With a new Administration in Washington, D.C., and the oligarchs of Big Tech now dominating US politics, we as writers have to expect a new wave of pressure – initially “voluntary”, but very likely regulated or even legislated in due course – to conform what we write to the policies of the powers that be.
Impossible, you say? “First Amendment!”, you scream? Too bad. Why not use those arguments to Simon & Schuster?
[Senator Josh] Hawley objected to Pennsylvania’s Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden when Congress met to certify his victory over President Donald Trump on Wednesday [January 6, 2021] … Publisher Simon & Schuster canceled Hawley’s book deal the next day.
Simon & Schuster will doubtless argue that they’re not violating the First Amendment, because Sen. Hawley can still publish his book with anyone else he pleases. The fact that others may not want to deal with him, and that S&S reneged on a signed contract with him, is clearly neither here nor there. How many of us may experience similar pressure in future?
I think that as independent authors, we can expect even more of the same treatment. Amazon.com has emerged as solidly behind the Biden administration. It’s already taking steps to limit publicity for anti-Biden views; for example, my own blog posts, which have been featured on my author page there for many years, suddenly stopped updating on January 20th – presumably because I noted the electoral fraud so visible during last November’s polls. My views don’t agree with what’s currently politically correct. I’ve heard similar reports from other independent authors about their social media links there. Will Amazon take it so far as to deny its platform to authors who won’t toe the party line? I guess we’ll find out soon enough.
Larry Correia is successful enough as an author that he can afford to express his own opinions, even if Big Tech dislikes them. He’s just stepped away from Facebook because he’s tired of their political correctness. However, most of us don’t have the luxury of his success and enormous public visibility. His fans are enthusiastic and faithful enough to follow him no matter where he goes on social media. Are ours? I suspect . . . not so much.
I can only suggest that we need to start thinking – and very urgently! – about what alternatives are available to us. Our blogs may be deplatformed, our books may no longer be accepted by major vendors, our views may come under public attack for their lack of political correctness. How prepared are we to deal with that? Is it even possible to do so?
I’d be interested to hear from our readers about those questions in Comments. We’re all in the same boat on this issue. Let’s help each other to bail it out, and keep rowing.
EDITED AT 5.40 PM CENTRAL TO ADD: No sooner had I written this article than readers sent me two news headlines, confirming every fear I’d voiced. I give you as evidence:
- Profs effectively seek to ban books from Trump admin officials
- The Mobbing of a Portland Bookstore Reminds Us Why “Fahrenheit 451” Was Written
One has to laugh, if only not to cry…