No first amendment on Amazon.
Blacklists are back and Amazon’s got ’em: Yesterday my blacklist column noted how Amazon has blackballed the live stream of a film biography of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
That however is not the only example of Amazon’s anti-free speech agenda and its desire to silence conservative thought. In recent months book authors and publishers have repeatedly discovered that Amazon has been either banning outright their books, or shadow-banning them from searches so that potential customers cannot find them.
The link gives about a number of examples, but a quick internet search finds numerous others (see for example here, here, and here).
Only rarely will Amazon admit to this censorship, and when it does, it does so by claiming vague rules about preventing “hate speech,” even though this giant online store has done nothing to remove books and products promoting Islamic terrorism, Nazi paraphernalia, and Antifa-supporting materials.
While normally it should be Amazon’s right, as a private book-seller and vendor, to carry and sell whatever it wants, its dominance in the publishing industry is so complete that it essentially holds a monopoly on book sales. If Amazon bans your book or film or documentary, it essentially bans you entirely. Few others will see it. It will get almost no distribution.
Our anti-trust laws were created expressly to prevent such monopolies. Amazon shouldn’t be destroyed, but things would be much better if it was broken up into a number of different companies. For example, as a book seller it really shouldn’t also be a publisher. The power it gains from controlling both is very unhealthy.
In fact, it was this exact issue that caused the courts in the late 1940s to break up the Hollywood studio system. At that time the movie companies that made films also owned the theaters they were shown in. Independent filmmakers had no venues to show their movies. The courts ruled that the studios could make films, but they must divest themselves of their theaters.
The same should be done to Amazon, as well as all internet publishers and book sellers. Do one, or do the other, but not both.
In the case of Amazon, it might also be wise to break up its sales division in some manner. It certainly is not good that it now seems to have a lock on the entire market share of book sales, nationwide.
Too bad our elected officials, both Democrats and Republicans, appear unwilling or hostile to enforcing those anti-trust laws. The Democrats support Amazon’s blacklisting efforts, while too many Republicans have been bought off by the money they get from these big tech corporations. Nothing gets done, and big tech companies like Amazon continue to gain power so that they can increasingly stamp their boot on the people they do not like.
Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!
From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space
, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.
does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.
“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.
All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.
Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.