The freedom of speech is on the ropes, and it just received another body blow. Over at Amazon, you can still get Friedrich Nietzsche’s God Is Dead. God Remains Dead. And We Have Killed Him. You can still get Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion. You can get Christianity Disproved: The conclusive proof that Christianity is false. You can get God Needs To Go: Why Christian Beliefs Fail. You can get All That’s Wrong with the Bible: Contradictions, Absurdities, and More. You can get Four Disturbing Questions with One Simple Answer: Breaking the Spell of Christian Belief. And on and on and on. But you can’t get Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion by the New English Review’s Rebecca Bynum.
Now that the winter of Leftist/Islamic censorship is upon us in a big way, Amazon has removed Bynum’s book from sale, so as not to offend those who must not be offended, and to stick to offending those who can and must be offended with impunity. This is done at least in part because those who must not be offended might kill you, while those who must be offended will not. But the book was available for ten years. The difference now is that the fascists are emboldened as never before, and have decided that now is the time for them to act.
And so we see it yet again: criticize Christianity, and you’ll be celebrated as a heroic, courageous intellectual, standing up against the forces of reaction. You’ll be feted and laden with honors, a la Dawkins today. Criticize Islam, on the other hand, and you’ll be excoriated as a “racist” (one more time, kids: Islam is not a race, and indeed, any belief system that you can ascribe to or discard is not and cannot be a race), “bigoted” “Islamophobe,” and the Southern Poverty Law Center will call you a “hate group leader” and make sure that all good, right-thinking people don’t come near you with a ten-foot pole.
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Now, I don’t agree with my old friend Rebecca that Islam is not a religion, but I am not being churlish or fastidious to point that out. But in saying that I disagree, I am most decidedly not saying that I believe that she should be silenced. I believe that ideas should be evaluated on the basis of whether and to what extent they correspond to and elucidate reality. Ideas should be discussed freely and accepted or rejected on their merits.
But that is an old-fashioned idea, as retro and yesterday and hidebound as if I said that men are men and women are women, and that men should wear ties and fedoras and address other people as “sir” and “ma’am” and try to refrain from announcing that they’re actually women. The totalitarian fascists of Amazon believe that the ideas they have judged to be beyond the pale must not be heard, and since they have an effective monopoly on the book business, when they drop a book, it will indeed for the most part not be heard.
Yes, there are other bookstores here and there. But the situation has changed drastically since I was a young man and every city had several, and sometimes many, independent bookstores. Now the decision of what is acceptable for you to read is in the hands of a very small group of people, and they all think the same way. If Amazon drops you, you’re as dropped as you are when Twitter bans you. What’s that, libertarians? Just start your own social media giant? Sure. Tell it to the folks at Parler.
Now that Amazon has begun dropping Islamocritical books, expect more of this. They certainly won’t stop with Rebecca Bynum’s book, and they won’t stop with books that are critical of Islam, either. And as this endeavor starts to gather steam, who on the Left will raise a voice for the freedom of speech? Not Old Joe. Not Kamala-in-Waiting. Not Old Joe’s handlers. Not Schumer or Pelosi or AOC or Ilhan Omar. Not a soul.
The fascists are on the march. This is their hour, and the power of darkness. It has been nice knowing you all, but it’s clearly coming to an end. Soon the only way you’ll be able to hear dissidents will be via whispers and furtive handovers of shoddily printed material, by the few who have the courage to continue to dissent when the darkness that is descending has finally enveloped us completely. I hope to see you there.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 21 books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Rating America’s Presidents: An America-First Look at Who Is Best, Who Is Overrated, and Who Was An Absolute Disaster. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.