by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Welcome to the party, pal!
Cancel culture, soft censorship, the stampeding herd of independent thinkers demanding absolute conformism in the name of tolerance and absolute obedience in the name of diversity — none of these is ever a problem until it happens to a progressive.
Today’s example is Andrew Solomon, who tells his tale in the New York Times under the headline: “My book was censored in China. Now it’s blacklisted — in Texas.”
Solomon’s book is not — you won’t be surprised to learn — blacklisted in Texas. All that has happened is that a state representative, Matt Krause, has asked Texas school districts about a list of books — 850 of them — wanting to know if they have them, how many copies, where they are, what they paid for them, etc. …
… The project, Solomon argues, is a “cynical electoral stratagem by a bigoted politician,” which sounds about right to me, though Krause is not, in fact, a candidate for attorney general. … … Solomon quotes Anne Applebaum, who observes about Soviet-era suppression: “Actual censors were not always needed. Instead, a form of pervasive peer pressure convinced writers, journalists and everyone else to toe the party line; if they did not, they knew they risked being ejected from their jobs and shunned by their friends.”
I know a little about that, having been ejected from a job at the very magazine where Applebaum is a staff writer for failing to toe to the party line. If Solomon would like to know something about the experience of actually being blacklisted by, say, one of the major American book publishers, I’d be happy to tell him what it’s like.
And I am far from alone in my experience.
I think of Amazon’s effort to suppress books that take nonconforming views of transsexualism, the efforts of feminists, transexual advocates, and other left-wing critics to punish figures ranging from Camille Paglia to Harvey Mansfield to Dave Chappelle to nobodies at Google to previously anonymous high-school kids for crimes against progressive sensibilities, real and imagined.