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Saturday, January 9, 2021

Free Speech Loses With Senator’s Cancelled Book

 Simon & Schuster has once again cancelled a book it had contracted for with an outspoken, well-known right-wing nut. The publisher, recently sold to Penguin Random House, is a disgrace to the book industry, and should be shamed by those who believe in free speech and the highest institutions and principles that govern a democracy. 

Let me begin this by saying the writer in question, US Senator Josh Hawley, is an asshole. But, like murderers who warrant the right to a defense attorney, despicable human beings have a right to publish their views, however vulgar.

I believe President Trump led a seditious mob to storm the Capitol, leading to death, destruction, dysfunction, and disgrace. As he ginned up a crowd of home-grown terrorists, equally unpatriotic Senator Hawley led a scandalous attempt to lead a coup inside the Capitol, espousing unfounded conspiracy theories that the election was stolen. He and the nefarious US Senator Ted Cruz sought to overturn the election results by asking Congress to ignore state certified election results. No proof has ever been presented by Trump and his cultish followers. Dozens of court cases at all levels, state election commission hearings, and recounts turned up with... nothing. 

So, assuming Senator Hawley is a loser who spews many views that the majority of Americans would disagree with, Simon & Schuster should not squash the free flow of ideas and exchange of views. It is up to the reader to decide the merits of such a book, both on account of whether to buy it — or enjoy reading it. Let the book critics, social media, traditional media, political forces, reader reviewers, and the entire world debate, analyze, and praise or jeer the book’s content. But don’t deny anyone a chance to read this book.

Publishers fail to publish more books reflecting alternate or conservative views. They are missing out on profit windfalls and do a disservice to the reading public. Good triumphs over evil when ignorant views are put up for public scrutiny. Silencing someone doesn’t make you right. 

Debating and defeating stupid views is what does society more good than harm. Ideological ignorance doesn’t go away just because they don’t have a book forum to espouse them. No, instead, ignorance spreads underground, contaminating the minds and souls of the ignorant behind closed doors. Words can only infect others when they go unchecked. A book puts the confessed machinations of lunatics on display, put on a pedastal to be publicly whipped, undermined, and refuted.

The PC police have gone beyond the boundaries of normalcy. The cancel culture can’t just annihilate other ideas, views, or stories by not permitting them to publicly exist. You can’t deny a murdering scumbag the opportunity to go to trial and speak in his or defense, right? Well, even disastrous, dangerous, offensive, lie-fueled, hate-filled thoughts need to be aired in order to debunk them — or embrace them in the cases where the minority viewpoint makes sense.

A confident leader or nation can handle criticism, challenge, or calls for its elimination, provided there is a forum to air, challenge, and correct such grievances. A publisher should not fear backlash for publishing a book its staff disdains or that the public even finds offensive. Democracy is better than that. Isn’t it?

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Brian Feinblum, the founder of BookMarketingBuzzBlog, can be reached at  brianfeinblum@gmail.com.  You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2021. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby  http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America. For more information, please consult: linkedin.com/in/brianfeinblum

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