When I was growing up, there was one thing sure to stoke the ire of any good liberal: a good old-fashioned book banning. The left considered banning even the most unsavory books as the well-greased slippery slope toward total thought control.
As if it were from Holy Scripture itself, the faithful liberal would declare, misattributing it to Voltaire, “I wholly disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.” This is a mark of classical liberalism, but liberalism will have nothing of it today. They will happily keep you from reading certain books they deem unsafe and enthusiastically congratulate themselves for doing so.
It’s the new fundamentalism. How the tables have turned!
This is precisely what happened recently when Amazon—a progressive company that should be fundamentally dedicated to the value of the free trade of ideas—succumbed to a silly, poorly argued, emotion-laden Change.org petition by someone going by the name of Sky Gray. Gray was super upset that Amazon, the largest bookseller in the universe and beyond, was doing what it does: selling a vast array of books to anyone who wants them.
Gay Activists Object to People Reading Freely
Specifically, it was selling the books of one man, Dr. Joseph Nicolosi. What makes his books so abominable? Well, they help people who have unwanted same-sex sexual attractions deal with those feelings. It would seem a basic issue of personal autonomy, people desiring to become what they want to be without suffering interference from others, another classically liberal ideal. And yes, some people don’t want to be driven by their same-sex attractions.
But the real “sin” of those who offer such help—a number of other such authors have since had their books banned by Amazon as well—is that they don’t encourage the clients to get all happy about being gay. As anyone knows today, not being all-in for all things gay will not be tolerated. The dissenter will be punished, and severely. Those books, those very ideas will be judged intolerable, and made unavailable to anyone.
Even the most die-hard liberal must condemn this as an extremely troubling development. But it is about so much more than this handful of authors’ books, as serious as that is. When a group of powerful people start determining what you can and cannot read, that is not a pretty place.
Liberals used to understand this. They understand it very well regarding abortion. It’s why they wholly reject any and all restrictions on abortion, even basic health standards for abortuaries and limits on the most ghoulish types of abortion, because they believe that starts the road toward banning all abortions. Not only, however, do they see nothing wrong today with banning books some liberals don’t agree with, they tend to think doing so is highly virtuous.
Understand that the larger topic here is not the ban on owning a book about a particular kind of counseling or self-help. And it’s not just about wholesale prohibition on one’s opposition to homosexuality. It is all about not being all-in on the thing itself. Mere disagreement is not allowed.
Say, for instance, you choose not to celebrate and participate in LGBT pride week at work. That can often get you more than the disapproval of some of your co-workers, or even a sharp reprimand from your human resources department. It could get you fired. You’d also better not donate to a cause LGBT activists deem troublesome. Same for a teacher refusing to butcher her own language with made-up pronouns.
Now the pitchfork and torch-wielding witch-hunt has come for our freedom to obtain and read books others believe are offensive. How long until the most widely read book in the world is banned because it takes a dim view of homosexuality? How long until children’s books are no longer allowed because the illustrator refuses to include same-sex families or insists on using pronouns that are true to biology?
You think this is crazy talk? Name one thing that even the more radical parts of the gay movement have demanded that they haven’t been granted with great fanfare, including arraying the White House in rainbow colors. Name a recent time anyone in mainstream culture has been critical of any action or idea held by a notable gay individual. A gay actor can fake being a victim of a hate-crime, trick the nation into coming to his aid, then have all legal charges dropped after it’s learned he staged the whole thing.
The gay community, a supposedly oppressed and marginalized group, wields an extravagant amount of power today, and does so without regard for the rights of anyone who chooses to not support them. When you can dictate what books someone can have access to, that’s power. When you do so and get no blow-back by hardly anyone (if anyone at all) in the mainstream press that claims undying commitment to the secular sacredness of the freedom to read, that is a frightening amount of power.
We must ask, where are the liberal Voltaires today? They’ve become the new Joseph McCarthys.
Take Note of What Amazon Won’t Ban, Either
There’s something else very disturbing and terribly ironic here. According to Amazon and its petitioners in the gay movement, apparently, there is no one more sinister and dangerous than Nicolosi and his peers. According to their platform publishing decisions, he is literally worse than Adolf Hitler.
How can we know? Well, it’s easy. Amazon will sell you any of Hitler’s many books, give you the best price possible, and rush them right to your door with free shipping. They keep an ample stock of the official 1939 edition of “Mein Kampf,” and if that original language is too cumbersome, you can obtain one that is more useful to the studious American Nazi devotee: “Mein Kampf: A New Translation for American Readers.”
But there’s more. Amazon stocks Hitler’s lesser-known works, too—his “Secret Book” (under its actual title: “Hitler’s Second Book: German Foreign Policy“), his “Mein Kampf” sequel, “My New Order,” and finally, “Hitler’s Table Talk.” You can also get, through Prime, “The Speeches of Adolf Hitler: 1921-1941.”
For the really serious neo-Nazi, Amazon stocks all of Joseph Goebbel’s books. The well-read neo-fascist can get Benito Mussolini’s full corpus. Same with “The Turner Diaries,” the book Timothy McVeigh carried the morning he killed 168 people in the Oklahoma City bombing. Klu Klux Klan leader David Duke even praises Amazon for keeping this classic racist text readily available for his disciples.
Amazon is the anti-government, white supremacist’s reliable, go-to bookseller. But thank goodness they have the moral fortitude and decency to keep certain books that some gay activists dislike from falling into anyone’s hands.
People, this is the world we live in, and it will only get worse unless people of reason, conservative or liberal, stand up and demand that it stops. Amazon’s entry into book banning is where it should start.