Digital book-burning: Amazon bans scholar Ryan T. Anderson’s book on transgenderism (The Federalist)
Amazon has openly signaled to the entire world that it cares not for dialogue, nor for freedom.
The Federalist reports:
This past weekend, something ominous and cruel happened on Amazon.com—although it could have been foreseen given the recent ramped-up levels of censorship. With the removal of Ryan T. Anderson’s 2018 book “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment,” Amazon openly signaled something to the American public and world.
You can buy Anderson's book here.
The digital book-burning has begun; take cover if you’re not a raging leftist.
Anderson’s work approaches transgenderism and offers a scientific and practical perspective on the realities of human nature. On just about the three-year anniversary of its release, which makes this even more bewildering, the book was silently purged from the Amazon web store. Days before it came out in 2018, legacy institutions were out for blood.
“It was attacked twice on the New York Times op-ed page. The Washington Post ran a hit piece on it that they then had to entirely rewrite to fix all their errors. It was obvious the critics hadn’t read the book,” Anderson told The Federalist. “People who have actually read my book discovered that it was a thoughtful and accessible presentation of the state of the scientific, medical, philosophical, and legal debates. Yes, it advances an argument from a certain viewpoint. No, it didn’t get any facts wrong, and it didn’t engage in any name-calling.”
Anderson’s book was also removed briefly from the Apple Books app then re-added. It has been flagged by Twitter as “potentially sensitive content” as of Feb. 23.
Regardless of the left’s horror for Anderson’s viewpoint, “When Harry Became Sally” stood the test of time on Amazon’s website for three years. But it only made sense that it would be canceled by one of the Big Tech oligarchs in 2021.
Since the Capitol breach on Jan. 6—you know, that awful day the left will condemn to justify punishing their political enemies but fail to hold the same standard as the Antifa and Black Lives Matter riots that transpired for months on end and had a price tag of $2.3 billion—Big Tech has colluded to egregiously silence conservative voices.
After that rampage, Twitter immediately banned President Trump and thousands of other accounts for arbitrary reasons. On Jan. 8, Project Veritas, who was ironically also censored upon leaking footage of Facebook Vice President Guy Rosen discussing Facebook’s algorithms to ban people, posted leaked audio of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey telling his employees about his increased plans for censorship.
Then came Amazon with the removal of Twitter competitor Parler from its web servers, on Jan. 9. Following suit, Apple removed Parler from its App Store, and Google removed it from its Google Play store.
Fast-forward to today. In the past several months, corporations have mobilized like never before to muzzle the political opposition to President Joe Biden and the left.
Amazon has yet to comment on its removal of Anderson’s book, which has received acclaim by scholars at institutions like Princeton University, Harvard University, and Oxford University. It was hailed by John Finnis of Oxford as a “focused, informative, fair-minded, lucid and fact-based guide to just and reasonable policies.”
But no amount of listing of all the obvious merits and intelligence of Anderson’s book, nor of any other conservatives, will change one simple truth. The left does not care, and they are tied to the hip to institutions that want nothing more than to have you sit down and shut up. They want you to play good, like a dog who has been neutered.
“None of that matters,” Anderson said, referring to the acclaim his book has received from across the world. “It’s not about how you say it, it’s not about how rigorously you argue it, it’s not about how charitably you present it. It’s about whether you dissent from a new orthodoxy.”
This very “orthodoxy” and those who espouse it have led us to this moment. A precedent has been set by Amazon in the digital and metaphorical burning of this book. Throughout the history of the world, though, book-burning has been commonplace.
Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huang hosted the first-ever recorded state-sponsored book burning in 213 BC. The only books not destroyed were those on divination, astrology, agriculture, and the history of the ancient Qin state of the Zhou dynasty. Everything else went up in flames. So did the estimated 460 scholars who owned the forbidden texts.
In the 1930s and ’40s, the Nazis burned thousands of books at the orders of propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. In more than 34 German villages and towns, the party would round up indoctrinated kids and have them toss literature written by Jews and other “enemies” of the regime into burning pits. It became a nationwide social gathering at the German universities—a place to celebrate and destroy the seminal works of Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Ernest Hemingway, Franz Kafka, Jack London, and many others.
The conservative who prefers to be a court-jester in the left’s kingdom, the David French type, will say that Amazon’s removal of Anderson’s book is totally different from living under a government that dumps books into fires and represses citizens directly. They will say that all is swell and life is good and la-di-da because corporations can do whatever the heck they want.
But how much longer will so-called conservatives cling to these idealistic sentiments about the private and public square when the outcomes are nearly indistinguishable? What are we to do then, in the eyes of French? Lay down and say “screw it” because of aphorisms about free markets applied to markets that are not at all free?
Above all else, the conservative believes that his rights derive from God. Andrew Klavan made this point in response to French’s horror at the Anderson book ban. French, who cheered on censorship when it wasn’t of his friends, was called out by Federalist Senior Editor Mollie Hemingway prior for his hypocritical stance on Big Tech.
“If in reality (where we live) private entities now exist that can render our rights meaningless, that reality has to be addressed. God-given rights trump legalistic theories,” Klavan wrote.
Conservatism is about recognizing this relentless obligation to reason and morality, and God, to work to preserve and hold sacred the inalienable rights God has given all men. And we know in our hearts that digital book burnings, deletions, or bannings—whatever you want to call it—are sure signs of evil.
We are living in an unprecedented time, with an unprecedented amount of power concentrated in the hands of a few major technology companies. It’s time to stop pretending the world has not changed unimaginably. The internet has overhauled civil society.
Anderson’s book “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment” can be purchased directly from its publisher, Encounter Books.
The Christian Post reports:
Online retailer Amazon has removed scholar Ryan Anderson's book critiquing the transgender movement in its latest move suppressing conservative thought on LGBT issues.
Anderson, formerly a scholar at the Heritage Foundation, is the new president of the Ethics & Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. His 2018 book, When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment, explores the meaning of human embodiment and public policy considerations related to transgender issues.
He only found out about the removal of his book from the world’s largest retailer after he was told that people were trying to purchase it and that it disappeared.
It is not out of stock. Even the pages to purchase used copies have been taken down. It is also not possible to purchase the Kindle or Audible versions of the book on the website. The Christian Post confirmed that the pages are gone.
In an email to CP Monday, Anderson said that when his book was released three years ago, it was criticized twice on the New York Times editorial page. He said The Washington Post also ran a hit piece on the book and subsequently rewrote the article to fix all the errors.
"It's obvious the critics hadn’t read the book," Anderson said.
"People who have actually read my book discovered that it was a thoughtful and accessible presentation of the state of the scientific, medical, philosophical and legal debates,” Anderson argues. “Yes, it advances an argument from a certain viewpoint. No, it didn’t get any facts wrong, and it didn’t engage in any name-calling.”
He noted that the book earned praise from prominent medical experts and legal scholars.
Yet none of that matters anymore, he continued, nor does it matter how arguments are framed and presented. All that seems to matter, Anderson suggests, is whether one dissents from the new sexual orthodoxy.
"Three years after publication, in the very same week that the House of Representatives is going to ram through a radical transgender bill amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Amazon erases my book opposing gender ideology from their cyber shelves,” he explained. “Make no mistake, both Big Government and Big Tech can undermine human dignity and liberty, human flourishing and the common good."
The U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote this week on the Equality Act, legislation backed by President Joe Biden that would codify sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes under civil rights law.
Anderson told CP that his publisher reached out for an explanation and has not received a response. An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment when asked by CP about Anderson's book but pointed in the direction of Amazon's content guidelines that govern the books the company sells on its website.
"We carefully consider the types of content we make available in our stores and review our approach regularly, listening to feedback and investigating concerns from our customers. We reserve the right to remove content from sale if we determine it creates a poor customer experience," the Amazon guidelines state.
"We’ll remove content that does not adhere to these guidelines and promptly investigate any book when notified of potential noncompliance. If we remove a title, we let the author, publisher, or selling partner know and they can appeal our decision."
Part of the Amazon.com guidelines includes a section on "offensive content."
"We don’t sell certain content including content that we determine is hate speech, promotes the abuse or sexual exploitation of children, contains pornography, glorifies rape or pedophilia, advocates terrorism, or other material we deem inappropriate or offensive," the section reads.
A 2018 book written in response to Anderson's book is titled Let Harry Become Sally: Responding to the Anti-Transgender Moment is still available for purchase on the site.
On Twitter, Anderson stated that the attention that Amazon’s removal of his book created led to the book selling out at book retailer Barnes & Noble.
Anderson also questioned the timing of the removal as he had an op-ed published in The New York Post Monday in which he called the Equality Act "a sword" that will be used "to persecute those who don’t embrace newfangled gender ideologies."
The book removal is the latest move the retail giant has made regarding LBGT issues, specifically content that scrutinizes transgender ideology.
Last summer, Amazon disallowed Regnery Publishing from purchasing ads to promote journalist Abigail Shrier's book, Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters.
Shrier's investigative work examines why, for the first time in approximately 100 years of diagnostic history, teen girls have become the predominant demographic of gender dysphoria diagnoses.
Until recently, gender dysphoria was an infrequent condition seen mostly in young boys. The book criticizes the lack of medical oversight and documents the myriad medical risks inherent in medicalized gender-transitioning that have yielded irreparable harm to girls as well as young women's bodies and psyches.
The retail giant has also removed books where men and women who once lived and identified among the LGBT recounted their stories of transformation in Jesus Christ at the apparent behest of activists. According to Amazon, the books constituted a "violation of our content guidelines."
In August of 2019, Anne Paulk, author of Restoring Sexual Identity: Hope for Women Who Struggle with Same-Sex Attraction, told CP she was not surprised that Amazon had banned books like hers.
"But it is literally criminal what the site still offers for sale,” she said at the time, noting that books are still available for purchase that normalize adult-child sex.
Among the books that remain available on the platform is an academic work titled Pedophilia and Adult-Child Sex: A Philosophical Analysis by Stephen Kershnar, which amounts to a defense of the sexual exploitation of children and calls into question its moral status.