The big news of the week, as well as the latest example of “censorship against a conservative by big-tech,” comes from Catholic commentator and social conservative Ryan T. Anderson. Specifically, it comes from Amazon taking down Anderson’s book When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment. And yes, the final word in the title is Moment and not Movement — because expecting anything Ryan Anderson does to make sense is to miss the point of why he does it.
You know it’s a big deal because Sohrab Ahmari has written an article about it for The American Mind, here’s a snippet:
We’ve come very far from the openness and pluralism promised by liberalism’s theorists and publicists, including conservative or “classical” liberals.
Mind you, I have no idea why Mr. Ahmari cares about “openness and pluralism promised by liberalism” considering he’s openly against all of those things. Ahmari, along with his buddies Josh Hammer and Yoram Hazony, has specifically advocated for conservatives to reject Enlightenment thinking and instead move to more traditional thought — sometimes. Yeah, with that being his philosophy, this statement of his from the same article is rather odd:
Yet most on the right remain unwilling to follow these developments to their logical conclusion: namely, that it was classical liberalism itself that has incepted our world of vast inequalities in wealth and power (between individuals, firms and social classes).
Traditionally, one of the things that defined a conservative has been a belief in the value of hierarchy. Rather it was conservatives who defended a monarchy against the more equal system of democracy proposed by liberals, to economic conservatives who defend the hierarchy of bosses against socialist calls for workplace democracy. The conservative icons of the American founding, most notably Alexander Hamilton and John Adams, could easily be considered oligarchs by the standards of today. But here Ahmari is saying that actually massive inequalities are bad while also defending an ideology built on them — because his ideology is utter nonsense.
Sorry, got off the topic of Ryan Anderson and onto the topic of why Sohrab Ahmari’s philosophy is incoherent garbage.
Going back to Anderson, he has done quite the media tour regarding Amazon deleting his book. However, in the process, what he hasn’t said has been just as interesting as what he has.
For example, he has never once shown any emails from Amazon on the topic of his removed book. One would think such emails would lead to rather valuable insight on why, three years after its release, and after-sales had dramatically slowed down, they only now took action. It was not as if Amazon was unaware of this book, as it topped the best-seller list when it first came out in 2018 before quickly disappearing into obscurity, so banning it now is a rather odd move on their part.
However, of all the things Anderson has said, I find this statement he made in First Things to be the most interesting:
Amazon never informed me or my publisher that it was removing my book. And Amazon’s representatives haven’t responded to our inquiries about it. Perhaps they’re citing a religious objection to selling my book? Or maybe they only sell books with which they agree? (If so, they have a lot of explaining to do about why they carry Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.)
Of course, Anderson didn’t link to the version of Mein Kampf one can buy on Amazon, because doing so would reveal that any proceeds from purchases are being donated to Jewish charities. And that’s ignoring the other obvious fact that if you have to compare your own book to Mein Kampf in order to make a point, that point is likely not very strong. (For those curious, my own recently published work Is This Book Orwellian? is nothing like Mein Kampf — although it does quote from Mein Kampf a couple of times.)
But I do agree Amazon has some explaining to do regarding deleting Ryan’s book. For example, why did they not also takedown Ryan’s anti-gay marriage book What Is Marriage?: Man and Woman: A Defense? Amazon also has not taken down Ryan’s other anti-gay marriage book Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom, despite same-sex marriage being much more excepted in the United States today than transgenderism.
One would think that if Amazon were going full authoritarian on transgenderism, they’d also go after a book more recent and relevant. No offense to Anderson, but the sales of his book have dropped rather significantly since it first came out in 2018. So it’s rather odd that his book is taken down but Abigail Shrier’s 2020 book Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters is still on Amazon, despite it getting more popularity in the half-a-year it’s been out than Anderson’s book ever did. And Irreversible Damage is not the only anti-transgender book one could buy on Amazon today. In fact, here are some of the books that were recommended to me — as in Amazon showed them to me, I did not go looking for them — while on the Amazon page for Irreversible Damage:
- The End of Gender: Debunking the Myths about Sex and Identity in Our Society
- Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity―and Why This Harms Everybody
- Affirming God’s Image: Addressing the Transgender Question with Science and Scripture
- Why Social Justice Is Not Biblical Justice: An Urgent Appeal to Fellow Christians in a Time of Social Crisis
- Sex Scandal: The Drive to Abolish Male and Female
- Paper Genders: Pulling the Mask Off the Transgender Phenomenon
- Trans Life Survivor
So that’s seven books, all of which are in some way critical of the “transgender moment” that are all allowed on Amazon. But for some reason Ryan’s book is not — am I the only one who finds this to be rather odd? And that’s ignoring books that are on Amazon but were not specifically recommended to me for — such as Matt Walsh’s The Unholy Trinity: Blocking the Left’s Assault on Life, Marriage, and Gender which, again, can be bought on Amazon.
Look, I’m not saying that Anderson is lying and that he actually deleted his book — but I am saying that something more is going on here and that there’s more to the story than Anderson is telling us. Anderson’s story of Amazon deleting anything and everything that goes against the “transgender moment” simply does not follow reality, and Anderson expecting us to believe it without question is a sign of his own dishonesty.