If you want to buy Dr. Seuss’s The Cat’s Quizzer on Amazon, it will set you back $628.75 on the secondhand market. If you try to buy it on eBay, you may not find it at all. According to a spokesman for the auction site, “EBay is currently sweeping our marketplace to remove” six Dr. Seuss books recently deemed offensive by politically correct censors.
Dr. Seuss’s cancelation comes on the heels of Amazon’s decision to ban When Harry Became Sally, Ryan T. Anderson’s whimsically titled, scholarly assessment of transgenderism. Amazon has refused to give an explanation for banning Anderson’s book in particular, but has defended past decisions to censor by pointing to its publishing guidelines, according to which the company reserves the right to ban “hate speech…or other material we deem inappropriate or offensive.”
No amount of money can buy you a copy of When Harry Became Sally on Amazon. But a mere $16 will get you a paperback copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf, delivered to your door in two days with “Prime” shipping. If you can’t wait that long, Amazon offers an immediate digital download of the Fuhrer’s manifesto for just $10.99. EBay also offers collectible editions of Mein Kampf alongside thousands of other Nazi souvenirs.
Conservatives have accused the websites of hypocrisy and absurdity, but the decision to permit Hitler and censor Seuss makes perfect sense: the Left faces a far greater threat from The Cat’s Quizzer than it does from Mein Kampf. Dr. Seuss influences impressionable young minds. If his cartoons contradict politically correct fashions, then Dr. Seuss has got to go. Hitler, on the other hands, exerts no influence on the culture beyond a handful of skinheads playacting alternate history. In fact, the Left benefits from the continued publication of Mein Kampf. Only by keeping the Third Reich at the forefront of the American mind do leftists’ calumnies carry any weight when they smear their opponents as Nazis.
Children’s stories help shape what the Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci called the “common sense,” the set of beliefs that people come to hold without critical reflection. Gramsci reprimanded his fellow radicals in the early twentieth century for focusing too much on their abstract theories and losing touch with the common sense. He urged radicals to achieve “cultural hegemony” by amassing social power through a “war of position,” a concept that student radicals of the 1960s would rename “the long march through the institutions.”
I detail this process of cultural transformation and conservatives’ failure to stop it in my upcoming book Speechless: Controlling Words, Controlling Minds, which I’m pleased to report Amazon has not yet banned. For decades, conservatives have mocked the Left for their frivolity and hypocrisy. But political correctness is neither frivolous nor hypocritical. It’s a cogent political strategy that has confounded conservatives for decades and continues to work today.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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