Stifling Dissent, One Publisher at a Time

Earlier this month, Arktos Press, a publishing house associated with European New Right, was dealt a sweeping blow by the censors of ideology. The company stated in a press release on March 8:

In one of the greatest attacks on free speech to date, Arktos, the world’s foremost publisher of New Right and traditionalist literature in the English language, was suddenly de-platformed by the world’s largest book distribution monopoly, resulting in over 430 publications becoming unavailable to the public.

This revelation made me think about our increasingly restricted opportunity to see and read dissenting views even on scholarly topics. One needn’t agree with every line of every book that is published and distributed to understand the value of disseminating ideas freely. We are now witnessing a woke tyranny that is draping even more grimly across Western countries than the Iron Curtain to which Winston Churchill referred in his Fulton, Missouri, speech in 1946.

Unfortunately for its diminishing fortunes, Arktos has distributed unfashionable ideas and is therefore being canceled by Ingram Content, the international book distribution arm of Ingram Industries, a Tennessee-based manufacturing conglomerate. About 15 years ago, Arktos brought out a collection of my published commentaries in paperback, which sold reasonably well. As far as I can tell, that slim volume contains very little that is politically explosive, although book distributors may have decided that my failure to present now-permissible opinions would force them to cease distributing my anthology, together with everything else in the Arktos catalog.

Having looked at the press’s inventory, I found that it specializes in printing books produced by the European right. There is also a neopagan focus to some of its publications and authors, like Guillaume Faye, who popularized the concept of “Archeofuturism,” which for a while enjoyed currency on the European right. But whether I agree with a particular tendency highlighted by Arktos is irrelevant for my argument. What concerns me far more than the availability and distribution of books that may not please me (hardly anything turned out these days by university presses does) is the closing off of one more avenue for the discussion of non-prescribed views in what is starting to look like a Stalinist culture in Western countries.

Since Ingram is intent on saving us from opinions that its censors don’t like, one might call attention to the non-extremist authors whose books these gatekeepers happily provide. For instance, there is Mark Bray’s The Anti-Fascist Handbook, a terrorist guide that Ingram energetically distributes and that the Harvard Book Store continues to advertise online six years after it was initially published. Neither Ingram nor the Harvard Coop objects to peddling terrorist tracts, providing the inciters show proper leftist credentials.

Patrisse Cullors’ An Abolitionist’s Handbook and other works by this leader of BLM, who was caught with her hands in the organization’s till, continue to be distributed by Ingram, but why not? Cullors is the right kind of racist extremist and revolutionary, not a fuddy-duddy antiquarian who dares to reprint the works of Oswald Spengler, Guillaume Faye, and Giulio Evola.

Whimsical reactionaries are presumably bad people who deserve to be deplatformed. After all, there is no moral equivalence between them and BLM, on the board of which Silicon Valley Bank showered $73 million, presumably in support of BLM’s violent activities and racist ideology.

And why shouldn’t Ingram make BLM works available to us? These are people who loot and steal for politically correct reasons. Ingram has no objection to supporting such clients because it wants to be on the winning side of the culture wars.

Let no one underestimate what is happening! The blow against Arktos is more than an assault on an obscure “right-wing” publishing house. It is a well-considered attempt to control political opinion and cultural values by those in power. This undertaking has even led to the government harassment of non-leftist newspapers in Germany and other European countries. We are also observing state-sponsored violence—or at least generous state indulgence of such behavior here and elsewhere in the West—to intimidate opposition to media-inspired state control of speech and thought.

The fact that we pretend it’s all okay because we live in “liberal democracies” and that these regimes are just protecting our “freedom” by stifling dissent is the foundational lie of our degenerate Western political system. What happened to Arktos Press is an ominous sign of the disappearance of intellectual freedom in the West. 

(Update: The original version of this article was updated on March 27 at 3:45 p.m. CDT to provide additional information about book distributor Ingram Content in the fourth paragraph.)

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