After the Biden Administration omitted legendary children’s book author Dr. Seuss from “Read Across America Day,” the online auction site and marketplace eBay has reportedly barred the sale of a number of books written by Dr.Suess. After a user tried to sell a copy of “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” eBay removed their listing and hit them with this message:
We had to remove your listing because it didn’t follow our Offensive material policy. Listings that promote or glorify hatred, violence, or discrimination aren’t allowed.
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What activity didn’t follow the policy[:]
Dr. Seuss Enterprises has stopped the publication of this book due to its negative portrayal of some ethnicities. As a courtesy, we have ended your item and refunded your selling fees, and as long as you do not relist the item, there will be no negative impact to your account. Please review our Offensive Materials Policy prohibits this item for more information.
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You can’t relist items we’ve ended. Please ensure your current and future listings follow this policy.
In the wake of Dr.Seuss’s tragic cancellation, Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced the end for publication of “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” “If I Ran the Zoo,” “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!,” “Scrambled Eggs Super!,” and “The Cat’s Quizzer.” Apparently, the books portrayed “people in ways that are hurtful and wrong” and “ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ catalog represents and supports all communities and families.”
“Dr. Seuss Enterprises listened and took feedback from our audiences including teachers, academics and specialists in the field as part of our review process,” the company told the Associated Press. “We then worked with a panel of experts, including educators, to review our catalog of titles.”
Without publication, auction sites like eBay would have experienced a massive boom of demand as users rush to get their hands on the canceled books but, with eBay’s swift shutdown of sales, Dr.Seuss’s classics could totally disappear in the near future. Worth mentioning, Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” considered one the evilest books ever conceived, still can be bought and sold on the site while Dr.Seuss has been deemed a step too far.
Though the notion of “cancel culture” may have plagued conservative circles for years, only with the Biden administrations’ rather indifferent disposition towards socially mandated censorship has led to some ridiculous headlines in the past few weeks, namely the Dr.Seuss drama. In a historical sense, book burnings and censorship of certain ideas and properties have existed for nearly all of human history. Cancel culture differs only in that ostracizing disagreeable ideas occurs on a social level, not a legal or administrative level.
But, often as conservatives who champion free speech above all, we forget cancel culture can be boiled down to effectively a public rejection of certain ideas or properties that don’t align with social values. Lost in the right’s obsession of free speech and the free exchange of ideas, we have sacrificed the potential of public opinion to eliminate ideas that should not be allowed in civil society, too caught up in a laissez-faire disposition on how others live. How to decide the values of our culture and how we orient our collective outlooks on certain ideas reveals itself in what our culture expels.
As conservatives, we must harness this power of public opinion as a tool in the culture war, expunging evil that has permeated our social fabric, such as pedophilia accepted as a sexual orientation or the notion that America is irredeemably racist and should be burned to the ground. Unfortunately, thanks to conservatives’ aloof approach to public opinion, the Left has wrangled down “cancel culture,” subverting public opinion into a tool of power to eradicate ideas they simply don’t like.
Conservatives must accept some things must be “canceled.” That they are some things simply unallowable in our society if we wish to live as Americans and preserve our nation. Until then, the Left will continue to misuse the power and cancel Dr.Seuss until eventually coming for conservatism itself.