Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Terrible Tony is displeased with Amazon.com - Or so the cynic says

So Republicans — pro-business at any cost GOPers — think that Congress can determine what a private company will, or will not, sell.
Tony Perkins
Hate Group Leader Tony Perkins (Family Research Council) is using a controversy with Amazon.com to wind-up his supporters. According to Perkins:
If one of the country's biggest retailers is going to ban books, it had better have a good reason. Amazon didn't. The authors it blacklisted weren't inciting violence or promoting terrorist jihad -- they were offering hope to men and women suffering from sexual bondage. But to LGBT activists, it didn't matter what the books actually said or how many people they helped. All the extremists care about is that these authors might undermine their agenda and therefore must be silenced.
Amazon.com does not have the power to “ban books.” Nor are they blacklisting books. Amazon made a decision not to sell books promoting conversion therapy. The books are available elsewhere. Amazon simply chose not to be a conduit of pseudo-science that is ineffective and harmful. Amazon need not have a reason acceptable to Tony Perkins. Perkins is cynically only doing this to piss off FRC's supporters.

Of the four books by Joseph Nicolosi, three are about “reparative therapy;” something that cannot be substantiated as effective or safe through research published to a respected, peer-reviewed academic journal. So-called reparative therapy only exists because Nicolosi, now deceased, was a devout Catholic. It was his attempt to conform medical science to Catholic dogma. Nicolosi failed.

The remaining book of the four is titled A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality. The very premise that parents can affect the sexual orientation of their children is not only offensive. It is absurd and it is not supported by any medical literature. Homosexuality is not a learned behavior.
A hate group leader has the temerity to complain about intolerance:
Of course, to most Americans, the intolerance is nothing new. We've all watched Google, Twitter, YouTube, and others crack down on conservative speech for years. But banning books that could give people freedom? That's taking the intolerance to a whole new level. Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), who's been horrified at the fast pace of censorship in this country, refuses to let Amazon get away with it. "Everybody is entitled to information," she told me on Monday's "Washington Watch." "And what Amazon has done is [block] people from having access to information that they're seeking and that they want. And it's just not right." Censorship, she said, should have no place in a country that values free speech.
This from people who claim that public accommodations have a right to refuse service to LGBTQ people in defiance of valid nondiscrimination laws. Amazon.com has every right to sell, or not sell, goods for any reason that they deem appropriate. Similarly, Google, YouTube and Twitter have every right to enforce an acceptable use policy.

As for interfering with “conservative speech,” Mr. Perkins is not simply a conservative. He is a religious conservative (when it suits him). I do not know what Perkins is referring to with respect to Google but I can say that Twitter, for example, enforces bans on some language that they consider hate speech. This includes anti-Muslim and anti-LGBTQ hate speech. Twitter's platform over Twitter's network at Twitter's expense that people use voluntarily means that Twitter can enforce an Acceptable Use Policy.

It is amusing that Republicans seem to be seeking more regulation when they don't seem to care if we breath polluted air or drink polluted water.

As for Rep. Hartzler, she was a moronic “birther” and is a reliable opponent of LGBTQ rights. Suggesting that a retailer choosing not to sell something is “censorship” is as moronic as her votes to drastically reduce food stamps while self-servingly increasing gratuitous farm subsidies. It is as moronic as claiming that deciding not to sell something is an abridgement of free speech. We do value free speech as something that cannot be constrained by our government.

I want to post comments at Daily Stormer but they keep getting deleted. I wonder if Rep. Hartzler would claim that the neo-Nazi site is guilty of censorship.
Perkins further quoting Rep. Hartzler's hypocrisy:
"We don't want to start having a society where, on controversial issues, people will only have access to one viewpoint.... That's what's made America different than others. [Sexual orientation change efforts may be] an emotional topic, but we need to have more information out there for people so they can make decisions. [U]nwanted sexual attraction is a very difficult thing.... This isn't just a topic that we should throw around the political sphere. We have to remember these are individuals... And if people are struggling with something so personal, and they want more information, they should have access to a book... [to] get some potential help... or see if [it's] something they want to pursue or not. To just to have one group say, 'No, our way is the only way, and we're not going to let any other American hear about another alternative way to think about a condition or a subject' -- that's what we've seen in other countries in the past, and that's a scary place to go."
Hartzler is confused. She is confusing government censorship with the decisions of a private company about what they choose to sell (a very Republican value). Hartzler vigorously and vocally opposes the Equality Act. Therefore, she supports the “right” of businesses to refuse to hire, insure, rent to, promote or serve individuals on the basis of their gender identity or sexual orientation. Why would private companies have the right to discriminate but not the right to decide what merchandise they will, or will not, carry?

Furthermore, Hartzler is suggesting that a book can change or prevent a sexual orientation that she — and Tony Perkins — disapprove of for religious reasons. I would love to know what evidence Ms. Hartzler relied on.
Perkins earns a Godwin:
She's right. There are very few repressive book-banning regimes over the course of history that any American would want to emulate. And yet, as far as Amazon is concerned, these reputable counselors are literally worse than Adolf Hitler -- whose book, ironically, the company has no problem selling. What could possibly make some of the most respected clinicians in their field so dangerous to the general public? FRC's Peter Sprigg thinks it has less to do with the content of their books and more to do with the activists objecting to them. After all, he pointed out, the loudest critic of the titles said he hadn't read a single one!
Dishonest. This has nothing to do with “book-banning regimes.” Moreover, whether or not Nicolosi and others are reputable medical practitioners is questionable. Nicolosi substituted faith-based religious views for evidence-based science. That is not reputable. Nicolosi made this his mission in life for decades. Yet, he never contributed to peer-reviewed research. That is not reputable. Nicolosi was at significant odds with his own professional organization. There is nothing wrong with that. However, without some proof of process, Nicolosi was not reputable.

I do not have to read these books to know that they are based on pseudo-science. I do not have to read these books to know that Nicolosi's own professional organization — the American Psychological Association — concluded, after considerable study, that conversion therapy is ineffective and harmful.
Perkins goes on to quote Peter Sprigg whose only erudition regarding sexuality consists of being a Baptist minister:
"LGBT activists are upset, because they've pushed this idea that people are born gay and can't change in order to promote the idea that this should be treated under civil rights law like a characteristic like race, which you are born with and which can't be changed. So this undermines that. But basically, they are just offended at the idea that there are some people who experience same-sex attractions but don't want to be gay. The idea that there's anybody out there who considers it in any way undesirable to live as a homosexual is very offensive to them. And so that's what they really trying to stamp out is the, the underlying opinion that maybe this is something undesirable."
Sprigg has eloquently confirmed what I have often written. Sprigg is promoting the (non-existent) efficacy of conversion therapy as a means of denying nondiscrimination protection for LGBTQ people. I doubt that anyone is offended that some people do not want to be gay. If someone is gay and self-loathing they receive our pity. Furthermore, no one is “very” offended that someone would choose not to act on their sexual orientation. Sprigg is running out of asses to pull this nonsense from.

While Sprigg speaks for others through projection (he never speaks with LGBTQ people), I will speak for myself. I oppose the existence of conversion therapy because:
  1. It is not proved effective.
  2. It is not supported through scientific rigor.
  3. It is harmful.
  4. It is a pretext for discrimination.
  5. It is based on the false notion that variations in sexual orientation are not natural variations of human sexuality.
  6. It leads parents to incorrectly believe that their gay children are making bad decisions.
  7. It leads children to incorrectly conclude that they are failures when their sexuality does not change.
  8. Homosexuality is not a disease requiring a cure.
Peter Sprigg has tried to claim that six studies confirm the efficacy of conversion therapy. It's wishful thinking to support opposition to nondiscrimination measures.
Perkins returns to Rep. Hartzler:
In other words, these books are an avenue of hope. And Vicky Hartzler thinks it's time for Congress to push for their reinstatement. And it's not as if members won't have the opportunity. "Their representatives are always on the hill, meeting with us about many different things. And so we [need] to weigh in and say, 'We don't appreciate your new policy... that is started down the road of censorship, and we think you should reverse course.'" Add your voice to Vicky's! Contact Amazon at 888-280-4431.
So Republicans — pro-business at any cost GOPers — think that Congress can determine what a private company will, or will not, sell.

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