Hawley’s Book Bounces Back After Cancellation

In his book, the Missouri Republican argues that digital giants like Facebook, Twitter, Google, and YouTube have a monopoly over information, and use it to censor conservatives.

AP/John Raoux
Senator Hawley at the Conservative Political Action Conference on February 24, 2022. AP/John Raoux

Senator Hawley’s “The Tyranny of Big Tech” will be brought out in paperback April 5. For the publisher, Regnery, the new edition caps a successful campaign of championing a title that was almost felled by cancel culture. 

Last year Simon & Schuster, citing a belief in Mr. Hawley’s connection to the January 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol, canceled the book.

“After witnessing the disturbing, deadly insurrection that took place on Wednesday in Washington, D.C.,” the publisher said at the time, “Simon & Schuster has decided to cancel publication of Senator Josh Hawley’s forthcoming book.” It went on to claim that it didn’t come to the decision “lightly.”

This was catnip to Regnery, the venerable conservative colophon. 

“As soon as we heard that Simon & Schuster had canceled Senator Hawley’s book, we knew it belonged at Regnery,” says the publisher’s president, Thomas Spences. “The cancellation got a lot of attention, and as soon as we announced that Regnery had picked it up, preorders poured in.”

In conversations that took place in person and via email, Mr. Spence argues that “Simon & Schuster guaranteed the book’s success by canceling it. We couldn’t have paid for more effective promotion.” He notes that the book made the New York Times bestseller list, “which is difficult for a conservative book to do.”

In his book, the Missouri Republican argues that digital giants like Facebook, Twitter, Google, and YouTube have a monopoly over information, and use it to censor conservatives, push a political view, and get customers addicted to their products. “Big Tech works relentlessly to force individuals into its ecosystem of addiction, exhibitionism, and fear of missing out,” Mr. Hawley surmises.

Big Tech, he suggests,“seeks to create its own social universe and draw all of life into its orbit. But the real social world, the life of family and neighborhood — the authentic communities that sustain authentic togetherness — can act as a counterweight to Big Tech’s ambitions. They can act as what they always have been, as havens for individuals and as training grounds for citizens.” 

The paperback edition will be published with a new cover. 

“We are devoting a lot of promotional effort to the paperback,” Mr. Spence says, “and I think it will do well. We’re also publishing a new book by Senator Hawley early next year. Based on his provocative speech at the National Conservatism conference last November, it is about the necessity for the republic of virtuous and vigorous manhood.”

“The left wants to define traditional masculinity as toxic,” Mr. Hawley said in the speech. “They want to define the traditional masculine virtues — things like courage, and independence, and assertiveness — as a danger to society.” 

Mr. Spence believes that publishing is emerging from a period when “there was a flurry of cancellations and fears of cancellations.”  

In January 2021, 500 American authors and literary professionals signed a letter calling on publishers not to sign book deals with members of the Trump administration. The letter was written by the author Barry Lyga and signed by such writers as Celeste Ng, Holly Black, and Chuck Wendig.

Titled “no book deals for traitors,” it argued that “publishing has chased the money and notoriety of some pretty sketchy people, and has granted those same people both the imprimatur of respectability and a lot of money through sweetheart book deals.”

Mr. Lyga told Publishers Weekly: “Traditionally, members of an outgoing administration can — and do — rely on the cushion of a fat book contract with a healthy advance. In the case of the Trump administration and its history of outrages, lies, and incitement to insurrection, we cannot allow this to stand. No one should be enriched for their contribution to evil.”

Mr. Spence found it appalling. “Several hundred self-described ‘publishing professionals,’ mostly youngsters, issued their own woke fatwah denouncing everyone affiliated in any way with the Trump administration,” he says. Their statement “identified a class of persons who were to be blacklisted because of their presumed connection with unfavored political views.”

“Remind me,” he says, “didn’t we used to have a name for that sort of behavior?”

The New York Sun

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