Most critics of Amazon and other world-bestriding technology companies focus on their size and market share, but another problem is their opacity: We still do not know, and may indeed never know, why Amazon has decided to ban Ryan Anderson’s book on the transgender controversy. Inquiries from National Review and from Anderson’s publisher, Encounter Books, have been met with Bourbon haughtiness: Le marché, c’est moi, says Jeff Bezos.
The book, published in 2018, recently has been removed from Amazon, as well as from Amazon subsidiaries Kindle, Audible, and AbeBooks. Amazon maintains, in theory, a policy of contacting publishers and discussing the removal of controversial books before acting, but Amazon has not followed that policy in this case. At least the traditional sort of book-burners felt the need to explain themselves.
Anderson, who is the president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, represents what might be called the Princeton School of social conservatism, and he has published works in association with scholars such as Robert P. George, among others. He is a serious thinker and analyst (after Princeton he took a doctorate in political philosophy from Notre Dame), not a Breitbart troll. “It’s not a bomb-throwing book of red