Why you shouldn’t ask authors to be in favor of censorship

I got the following post to the comments of my post about Monster Hunter Nemesis being up for preorder on Amazon.

Larry:

I learned that Amazon offers for sale videos, books, DVDs and other materials by one Anwar al Awlaki, a propagandist for Al Qaeda, who was taken out by by a U.S. drone missile some months ago.

I confirmed this with my own search!!

I was outraged that Amazon sells for the terrorist group that inflicted 9/11 on our country. I asked them quickly expunge every instance of this odious filth from their web site. Their response was to the effect that they would pass my email up the line. Well, al Awlaki is still for sale there. I swore to never again do business with Amazon, and to inform every person and group I know of their irresponsible money- grubbing.

Maybe Amazon will listen if you and other top authors threaten to pull their publications from their website. Thanks.

I started writing the following response, but it got kind of big, so I figured this deserved its own blog post.

##

Wow. Thanks for putting me in a really shitty position this morning, where I am absolutely powerless to do anything of meaning, but if I don’t then I must support terrorism. Or even better, I don’t support terrorism, but I’m only motivated by money, oh that filthy lucre! So if I don’t ruin my business agreements and violate my contractual obligations, even if I fundamentally disagree with your idea not just on 1st Amendment grounds but also practical ones, I too must be “money grubbing” and the terrorists win.

Here is why I will not be threatening anybody with boycotts for this topic or any other.

First, if I threatened to pull my stuff off of Amazon they would laugh at me.

Second, it is one of the biggest retailers of books on Earth, so they would laugh at me as I went bankrupt.

Third, I couldn’t legally pull my books off anyway because I’m under contract to a publishing house. I do not control my printing or distribution. Amazon has a relationship with Baen and Simon & Schuster, not with me.

Fourth, I’m not in the censorship business and I’m not the threat of boycott type. I hate that blackmail strong arm tactic. It never works. Even by you posting this it puts me in an awkward No-Win situation. So if I do something, I’m screwed, and if I do nothing, I must be pro Al Queda, and thus screwed. Hey, thanks.

You want to take up your problems with the retailer (it won’t work either) but leave authors out of it. All you’re doing is putting us in a bad spot. You’re probably going to get the same exact response from any other author you ask too (or at least any author who understands how business and contracts work). I can’t speak for them, but I’m guessing that my co-author Mike Kupari (who went to Afghanistan as an EOD guy and risked his life disarming Al Queda IEDs) will tell you the same thing. You could ask noted sci-fi author (Lt. Colonel) Tom Kratman to pull his books off of Amazon because it also sells books by a terrorist asshole and see what his response is too. I’m sure it would be hilarious.

A cursory search shows that Amazon also carries Mein Kampf, the Turner Diaries, and Rosie O’Donnel movies. Pick a hundred awful topics by a hundred awful people and there will probably be books on there worthy of your outrage. Amazon also has the Satanic Verses in stock, a book critical to Islam where the Iranian mullahs actually issued a death fatwah against the author, so I suppose if some prominent authors felt bad about the mullah’s hurt feelings they should contact Amazon and threaten to pull their books, right? There are books on there by Ted Nugent and Wayne LaPierre too, so after Sandy Hook maybe some super concerned anti-gun authors should have demanded that they were pulled, because of how insensitive it is to have books by those gun nuts.

My gosh, as I continue my search they’ve even got the Anarchist’s Cookbook! I haven’t read that for 25 years, and if I recall correctly there are a few nifty bomb recipes that worked great, and a few others where you’ll probably lose at least a hand.

But if your personal cut off is that we should only ban books by people who have motivated/enabled/caused the deaths of Americans, then hey, start with Margaret Sanger books. For sheer body count, Sanger’s accomplishments dwarf Al Queda… Only hers are all little tiny bodies, and that particular racist eugenicist is a liberal icon today.  I just checked. Sanger books are on Amazon too. And on 1st Amendment grounds, I think that is great. Political speech should always be allowed, even when it is by complete scumbags with idiotic ideas. No matter how repulsive your political philosophy you have the right to share it.

This is America. You want to proclaim something, no matter how idiotic it is, you have that right. And the rest of us have the right to debate it, make fun of it, and pick it to pieces. No matter how vile or ignorant. Hey, look, Piers Morgan wrote a book. Good for him.

Hell, and I actually know people who have bought various Al Queda authored books from Amazon. Except they work in the American intelligence community, and it was so they could understand the people they were trying to find in order to kill them better.

You want to get people to read the hell out of a book? Get somebody somewhere to ban it. If only I could get a bunch of morons to burn a bunch of my books on a bonfire and get it on the news, that makes for great publicity. But you got me thinking, so I went and looked on the site itself. If you search his name, you come up with critiques and news articles about his crap way before you get to his crap. One of the books you’re pissed about is ranked 1,101,112, which means that it sells a copy once in a great while.  Another one of his articles doesn’t actually sell enough copies to get a rating. Sure, you could let this asshole fade away into obscurity, but don’t worry. I’m sure if you organize a righteous internet campaign to ban it you can get this thing up to number 1, no problem.

So no, I will not be contacting Amazon about this, sorry. If that makes me a bad guy, so be it. I think Al Queda is evil and every time one of them gets blown to hell an angel gets its wings (or was that a Ranger gets his tab? Never could keep those straight).  They are wretched scum, but the wonderful thing about this country is that we don’t hide wretched ideas. We confront them.

EDIT

Because the fun never stops on the internet, I got a response:

Of course you’re in a shitty position.  When faced with an ethical dilemma,anyone with a grain of decency finds themselves thus.

I’m unimpressed with your four reasons for not pursuing the issue.  Each had to do with either the state of your pocketbook or your helplessness in the face of strong opposition.  I would imagine that the executives at Krups and Thyssen used a similar rationale in the 1930′s and 1940′s.

Man, where did you learn your negotiating skills – using shovels on Holsteins?  I wasn’t asking you to fall on your sword.  Rather, it occurred to me that if you and some other primo Baen authors suggested to your publisher that he, too, faces the same ethical dilemma, he might give it some thought, and perhaps pass on his concerns to Amazon.

Given your off-the-edge rant that lumped a real mass murderer with a fictional white supremicist apocalypse, and a true woman’s rights advocate (Is that truly the LDS position on abortion?), it looks like I pushed the wrong (right?) buttons.

In case you’re wondering, I do have a dog in this hunt.  My son had clients at the World Trade Center.  If he had been there that morning, he likely would have died in that massacre.

Well, that’s a shocker. And here is what I posted in response:

Yep. Just like I predicted. Because I disagree with you, I am money grubbing, morally bankrupt, and support terrorism. Sure. Because it is either that or your idea is just stupid.

If you consider that rather polite and detailed response as to why what you are asking me is an “off-the-edge rant” then you have lived a sheltered life.

You missed the big reason, even though I didn’t put a #5 by it. Hint, it is all the stuff in the second half about how I believe in Freedom of Speech, and will not ever pressure any vendor of books not to carry a book of political thought I disagree with. Ever.

Apparenly you were too dense to get that the examples I provided were of various works who would be hated and despised by some group, and by your criteria, they should be banned. You bring my religion into it, well how about this? It is my personal religious conviction that the founding fathers were inspired by God when they wrote the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and the first right on there is the right to freely share political thought. It is a fundamental guiding principle of America that all idea, no matter how vile, are open for discussion, and squashing political discourse is the desire of statists and tyrants.

You pushed the wrong (right) button? Yes. I hate censorship. I hate statism. I hate anyone who would infringe upon the basic fundamental principles of American governance based upon their feelings or their personal concerns. And above all, I hate bullies.

So instead of trying to coerce me into doing something I disagree with how about you go talk to those other primo authors yourself? Go talk to my publisher. See what their response is. I provided a couple of names above who also have “a dog in this hunt”, so go for it.

144 Responses

  1. If we are talking body count, we need to add Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. Her legacy is supposed to be somewhere in the tens of millions who have died by tropical diseases transmited by insects.

    • True, but those are just nameless, faceless, brown people from some place that no one has ever heard of. It’s not like they matter. Important people, like rich liberal urbanite environmentalists for example, don’t die horribly of malaria or yellow fever. So your argument is invalid. Also, you clearly hate mother nature, so you’re biased.

    • Holy crap! Yes. I forgot that one. Are your children dying of malaria in a 3rd world hell hole? Don’t worry, elitists are sleeping well tonight knowing that the baby birds are safe.

      • I was going to mention Silent Spring, but Miguel beat me to it. Well done! Worse, yet, her *fiction* book was and still is treated as *fact* by the liberal litterati.

      • Well, safe except for the windmills and the solar panels, which are frying them and chopping them up.

      • That, and her data was all crap.

        Ever notice how Progressives want to shut up their opposition?

        Ever notice how Conservatives want the Progs to keep on talking?

      • She killed my brother may her reward be rich.

    • Uh, I hate to tell you this, but Silent Spring didn’t have diddly to do with the countries that actually HAD big malaria problems ceasing to use DDT to spray for mosquitoes. It’s because mosquitoes developed resistance to it, so DDT did absolutely nothing.

      In short, it was evolution, not Rachel Carson.

      FAIL.

  2. Good man.

  3. Excellent confrontation!

  4. Reminds me of a quote by Voltaire:

    I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.

    America in a nutshell.

    • Actually, not Voltaire, just a quote attributed to him. I know, I know, it’s nit picky, but this is a cliche’ that needs undoing. Most people wouldn’t dream of taking a bullet for an author, so it’s a trite non-truism.

    • Honestly, at this point, I’m not defending Lefties rights ‘to the death’. I’ve read too much of what they have to say, and those sons of bitches are on their own.

      I’ll start defending rights when it starts enroaching on folks I care about, or at least agree with.

      If Code Pink, Kos kiddies, or Greenpeace gets censored, I’m neither contributing to their legal defense fund nor lifting a finger. F*** them, there are enough idiots and gov’t agencies bending me over to fund them. When people and ideas I value get censored, they’re cheering, if not aiding and abetting.

      Now some say that I’d refuse to pee on King Barry if he were on fire. For the record, that is untrue. I’d *never* pass up that opportunity.

      • First they came for the communists,
        and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

        Then they came for the socialists,
        and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

        Then they came for the Jews,
        and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

        Then they came for me,
        and there was no one left to speak for me.

        - Martin Niemöller

      • The problem with the poem is that the ones coming for everyone *are* the Commies and Socialists.

      • Actually the problem is that first they came for the guns.

  5. As the left once said, ‘dissent is patriotic’. Nowhere in the world can someone hold one viewpoint and have another guy argue against him without being thrown into jail where he’d possibly wished he kept his mouth shut.

    Sure there are rules on that (like I can’t do that sort of “I don’t like our commander in chief” while at work) but generally anyone with a soapbox can air his views, no matter how hateful and vile.

  6. A *real* writer would boycott amazon.

    • A “real” reader would buy 3-5 copies of books by authors who oppose that from Amazon to show that we don’t censor speech in America; we chose with our wallets what we want to support…just a thought…

      -Scott

      • We already do.

        And patches,
        and medallions,
        and Role Playing Games,
        and lighters,
        and books by his friends,
        and …

    • A *real* writer would mock censors.

      Oh, I guess he did.

    • Are you also ready to boycott every library that has a copy of Mein Kampf?

      Screw off, censorship boy.

      • Wow and I was sure that my sarcasm would have been picked up. I even cut and pasted the way Larry writes *real* when he is talking about the elitists and their distorted views on what a real writer is.

      • Sarcasm in plain text is a bit dangerous.

        Too easy to not pick it up. I apologize for the unneeded blast.

  7. So you have gone from Hispanic that is stealing jobs and women, to racist hatey hate mongering hater to terrorist supporter.

    Larry, you’re going to need a bigger business card at the rate you are going.

    • At this rate, pretty soon people will start to think he’s a left-wing politician.

      • With all his technical talk about guns and explosions, he’s only a Che T-shirt / Palestinian flag away from being the Left’s hero for life.

        Because, once the left loves you, history changes to fit.

        I actually once found myself in a gay student association with 2 guys wearing Che T shirts. Che hated homosexuals, and murdered more gays *for being gay* than most US serial killers combined had victims.

  8. people like this need to remember the rule: Would you want your enemy/opposition to be able to do this?
    It is the wont of tyrants and their enablers to censor.

    I giggled just imagining LtC Kratman’s response to this.

    Knowing that some in the intel sector bought the targeted books, how much you wanna bet that most of the sales were from there and those who fight the fight against such?

    • ^ Pretty much this. If they can censor al-awlaki, they can censor you.

      • it was also the reply in my not supporting the Patriot Act. I doubted GWB himself would use it wrongly, but the vagueness left me with a case of the willies when I imagined Hillary (and then 0bama) having the same power.

      • If they can execute al-awlaki without a trial they can execute… oh.. shit!

        BTW, not sad he is dead, just concerned how else our government might chose to use it’s new powers.

      • Al-Awlaki was killed in action by the US Military, using a drone strike. He was not subject to civilian trial, because the stupid fucker was at war with the US, and declare this publicly.

        He had the same option every soldier in Nazi Germany had during WWII: If you don’t want American troops to shoot your stupid ass, or just blow you up, approach an American soldier ( in the field, or at a Consulate ), and surrender.

    • Follow the law or follow your feelings? When John Adams represented the red coats from the Boston Massacre in court he asked basically that question, and America has been struggling with it ever since, with every would be statist power grabber to come along being all in favor of feelings.

      • thereby beginning the “left/right” debate. I also now wonder (and would just love to smack Roberts over the head with this question) What happens when those who are supposed to uphold the law via the Constitution start blatantly ignoring the Constitution. I hope the question hurts his feelings.

    • Anything government can do for you, it can do to you.

    • Suggested new bumper sticker for congress critters:

      Think: What Would J. Edgar Do?

    • “You could ask noted sci-fi author (Lt. Colonel) Tom Kratman to pull his books off of Amazon because it also sells books by a terrorist asshole and see what his response is too. I’m sure it would be hilarious.”

      “I giggled just imagining LtC Kratman’s response to this.”

      I think it would be roflmaopmp-worthy. And probably worth meme-ing

      Hey, book-banner. Fahrenheit 451 was NOT a how-to manual!

  9. I think I want to know what Tom’s answer would be.

    • Probably something simple, Susan, like, “Are you out of your fucking mind? Is this some sort of pennance you have to do for missing your last CPUSA mass….err…meeting?” (Note the clever double entendre.) Or I might be polite and just say, “No.”

      • Well, there’s another Primo Author for you.

        I figure those of us who aren’t wannabe statists will have similar answers.

        EDIT: to add, I wonder if Tom, being a vet won’t have enough dog in the game, or if this guy will insult his religion, or insinuate that he has set aside principles for money… Or the guy’s idea could just be dumb as hell.

      • I’m not actually a libertarian, Larry. I’m just conservative. Minarchist? Check. No more government than you need? Check. No more laws than the bare minimum to ensure civilized life? Check. Execution of all common law felons? Check that, too, and in gory technicolor. And no less government than you need, either. History is replete with societies that needed a strong and effective government, to face a foreign threat, and just didn’t have one.

      • For the record, I’m not libertarian either. I’m registered as a Republican and have been involved at times with local Republican party politics. I’d say that I am libertarian leaning in that I have zero trust of the government, want it to be as inobtrusive as possible, but also am enough of a realist to know that we need government.

      • Larry and Tom:
        Libertarians don’t want -no- government. Those are anarchists. We want minimal government. Just enough of a federal government to keep the military funded, patrol the borders, maintain the interstate system, and maintain a port authority, to use my own parameters as an example.

        The reasoning behind this is that government is like a mouse – if you give it a cookie, it’s going to want a glass of milk. Allow the government any power at all and it’s going to seek more, so we want to limit it to -only- those things that -only- a central government can do.

        As someone else pointed out earlier, anything the government can do -for- you, it can do -to- you. We want to limit the government’s ability to do unto us as much as possible, not to eliminate it altogether.

        I’ve heard this libertarian = anarchist misconception from quite a few folks now, so i figured i’d go ahead and clear that up.

      • When it comes to what libertarians want, I’m reminded of the line “Two Baptists, Three Opinions”.

        I’ve met on-line libertarians who were anarchists and I’ve met on-line libertarians who weren’t.

      • Which is why I said I lean libertarian, but I’m a registered Republican, because the actual capital L Libertarian political party is bi-polar, 3rd parties can’t get elected to hardly anything, and I figure we can get more done by using the Republicans. I’d say Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul have demonstrated that is possible.

      • I self-describe as a “Pragmatic Libertarian” (the term was applied to me one time after I described my position). Philosophically, I’m more libertarian than anything else (Bastiat is a good starting point for how I think on economic issues, for example), but I recognize that “there ought to be a law” and “the government should…” is deeply engrained in a large portion of the electorate, to the point that “libertarian” is a rather small minority position, and likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. (If everyone who thought Ron Paul, or Gary Johnson, or Bob Barr, or whoever would make a great President, but voted otherwise because they “didn’t think the could win” would have actually voted for them–they would have still lost by just about as big a margin.)

        And so I try to focus on whatever part of what I want that I can get. If that means slowing down, at best, the descent into complete tyranny, then that’s what I work for. And if we can slow it down, maybe we can use that as a springboard to stop it. And if we can stop it, maybe we can reverse it. I’m doubtful–too many people sucking at the public teat, and too many of those who aren’t still want government to at least partially run my life–but there’s at least a chance that way.

      • You’re not really clearing anything up Sjonnar, by whatever name they use, Libertarian or Objectivist, there’s a strong anarchist streak in there the last 30 years. Go have a conversation sometime with el Neil and you’ll see what I mean.

      • Tom and Larry, just because an anarchist says he’s a libertarian doesn’t mean he is. Just like how just because a socialist (Obama) says he’s a moderate democrat doesn’t mean he is.

      • And by the same token, Sjonnar, just because a libertarian _says_ he’s not an anarchist doesn’t mean he isn’t. That said, sure, there are libertarians who go by the name and are not anarchists, just as there are anarchists who insist they are libertarians. This is why a fair number of libertarians have dropped the name and now call themselves minarchists.

      • Sjonnar: I ran the Libertarian Party of Oregon for a couple of years in the 1990s.

        They were too damned anarchistic to get a person elected dogcatcher. Most of them only wanted to run informational campaigns, and would refuse to vote, regardless.

        Anyone with a minarchist philosophy eventually ends up being driven into one of the two main parties. I’m a Republican precinct committeeman these days, and I am working with folks who are more interested in getting things done than endlessly debating libertarian praxis.

      • Kristophr: Yeah, i’ve seen that problem myself. And it’s a damn shame. But i won’t have anything to do with the republican party, because it’s full of democrats. Just look at who you guys ran these last two elections; McCain (moderate democrat) and Romney (liberal democrat).

        Make you a deal: you guys run a minarchist, or hell, even a good honest conservative, and i’ll vote for him. Until then, you can keep that red team-blue team shit and i’ll keep wasting my votes on people who don’t want to raise my taxes by 20% to fund planned parenthood for crack whores.

      • Hey, I’m very public about my dislike for McCain and his ilk. When people say that there is no difference between the parties, they’re thinking of John McCain.

        That said, if you’ve been paying attention you’ll note that there is a currently a power struggle going on within the republican party between the McCain/Graham/Hatch wing and the Paul/Cruz/Lee wing, big government vs. small government. I fall into that second camp. The much maligned Tea Party is despised by the liberals because they are a threat.

        Since the Libertarian party hasn’t been able to get any electoral traction at all, your best bet to get small government minded people into positions of authority is through the republican party. That always offends the purists, who’d rather congratulate themselves on their purity than actually accomplish anything. Sorry.

      • Holding your breath until the Republican Party runs a minarchist won’t do any good.

        The only way to get minarchists nominated is to join the party, and work the problem at the precinct level.

        Which is exactly what the TEA Party is doing.

  10. I love the “somebody ought to do something” types that are convinced that their opinions supersede law… Wanting to silence all they object to… despite their taking advantage of the same “Free Speech” they are advocating taking away from someone else…

    Lovely folks….

  11. New rule for reading Larry’s blog: No drinks until after the tab is closed and I’m reading something else.
    That ‘Ranger gets his tabs’ crack got a bit of Dr. Pepper up my nose.

    Anyhow, I think that the topic of censorship is a good response to people people who accuse us of being close-minded. I mean, if they’re so open minded, surely they don’t mind that Rush Limbaugh has open access to the airwaves, right?

    90% of the time, the progressives just ignore that conundrum or say that speech they disagree with is harmful to society. The remaining ten percent are the ones that can potentially be convinced.

    (Disclaimer: Population values vary by region and proximity to mating season.)

  12. Something I have long said (I’m not alone in this mind you) is that the answer to speech or writing which one finds objectionable is more speech/writing, not censorship.

    Write or speak in opposition. Let all ideas, noble and ignoble compete in the hears and minds of the people and thereby let truth rise to the surface.

    Once you say “this you may not read, this you may not say, this you may not know” however noble ones motives, well, that way lies tyranny. If one is sufficiently circumspect and limited in that it may take a while, but mincing steps on that path still lead to the same direction; they just take longer.

  13. The best answer for bad speech is more speech.

    – Mike Godwin, Electronic Frontiers Foundation
    (and yes, that’s the guy who created “Godwin’s Law”)

  14. Some people really don’t understand this whole “free society” thing.

  15. I’ll never understand the boycott mentality. I’ll vote with my wallet any day of the week and twice on Sunday. To make a big stink about it though, that just draws attention.

    I can even understand protesting as a form of discourse. Though I prefer debate. Odds are you’ll change someones mind when you speak to them rationally and as civil as possible. Protesting is a bunch of shouting and just gets all sides involved defensive.

    So yeah I’ll vote with my wallet, I just won’t advertise it. I may discuss it with my friends, or if they ask “why aren’t you reading so and so” I’ll say. “Because they did such and such”. I won’t organize a campaign, at the very least I’ll make them more money. Though I’ll probably just come off looking like an ass.

  16. Didn’t the boycott against the Dixie Chicks work? What about dolphin safe tuna? Here’s a web site listing successful boycotts (all from the left though)
    http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/boycotts/successfulboycotts.aspx

    • No, the Chicks just P.O.ed their fans base, and the left tend not to buy as much of their crappy music.

      • An ethical boycott is one where people just don’t buy – books, food, clothing, whatever – from people they disapprove of. And try to – peacefully, by persuasion – convince others to do the same.

        It’s the difference between not listening to a speaker and trying to prevent them from having a chance to speak.

        Preventing free speech, and doing their best to harass speakers they disapprove of is very much a tool of the American Left, and – if there is any difference – the supporters of and apologists for radical Islamists.

        Don’t BUY books by people you don’t like. Spread the word among your friends not to buy from them. But trying to prevent them from offering their wares is just as corrosive to freedom as their attempts to do the same to us.

      • True….and the album following did ok….in the top 100 for the year.

      • Yes, and it was in the works before the incedent, but then they made some claims about not needing their fans, did some changes to styling and what few weren’t turned off by their nonsense didn’t really care for the new sound. Suddenly they were not selling and of course it wasn’t their fault, it was the misogynists suppressing their right to free speech.. The stupid free speech claim was made by Hank Williams Jr. after he criticized 0bama and ABC/ESPN stopped using him for Monday night football. Sorry, I agree that 0 is a waste of the office, but they can stop paying you if they wish to disagree. You are still able to whine all you want, just not on their dime.

      • alway I post to the wrong reply on these. I suck.

  17. IIRC Wasn’t Alfried Krupp sentenced to prison for using Slave labor.

  18. on a side note Sanger was pro prevention of pregnancy but against abortion.

    • But note that she was 85 years old when CONTRACEPTION was legalized federally. She was dead for most of a decade before Roe v. Wade.

      I see Larry’s post as saying ‘Pick your battles intelligently’, which Sanger obviously did, or we’d never have heard of her.

      It’s really mind boggling to think about it, but contraception was still illegal in parts of the US in 1966.

      • Actually no, in 1936 the courts allowed for medical doctors to be allowed contraception which made it about as hard to get as medical marijuana in say Washington. Not to mention the military dispensing them wilynilly at the same time.

    • No she was anti-back alley abortion, as long as it happened in a sterile operating room she was all for it. Plus there was her whole eugenics stance.

      • from wikipedia (take it for what you will) the quotes:

        In her book Woman and the New Race, she wrote, “while there are cases where even the law recognizes an abortion as justifiable if recommended by a physician, I assert that the hundreds of thousands of abortions performed in America each year are a disgrace to civilization.”

        …in her 1938 autobiography, Sanger noted that her opposition to abortion was based on the taking of life: “[In 1916] we explained what contraception was; that abortion was the wrong way no matter how early it was performed it was taking life; that contraception was the better way, the safer way—it took a little time, a little trouble, but was well worth while in the long run, because life had not yet begun.”

    • well, I guess forced sterilization of lesser peoples is “pro prevention” and she was all for Doctors aborting.

  19. […] his publisher to pressure Amazon to stop selling books by a now dead member of Al Qaeda.  Larry responds by going on a rant about the first […]

  20. I fully support the right of Al-quida types to buy their books on amazon or any other online retailer. It leaves a handy electronic trail to know where to send the predator drones and SEAL teams. :)

  21. Larry, have you thought about lifting sections verbatium out of Che Guevarra’s autobiography to put into the Grimnoir chronicles sequels? The time period is about right for First Lady Faye.

    I think he’d make a great 2-bit mass murderer of gays.

    You could be all sensitive for characters being abhorred at the murdering thug, and piss off the lefties by exposing his true nature.

  22. Twist on the grand villain explaining in detail the overly intricate death trap:

    1: The villain can’t kill the expendable good guy immediately for some really, really good reason.
    2: The wait period ends and the villain drops a grenade or seven in the windowless cell.
    3: The villain explains his true cunning plan:
    Let expendable hero think he can escape tonight, when he only has to breathe till noon. After he inspects the cell and overkills everyone *again*: “Disinformation always beats silence” he quietly thinks to himself.

    Of course, the villain explains everything to the henchman in loving detail.

    After the applause, the villain shoots the henchman. “He asked too many questions.” he explains when the noise brings the bodyguards in running.

    Then announces that everyone not on guard duty can remove hearing protection.

    Rules posted for henchmen:
    1: Do not move to prisoners for any reason. If they can escape the cell, your body will only provide weapons and a uniform.

    2: snipers: You’re bored and ammo is cheap, go ahead and plink. Shoot anyone or anything, regardless of appearance, outside the cell in the target zone. The cell itself is bomb proof, so penetration doesn’t count.

  23. It is a shame there is so much hate here for so called liberals. I have been a “liberal” all my life. I grew up in LA, Denver, and Cincinnati in areas where white folks were often the minority. How comforting it would have been to live in a place that I could retreat into a clannish (and I don’t mean KKK..if you think I do, take a good long look) view of life, surrounded by people just like me! This is a luxury that many us in the developed parts of America do not have. Ever wonder why major metropolitan areas tend to be Democratic? Because we have to get along…or live in a state of war with our neighbors. [I do not mean to suggest that conservative views are inherently racist, but like the southern democrats of the 50s and 60s, racist views seemed to be tolerated in the modern conservative movement, particularly in the ironically constitutionally ignorant Tea Party faction]. We are all right in our own element. What works for a New Yorker may not work for a small town Southerner. We are all Americans. I don’t care what party we affiliate ourselves with…we believe in the freedom to state our beliefs and opinions without LEGAL constraints… (yes, for every example of liberal suppression, I could answer with an example of conservative suppression….maybe ten examples…the right wing has been really hard on the brown folks of late…”dune coon” did not spring from liberal minds my friends.) But we are Americans, and we share that brotherhood….do you as conservatives really want all liberals dead? Do you as liberals really want all conservatives dead? As an American, and not a faceless member of a political party, I can say that I do not. I am not defined by Washington politicians or cables news networks, whether they are American owned or Australian owned. (Fox News) I am defined by my own experience with the America that I know intimately from experience. And that America can easily accept much larger differences of opinion than conservative and liberal. By putting ourselves into one of these two camps we have not only made ourselves foolish in the eyes of God and the world, we have made ourselves weak by excluding the vast majority of folks whose beliefs lie outside of or somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. Best to pray that no side wins. Because that will be the death of America.

    • Heh, you like TOTALLY don’t think republicans are racists, which is why you brought up racism, the clan, hating brown people, and ethnic slurs repeatedly in one long paragraph.

      Actually, my first thought when you say the word Clan is samurai, but I’m just a sucker for Akira Kurosawa, so do I still need to reexamine my life?

      I disagree with a ton of what you say, I think you are factually incorrect in several instances (like the Constitutionally ignorant Tea Party? Really? Which part? And for the record the American Nazi party and the KKK were allied with Occupy Wall Street) but all that is besides the fact and outside the scope of the subject of censorship, so on that we’re on the same side. Welcome aboard. :)

    • Yay! The snob patrol has arrived to save us poor ignorant (and probably RAAAAACIST!) heathens. I feel better now.

    • “I’m not saying that you all are ignorant racist hicks, but, if you’re not one of us, you’re an ignorant racist hick.”

      Thanks.

      There’s so much presumption in this paragraph, I have trouble reading it. As in, it is physically difficult to read with every other word being a juxtaposition of insult, condescension and labeled ignorance.

      There’s enough assumption here to hold a white house press conference….

      • Further note: It appears our dear commenter has managed to hit all of the Standard Internet Arguing points at once.

      • Don’t be too hard on Ron. He thinks he’s not in a bubble and no one in his bubble is a bigot. The poor thing…

    • If someone is willing to support or work with the Democratic Party, they might as well support or work with the Ku Klux Klan. Historically, as far as certain historical atrocities are concerned, the two organizations were one and the same. The distinction was without difference.

      A vote for the Democrat was a vote for minorities going into mass graves, and it not reaching the main stream of media.

      Question for Larry,

      You mention Oklahoma a decent amount in the Grimnoir books. Do you have a firm idea of what happened in Tulsa in 1921 in the Grimnoir universe?

      • No idea at all.

      • Okay, then my head canon will be, until I hear otherwise, that it all happened as it did in the real world, complete with the mass grave being in the same place ours is supposed to be in.

    • Ah that’s right nice of Ron to think we’re not a bunch of unsophisticated knuckle dragging racist bigots he just stops every other sentence or so to explain things because he assumes that is our default view of the world, you know just in case.

      Hey Ron can you make a few more straw men I didn’t get quite enough scarecrows for my farm from that post.

    • I’m curious as to why you think the Tea Party is constiutionally ignorant. The Tea Party seems to me to be one of the few politcal movement in the country that take the Constitution seriously.

    • Get back to us on that “getting along in the Major Metropolitan areas” bit. Looking at the statistics, MOST of the violent crime and gun crime in the country comes from the “major metropolitan areas”.

      Explain, again, how the people are getting along in Chicago, where they have to have “safe corridors” for kids to go to school.

      Besides, Oprah just told us, the cure to racism in America is to have all use “marinated” racists die. . . .

    • Thanks for telling me what God thinks about me, bucko. I really needed your input on that one.

    • Ron Brinson:

      The KKK was a Democratic Party organization. They had a habit of hanging blacks they caught organizing for the Republican PArty. The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. was a lifelong Republican. The only positive thing his family had to say about LBJ was made as the price of getting that racist asshole to call J. Edgar Hoover off of him.

      The Nazis really meant it when they called themselves the National German Socialist Workers Party.

      The TEA Party is entirely about lowering taxes, and following the Constitution. Post proof that the TEA Party is anti-constitutional. Now. Actual statements by TEA Party members, and not attributions by leftards with an ax to grind, please.

      If you want to avoid a civil war, I suggest you ask your fellow Democratic statists to leave us, our guns, and our money and healthcare the fuck alone. Because if they do not, we will not back down to their threats of violence.

      • I’d note that they didn’t restrict their murders by skin color. I recall that when the feds went after Steve Renfroe, supposedly for politically motivated murders for the benefit of the Democratic Party, one was a former slave and the other was either a carpetbagger or a scalawag.

      • I’m reminded strongly of the old saw about boiling a frog whenever i think of the democrats trying to avoid another civil war. It seems as long as they push their statist bullshit slowly enough, no one will ever be ready to touch off that war.

        That said, it’s gonna be awful damn tough to organize the resistance when the time comes, what with the NSA listening to all our phone calls and reading all our emails.

    • “How comforting it would have been to live in a place that I could retreat into a clannish (and I don’t mean KKK..if you think I do, take a good long look) view of life, surrounded by people just like me!”

      Child, your textwall of a comment amply demonstrates that you live in a clannish little bubble of people just like you. It’s comprised entirely of strawman notions of conservatives, iced with ignorance of reality, and sprinkled with condescending bits of more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger concern-troll claptrap. Stick around. Get over this delusion that you’re smarter and wiser than everyone (or even anyone) here, and you might actually learn something.

      Oh, and paragraph breaks are your friends.

  24. Normally, I agree with Larry, but on this one, I feel that he may be slightly off-base. If Amazon was a paper, a magazine, or a News show then I feel that the calls preventing censorship would be justified. Also, if Amazon was a forum operated by the US Government then the calls preventing censorship would, in my opinion, be justified as well. However, Amazon is a non-government owned entity, As such, I don’t believe that they should have to respect all viewpoints, offer services to all individuals, or be forced to provide services to their employees that they don’t agree with. If you make the claim that Amazon taking down those books is censorship, then you could make the claim that Lifeway ( a Christian bookstore) was engaging in censorship by not stocking those books in the first place. Strictly speaking, does that mean a lawsuit is possible against Lifeway? Also, it’s not like Amazon is the only bookstore on the internet. I just happens to be the best known. There’s also Barnes and Noble and Walmart as chain bookstores. Then there are the specialty or local bookstores. Finally, there is nothing from stopping someone or a company from creating site just for selling their books. So I don’t think that you could even argue that removing the books from Amazon lessened their availability.

    For me, I like this quote from the character Stephen Hopkins in the movie 1776: “I’ve never seen, heard, nor smelled an issue that was so dangerous it couldn’t be talked about. Hell yes, I’m for debating anything!”. But I just don’t see anything wrong with asking a private company to stop carrying materials that you find objectionable or even organizing a boycott.

    • Here is the problem with that. All of the private enterprises you cite are motivated by profit, and if the emotional can intimidate a retailer of books into doing what they want out of fear of an econimic squeeze, what is to stop them from doing the same thing to news papers, radio, and TV shows? Wrong is wrong. Change the original request and have it be a TV show on FOX, or a writer for a news paper, or an author at a particular publishing house.

      Now if Amazon decides not to carry a product for whatever reason awesome for them. That’s free enterprise. But they are the biggest which is why they stick out. I’m willing to bet that our original poster hasn’t bothered to harrass any other retailers who carry stuff written by terrorists. Hell, he was too lazy to actually do anything with Amazon and would prefer to coerce writers into doing his dirty work for him. But if you can squeeze one retailer into carrying something because it offends you, what is to stop you from squeezing all of them?

      Plus, this just goes to show how the boycotters are logically inconsistent. Boycotts only INCREASE attention on the thing they are trying to get rid of. Then if they push one outlet into not carrying the thing they don’t like, then the free market of ideas will make sure that thing shows up someplace else, rewarding a different entity. So to actually accomplish what they want to accomplish (the suppression of an offensive idea) then the only way to achieve final success is to BAN everything. (and the hard working boycotters ALWAYS go for a government solution eventually). But of course, they forget the part where they only want to ban stuff they find offensive, and then a few years later when their opposition rises to power, their beliefs are now considered offensive, and they are offended when the stuff they do like is banned too. Go figure.

      And since I’m not a statist, screw that.

  25. My dad always used to tell me “You can’t logically convince an idiot of anything, let alone a logical response.”

    I’ve tried and I always prove my father right, I’ve never won a discussion or an argument with a moron. They don’t see logic. They only see their views and opinions as right, and the only thing that will convince them is a swift kick to the nuts or a divine messenger from heaven… then again they’d probably believe the divine messenger was an illusion created by “them” to try to trick them :)

    As always I enjoyed your response, just sad that you will never convince that person of anything reasonable, let alone something as logical as constitutional rights and the American values of Freedom of Expression/Beliefs/Religion!

    • James, I didn’t know if he was dumb or not, which was why my original response was cordial. After that, well I explained my philosophy in the Internet Arguing Checklist. I don’t argue with with willfully ignorant ever expecting to sway them. You debte in public for three reasons:

      1. To convince the undecided.
      2. To give ammo to your side.
      3. To get the other side to expose their ignorance to the world.

      • I have never seen that checklist before, but I think I’m going to steal it from you! I normally try to avoid internet discussions for exactly the reasons that they don’t normally fall into those categories, but I have other friends that would benefit from understanding that. Thanks!

  26. There’s another good reason to not censor; letting pillocks demonstrate that they are receiving Radio Venus on their bridgework. The problem with Mein Kampf is that TOO FEW people read it, and took it seriously. Hitler did the world a favor by publishing his raving racist psychotic philosophy …. and the ‘smart people’ dismissed it as hyperbole.

    • Most people probable put it aside while reading the first few pages – I’ve yet to read any other book that starts with such self-praising hyperbole mixed with delusional rambling.
      Here in Germany such nazi propaganda is only available for educational purposes, to be used to illustrate and provide background/further information as part of a larger set of educational material. This isn’t censorship per se, but it’s making sure that students (of any age) learn to distinguish between propaganda, fiction, and facts.
      There are some books that can’t be sold openly, but those are available for adults on special order.
      However, I’ve noticed that chemistry books have been redacted over the last decades, probably to keep from teaching students how to make explosives, etc. On the other hand there’s no warning to keep the same students from mixing some components and ending up with less limbs than they started out with.

      • The problem with Germany’s stance on Mein Kampf is that by making German student ignorant of history, they are dooming them to repeat it.

        The history Nazi-zeit needs to be taught to German students, and they need to be exposed to Mein Kampf. Trying to hide your history under a rock will have eventually bad consequences.

        I’ve talked to German students when I was in college … their ignorance of their own history was astounding. I loaned one a set of WWII history documentary tapes ( the BBC’s World at War series ) … the last episode’s documentary of Auschwitz was the first time he had been seriously exposed to this atrocity.

      • The Germans are in a difficult position, Kris. _They_, themselves, seem to think there’s something wrong or defective in Germans, such that they cannot be trusted not to turn loon again, hence cannot be generally exposed to things like Mein Kampf. They’re not trying to hide from their history, as the Japanese do, but are just terrified of their history.

        At least that’s my take on them.

      • I understand that, Tom … but that stance is bloody damned dangerous.

  27. To be honest, I really struggle with this. I’m uncomfortable giving my dollars to an author who supports actions and ideas hostile to me. I don’t object to the free exercise of their right to produce or speak, but I have difficulty separating my purchase of goods from the goals the goods are being sold to fund. In a world where convincing enough people can make the 20oz soda on my desk a crime, am I morally accountable for making purchases where the profits will aid such nonsense? I purchased Buckyballs and raisins because their makers were fighting what I saw as unjust laws. Certainly I could, possibly should, refuse to purchase based on support of unjust laws.

    Is it proper to treat each action separately, the exchange of goods and services as separate from the support of, as an example, a law to seize my firearms? Can I still do so when I know beyond a reasonable doubt where my dollars will go? If I don’t buy a GM car because I believe GM’s current management used their influence with the government to abuse prior bondholders, is it different to refuse to purchase a book from an author who would use their influence in similar was if they could? Should I just buy the GM car because it doesn’t matter that they mangled the law?

    The public speech and access to markets side of this issue is fairly straight forward. If I want speech to be free, it has to be free for people I dislike, same for access to markets. However, when it comes to an individual purchasing decision, I struggle more, and eventually individual decisions aggregate, which is somewhat the purpose of markets in the macro. Anyway, too long. You guys are smart and have morals. Tear it apart, please.

    • Stop struggling. What you’re doing is not “censorship”. You’re voting with your wallet. You’re not trying to make products or views you dislike unavailable to others who don’t share your good taste and impeccable judgement, nor do you advocate punishment for those with whom you disagree. Your method is the definition of economics in action. Good for you. And all of the cool kids are doing the same thing.

    • You are mixing up two seperate things. Private industries and private people can spend their money on whatever they want. Stores can carry the products they want to carry. That is freedom. People should be able to read whatever they feel like. That’s freedom. Exterior forces stopping them from doing so is censorship.

      You don’t like Ford. Don’t buy Ford. That is you exercising your free agency. You trying to ban Ford as a purchase choice for others? Really bad. You trying to get other people to ban Ford for you? Bad, and also dumb, and lazy.

    • I see the point you both make, Paul and Larry. I doubt any of us would support compulsion restricting access to markets or speech. Forcibly preventing people from reading or saying what they like is clearly off the table. Similarly, I can choose what to purchase and what not to purchase.

      By the same rule, I can speak my mind on the topic, and advocate for people to hold similar positions as mine. What’s the difference between encouraging people to use their agency to take a position similar to mine, and trying to get them to, de facto, ban Ford?

      Where’s the line? My own instinct says initiation of force, with free speech and persuasion not counting as force, even if used by an association of people. What’s the difference between millions of like minded people choosing not buy Pepsi, and an external force punishing speech and opinions? Does it matter if they decide to do so as a group, rather than as individuals?

      I’m not seeing it as simple as it seems to be presented, and this doesn’t even touch on the question of moral accountability for the use of profits from goods a person has purchased.

      • You can encourage all you want. You can organize and encourage others to do whatever you feel like as long as it doesn’t infringe on somebody else’s individual liberties. I can think that you are incorrect. When you try to force somebody to do what you want them to do through an economic threat, that is still your right, even if you’re a jerk. The original requester was perfectly within his rights to ask me to support him. I was within my rights to tell him no. He was then within his rights to insinuate that I’m a morally bankrupt, money grubbing, supporter of terrorism. I was within my rights to tell him to F off and put my thoughts here.

        There isn’t one exact correct answer, because we’re talking about liberty, and liberty is always messy. And what you see as clearly off the table, clearly isn’t to the original requester.

        It is just as simple as it seems, unless you turn it into philosophical navel gazing and gnat straining. :)

      • I’m trying to get at the root rule that could be used in another situation.

        It’s looking like “no initiation of force” is the baseline, unsurprisingly. Add in, speech and organization isn’t force, but may constitute an economic threat.
        Doing such, may make a person a jerk.
        People have the right to be jerks, and we all have the right to tell them to F off for behaving poorly.
        Who is/isn’t a jerk, and who should be told to screw themselves is largely a matter of personal judgement.
        We have to live with this ambiguity, noise and conflict, because the other options, such as official and authorized speech, are worse.

        I get that life is messy, but it genuinely helps me to have thought out a situation. Taking your experience, in which I don’t have a personal stake, and trying to find the position most in line with my own morality is certainly navel gazing on my part. However, I’d rather do the gazing on my own time and have a code of conduct formulated when life jumps out and tries to mug me.

        Thanks for batting the ball back, but don’t underestimate the sophistication of the problem. There’s a lot more history, and people in history, that used the original requester’s solution than those who’ve used the one you advocate.

  28. Lulz.

    Piss off the guy that buys ink by the barrel. Great idea. That’s always a win.

  29. Larry & Group,
    As a Bibliophile and politically and a Independent Conservative I also do not support banning, burning or censorship of books for different reasons. I read a lot, and by a lot I read 2 – 3 novels a day or with “serious books” ie non fiction maybe 1 a day depending on the size. Because I like be aware when I vote I have read books by “The Enemy” just because I hate or dislike the author doesn’t stop me from reading their books. I’ve actually read ‘Rules for Radicals’ by Saul Alinsky, Mao’s ‘Little Red Book’, ‘Mein Kampf’ by Adolph Hitler, ‘The Communist Manifesto’ by Karl Marx but I’ve also read books like ‘The Origin of the Species’ by Charles Darwin, The Bible (New AND Old Testaments) and lots of other Books written by famous and influential Men & Women.
    My point being that you need to Educate yourself and to do that you do not just read books or authors you agree with but people on both sides of points of contention. You need to be armed with information on BOTH sides of an argument.
    “Bad People” may write books full of vitriol, hate and confusion, sometimes they can have startlingly brilliant idea’s that are truthful or lucid or just plain brilliance. The one that just popped into my mind was Mao Zedong’s famous statement ‘That power comes from the barrel of a gun’ which fits (sorta) with the old saw ‘God created man, but Samuel Colt made men equal’
    Please don’t ban or destroy books, you need them to enlighten yourself as to what makes bad people (and good) tick. Books are Windows to the Soul.

  30. I must say Larry as much as I enjoy the books you write I think I enjoyed this rant even more. Well done sir.

  31. Let me see if I’ve got this straight. LW thinks the solution to someone saying objectionable things is for everybody who disagrees to shut up?

    My bogglemeter just redlined.

  32. Another historical event to ponder- the so called McCarthy anticommunist ‘witchhunts’ of the 50′s. End result of the censorings, boycotts, blacklistings, and the rest: freaking hippies, maaan!

    Lesson? Maybe let’s not do the same thing, yeah.

  33. I suppose one position is that whatever harm a book, and it’s contents there in, may do, it is nothing compared to the harm that censoring it will do.

    Or,

    First they came for the people I didn’t like.
    And I did not speak up because I didn’t like them.

    Then they came for the people I disagreed with.
    And I did not speak up because I disagreed with them.

    Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak up for me.

    Good for Larry for speaking his mind.

  34. Just came across you blog (started on the books about 5 months ago). I enjoy the books, but the blog post was priceless – I always enjoy a takedown of a liberal (particularly one in favor of boycotts).

    As for Adams agreeing to defend the Redcoats, my 13 year old daughter is covering that episode in her 7th grade class. The teacher asked the students to come prepared to argue one side or the other. She chose the Redcoat/Loyalist side because she said “I’m more comfortable with the Patriot side than the Loyalist one. So this would force me to argue something I don’t naturally go along with, and that’s a good thing to stretch my brain”.

    She’s a pretty good thinker, for a 7th grader. There is hope for the next generation.

    • Adams defending the red coats is a fascinating incident to me. That event was all about the rule of law versus the rule of the mob. Your daughter is a smart kid.

      Personally, as much as I respect John, I’m probably a little more Sam. :)

  35. Correia, your Monster Hunter books -every hate-filled, despicable page of them- should be not only banned, but stricken from all records and minds. They constantly portray and encourage violence against (and murder of!) the Differently Alive, even to the point of promoting genocide acts against such peoples.

    Anyone who supports you and your filth should be shot.

  36. Amen to everything you said. It’s time we start standing up to the tyranny of the minority which has run rampant for the past 50 years. Because one person is offended, action should be taken? Not hardly.

    • I think that action SHOULD be taken. But if the person offended is a twit, the action should be ridicule an lampooning. But I think the MHN crowd is already down wit dat.

  37. You SHOULD read Mein Kampf, Alinsky, Marx, etc. That way when progs try to lie about their beliefs you can string them up with their own quoted words.

    But you don’t need to read The Turner Diaries. We’re living that dream, baby…

    • I think I would find Mein Kampf and the like potentially interesting reads, mainly because it would give a view into the writers crazy heads, could also help with insperation for characters in my writing.

  38. […] a fascinating discussion between an author and a reader who demands she delist her books on Amazon because Amazon also sells […]

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