I asked the following question:

Title: Why protecting dominating ideology through book burning is condemned, while encouraged when done through deplatforming?

When hearing about politicians calling to remove online content as potentially harmful to dominating ideology, when reaching contentious conclusions on touchy subjects (example: brain sex differences, differences in crime rates between ethnic groups, evolution of cognitive capabilities in homo sapiens in last 100k years) I started to wonder how exactly such position could be compatible with condemning book burning. (Yes, I know in theory justification for removal is somewhat different, but in the same way the Roman Catholic Church was not saying that was protecting its power and influence, but claimed some noble reasons like protecting people from heresy would lead their souls to eternal damnation)

  • It's not about past suppression of scientific theories, as big part of nowadays contentious views are built on data from top per review journals. From sheer number of removed content, even by pure chance, some of them should be guessed partially right. Moreover, right now we're not expecting past condemned theories to be perfectly correct, as Galileo was postulating planets orbiting Sun on circular orbits, justifying circle being the perfect shape.

  • It's hard to use argument of special need for social stability, as printing press, Bible translated in to national languages and new ideas how interpret it undermined prior order and plunged Europe in to centuries of bloody religious wars. (if anything, as people civilised a bit in last few centuries and lean towards less bloody ways of solving disputes, I'd say this argument of trying preserve social stability on every price would have much more valid point in the times of the Inquisition)

  • It's not simply idea of history written by the winners or we happen to agree with views that were suppressed, as burning of gnostic books by early church is still consider as wrong, even though there are nowadays effectively no adherents to this Christianity-like religion.

  • The issue of ownership of said books is not the determining factor, because technically speaking during book burning in Nazi Germany, it was mostly a government deciding to adjust book selection in government funded libraries to select books more suitable to new state ideology. So if we say that is natural that a company is aggressively filtering content as improper, it would be a bit tricky to deny same right to government in relationship to public libraries. (Thus within this frame of reference they could not be easily condemned for removing those books, but for technicalities like doing it the most tasteless way possible or mocked for removing books that actually could be useful for their own regime, like example some weird physics described by Albert Einstein)

  • It would be hubris to use an argument, that all those people in the past were wrong, but we're finally right. The problem is that our ideology has been in constant flux in last few centuries, so regardless what Fukuyama says, it's a bit risky to claim that we reached the end of history. In no way it says that it would make any of suppressed views vindicate, could rather as look as reasonable as book burning during religious wars.

I haven't seen any recent Western politician openly encouraging book burning, but there were plenty encouraging deplatforming of views that they disagree with. Am I missing any key factor, that actually distinguish those two ways of trying to protect dominating ideology, except technological differences in spread and suppression of undesired information and opinion?

Philip, with his usual amount of assuming good faith, closed it and accused me of: "I'm sorry, but it is very obvious that you asked this question to promote a political agenda."

I mean, when thinking about it, I indeed faced a paradox, as I failed to find a good argument why it's not only ok to deplatform people with contentious views, but for example, even though there were violent rioters interrupting Charles Murray's lectures, no one was calling for milder form of protest, like making a bonfire out of his books.

I did a basic research in order not be accused of asking a question that I could have easily googled, nor be given a basic, not well thought of answer (I learnt to do so on worldbuilding).

I don't see how this question is supposed to promote any particular ideology. (unless very indirectly, if user Philip is suggesting, that some ideologies got hit disproportionally more by book burning or deplatforming than other) For me those two concepts ("book burning" and "deplatforming") when think about it deeply are bit too close to feel comfortable, thus, judging that social perception is diametrically different, I simply wanted to learn whether there are some fundamental differences that I overlooked.

  • 4
    First, is the comparison to book burning even necessary? I'd say you have a good question about deplatforming hidden somewhere in there, why spoil it with an unnecessary and obviously controversial comparison? Second, you need to back up the claim that plenty Western politicians encourage deplatforming of views that they disagree with. It's a non-trivial claim, that sits at the very core of your question. Sources, please. – yannis Oct 24 '19 at 17:44
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    Another issue is the wall of argument in your question. Regardless of what they are, it makes it seem like you want to argue for a certain point. I think you'd have had a better time if you simply asked the question instead of buttressing it with arguments in the question – divibisan Oct 24 '19 at 18:06
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    @divibisan I already got a rather low quality answer in comments explaining that's a private private business so can do with their property what they please. While in a way reasonable, it does not explain why we condemn German state under Nazi government for burning books that were technically speaking its property. If anything, it shows that explanation was still not precise enough. – Shadow1024 Oct 24 '19 at 19:02

As I said in a comment under the question, I thought it was belaboring the comparison with the Nazis.

Frankly deplatforming can mean a number of things, so it wasn't even very clear what the question was talking about.

So basically the whole thing read like "the left = [book burning] nazis, amirite?".

Interestingly, I was able find a much longer essay that largely mirrors your talking points on the "Zero Hedge" website, which according to Wikipedia has some alt-right leanings.

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    What do you mean by "talking points"? In this particular meta question the author is making a cohesive argument. That's not what is generally meant by "talking points." If you found something else which actually makes different points, then the use of the defamism is even less justified. – grovkin Oct 26 '19 at 9:39

Might be a national thing.

The current moderator is from Germany, where in 2019 any question that even potentially glances or alludes to its mid-20th century history from some oblique angle is regarded with perfect skepticism. The lessons and ramifications of that portion of German and World history are considered as settled and factual as physics or mathematics, and there's never any useful purpose, (and much harm in), going backwards.

(In the USA where I live the above quoted question would be just fine, even if the questioner were known to be the devil himself, or a fool, a fool possessed by the devil, etc.. It doesn't matter who asks it, or even why, a question can be good in spite of origin or motive, and even bad questions can be useful or interesting.)

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