity has been banned while books championing “black power” are still on sale suggests Mr. Taylor is correct.

Another book targeted by the article—and banned by Amazon—was the The White Nationalist Manifesto by Dr. Greg Johnson, in which he “argues for ‘the right of all white peoples to self-determination.’” There is no explanation as to why this is bad or even controversial. Meanwhile, black nationalist flags and books promoting Aztlán continue to be sold.

As they should. Unless a book threatens immediate violence against specific people, a free country should not fear it. Of course, America is no longer a free country, and the impulse to censor is growing, especially younger Americans. A recent poll found more than half of college students believe diversity and inclusivity is more important than free speech, with blacks especially likely to favor restrictions. The whole country is becoming one giant college campus, with Google, Facebook, and Twitter arbitrarily censoring anyone they don’t like.

Amazon used to be different. The first major book banned by Amazon was The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure in 2010. Amazon banned it after a raucous media campaign. Certainly, almost no one would disagree that the book is vile, but at first Amazon defended it on free speech grounds:

Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable.
Since then, Amazon has banned several books without a clear explanation. For example, some authors were allegedly manipulating Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) to get more money than they deserved.

Even if it did not ban their books, Amazon kicked a number of white advocacy groups—including VDARE.com, Counter-Currents, and American Renaissance—out of its “affiliate” program. The crackdown was especially severe after a March 2015 article in the Washington Post. Losing “affiliate” income was a setback for these groups, which was probably the intent of the Post article.

Holocaust revisionism started getting the ax in 2017, starting with Judaism’s Strange Gods and Judaism Discovered. Many books that deny the Holocaust or criticize Jews were banned. The World Jewish Congress specifically thanked Jeff Bezos for banning books it had brought to Amazon’s attention.

Others, such as Legal Insurrection, have also been kicked out of Amazon’s “affiliate” program without explanation. While it is Amazon’s prerogative as a private business, it seems to be a case of putting the thumb on the scale in opposition to groups they don’t agree with. Does anyone really believe that Professor Jacobson, who is a Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Securities Law Clinic at Cornell Law School, is some kind of revolutionary? You can read about it HERE.

Some other examples of Amazon’s political activism:

  • Amazon has turned over the policing of their charity program to SPLC.
  • Amazon employees seek to deplatform Palantir – founded by Peter Thiel – from Amazon Cloud.
  • Amazon Removes Bestselling ‘Palestinian Ancient History’ Book Consisting of Blank Pages.

Of course, publishers could sell a handful of books directly, but some organizations and individuals are prevented from using online payment processors such as PayPal, which has also demonstrated social activism in their business practices.

The right to free speech in the Constitution is all but meaningless if whoever journalists don’t like is banned from basic financial services, the digital public square, and online retailers. It’s clear that political disagreement rather than fear of violence or “extremism” is driving Amazon’s decisions. Just as on Twitter, Mr. Taylor’s reasoned, moderate arguments must be banned because they are persuasive.

 

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14 Responses to Then: Social media bans. Now: Book banning.

  1. auscitizenmom says:

    This is really getting scary.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. czarowniczy says:

    I’ve found the book on other xsites, some providing free downloads, but Bezos’s neo-Nazi lite treatment is uncomfortable. If we’re going to let a latter day Goebbels conduct his own sauberung as his immense wealth puts him above the Constitution then why not just let Bezos rule by checkbook? Appears his wealth has gone to his head.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. czarowniczy says:

    Makes me wonder when Bezos will find a way (if he doesn;’t already have one) to go thru our Kindles and selectively delete books we downloaded while they were Amazon-approved.

    Like

  4. jeans2nd says:

    Eventually Amazon, Google, etc., will be broken up as monopolies, or regulated by TPTB. Amazon, Google, etc’s futures are inevitable. imo
    Meanwhile, books like this will always be available on my formerly beloved torrenting sites. No matter how hard they try, TPTB have never been able to shut down Pirate Bay, Demonoid, and so many others. There are too many of us with a bazillion terabytes of books, movies, and such stored in that special place.
    The books will survive. They will just go underground for a time when it is safe to resurrect them. Thankfully.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Menagerie says:

      The books might survive but authors won’t. Everyone needs to eat, and authors are entitled to be paid. Amazon can now choose who gets to make a good living, not only on book sales, but also all their other items sold by small businesses and individuals.

      Liked by 3 people

      • jeans2nd says:

        An excellent point, Menagerie, but are you familiar with torrenting culture? Authors such as Tommy Robinson, especially those who have been banned by the Amazons of the world, will be sent remunerations by most torrenters who d/l the authors’ works,.usually by bitcoin, The Amazons will be boycotted.
        There is some honor among thieves, believe it or not, although the authors will never make as good a living as they otherwise might have.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. TigerBear says:

    History repeating, but happening in America! 😳😱Same ideology, same methods with modern technology which gives far more power and control than in any other period of history. 😳😠

    “On May 10, 1933 student groups at universities across Germany carried out a series of book burnings of works that the students and leading Nazi party members associated with an “un-German spirit.” Enthusiastic crowds witnessed the burning of books by Brecht, Einstein, Freud, Mann and Remarque, among many other well-known intellectuals,…”

    Liked by 2 people

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