February 16, 2016

Is a Red Guard in a Grey Suit of No Concern?

One troubling kerfuffle that is getting short shrift outside of right leaning blogs. involves a small time author who got cut by his publisher because his villains motivations were impolitic. This says more about the publisher than anything else, and it would be a non story, if not for the reports of the very pervasive nature of a monoculture in a lot of the publishing industry. 

One argument that I hear regarding stories like this is that it is not news and there is nothing wrong with it because the 'policing' is being done by a corporation and it's not a government doing the censoring, so it's not actually censorship.   

By that logic, the Hayes Code and the Comics Code Authority which were instituted not by the government, but by trade associations and agreements between corporations were just peachy keen. Even the Hollywood Blacklist, though initially a reaction to contempt of congress citations, was not a government pogrom but was initiated voluntarily by the studios. If that sort of thing appeals to you then fine, enjoy your homeowners association and live happily in your chosen dystopia. However, for the rest of us, when virtual monopoly that controls a good chunk of public discourse silences viewpoints the effect can be the same in many ways as a government doing it. The differences can be reduced further when these entities quietly collude with the government in suppressing viewpoints.  Of course, having the government barge in and force these entities to allow the speech they are banning would unambiguously be a 1st amendment violation. However, the situation as it is developing is deeply troubling. Thus it is wise to ensure that people are aware of these things and encourage alternate venues for online socialization and different outlets for publication. 

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 11:24 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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