Alan Jacobs, author of many stimulating books, has been penning stimulating thoughts on his blog about Amazon’s decision to remove Ryan Anderson’s book, When Harry Became Sally, from its digital shelves. You can find a series of his thoughts on the matter, here (on Big Tech as a wing of the Democratic Party), and here (on quitting Amazon).
But his first post contained an important observation about this matter that is applicable to much of what travels under the title “cancel culture.”
Anderson’s are not to be refuted but rather, insofar as it lies within Amazon’s vast power, erased — subjected to Damnatio memoriae. And the interesting thing about that practice is that it is simultaneously an assertion of power and a confession of weakness. Amazon is flexing its muscles, but muscles are all it has. Its censors don’t want anyone to read Anderson’s book because they know that they can’t refute it. They have no thoughts, no knowledge — only reflexes. And reflexes will serve their cause. For now.
Conservatives are tempted to abandon the idea of “ideas in competition.” But we should pause before doing that and remind the world that our opponents are waving the white flag and begging for us to be disqualified. This is a weakness that will, in good time, repulse people.