Should the owner put the Superman comic on the shelf?
Yes, he should.
36.3% (33)
36.3% (33)
No, he shouldn't.
63.7% (58)
63.7% (58)
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Poll: Comic Shop Pulls Anti-LGBT Writer's Work

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Eh sure the owner has the right to pull the comic. Just as all his customers looking for it have the right to just abandon that shop and go elsewhere.

Financially I wonder how badly this will hurt the business. It might be one comic, but if you divert customers to another store, you potentially lose much more.

All an all it strikes me as a lame PR stunt. The guy could just have easily donated profits from that comic to a group of his choice, and credit the donation to Card. (Which would strike me as funny as hell)

*edit* Voted no just because of the business side of things. Its not like the comic book is made by the kkk, the cash Card gets could easily be countered by businesses like him donating the profits on sales. So in the end, the guy is hurting his business and inconveniencing customers.

Imperator_DK:

The harm is miniscule in scope, nothing which can justify engaging in censorship.

This is not censorship; there is no deliberate attempt to hide the material, the shop owner simply doesn't want to support someone he doesn't agree with, which is his right. Who are you to say otherwise?

Censoring material has to do with the actual material, not taking an ideological stance against another person and therefore choosing to not do business with for the sole intention of not encouraging that other persons behavior. I imagine there is probably some questionable messages about gays at some point within the superman comics, however if there isn't than there is no censoring being done, only the refusal to resell a product because you don't agree with the manufacturer. And even if there is anti-gay material within the comics, censorship would be removing just those comics you didn't like the message in, thus censoring what the reader has access too. Either way it's a private business and I respect the right of the business owner to run his business in a way that he sees fit, and if that means he doesn't want to support a bigot by not purchasing a line of comics, that's his choice. He's not obligated to carry superman just as he's not obligated to carry X-Men.

What your saying is like those boycotting Chic Fil-a are attempting to censor people who eat chicken sandwiches at the establishment... They (personally) are boycotting and refusing to support the institution, by no means is that limiting others from obtaining tasty chicken sandwiches without the consent of the angry protesters.

Imperator_DK:
The harm is miniscule in scope, nothing which can justify engaging in censorship.

It's not minuscule, especially considering the situation in the USA in regards to lobbyism and influence of interest groups on actual legislation. Card is a rich man and can add considerable funds to those efforts.
As for censorship, I really don't care for you continually using it as if that's what it was. Self-censorship I'll let slide. Boycott I'm fully on board with. But just because you use the same word that is used to denote government interference in freedom of expression, doesn't mean it's on the same level, okay?

I doubt anyone would blame him if he continued to sell these Superman comics.

Considering the overall backlash over this issue (I'd, for instance, point you to the recent news article here on The Escapist about the artist stepping back as well because of it), I'm doubtful of that, it might very well have an effect in the current climate. Plus, it doesn't really matter what you or I think or even what would really happen. What matters is what he thinks and whether he wants to take the risk or not (in addition to his ethical qualms about carrying the work, of course).

In theory, yes. Doing what one desires to do isn't much of an indicator of subscribing to a principle though; Only when it leads to undesirable consequences, and one still sticks with it, can the decision be said to be motivated by the principle/ethics.

From an external standpoint perhaps (since we cannot see into his mind), but the reverse isn't true, that just because no undesireable consequences follow, it's not principled. At best we could say that we cannot state whether it's due to his principles or not that he took this action, but we certainly cannot say it wasn't because of his principles.

If he desires to not sell the Superman comic because he dislikes the writer, then he's merely going with his own desire. If he doesn't desire it (because it'd decrease revenue), but do it anyway because he believes it to be right, then he's principled. Again, from a pragmatic point of view, principles only come into play where the desire to do right ends.

You are implying that his desire and dislike may not be founded in his principles, such as the principle of equal treatment of people or the principle of standing for values against bigotry, of not supporting bigotry financially or otherwise etc.. From the looks of it, it's simply that you hold the principle of free access to be higher than what his principles might be. It's a question of prioritizing principles, not of being principled or not. Those aren't the only two options.

It's thus not impossible that he holds as a principle that he will not fund things which might lead to harm of gay people. Whether desire or principle, I can certainly sympathize with that.

With you so far.

However, there's another colliding principle in play as well, what could be called "Respect for Autonomy". That one should not stand in the way of people deciding for themselves and making their own choices.

And yet you're arguing for him to reject his own choices. What about his autonomy? I think we've touched upon this earlier, but why would his autonomy be cut short just because he is a retailer? Retailers are generally choosing what to carry and what not to. If carrying Card's work conflicts with his principles, then he shouldn't carry it. Being true to your views is important.

My argument is that only real world harm - violence, discriminatory laws etc. - can justify censorship.

Well, there you go. It's not censorship, but regardless: If he doesn't want to support Card because of his activism regarding NOM, lobbyism for discrimninatory laws may certainly play a role in his reasoning.

Skeleon:
...
It's not minuscule, especially considering the situation in the USA in regards to lobbyism and influence of interest groups on actual legislation. Card is a rich man and can add considerable funds to those efforts.
As for censorship, I really don't care for you continually using it as if that's what it was. Self-censorship I'll let slide. Boycott I'm fully on board with. But just because you use the same word that is used to denote government interference in freedom of expression, doesn't mean it's on the same level, okay?

It's not nearly on the same level as the traditional hard censorship, no, but it's a form of censorship nonetheless. That somethings stems from a commercial source doesn't necessarily mean it has no effect that prevents people from spreading/accessing information, and can hence be termed soft censorship.

For instance, the debate over Super PAC's pumping tons of money into democratic election process, drowning out competing candidates, can be viewed as a complaint about soft censorship as well. And I take the same stance on that as I do here; It should be their right to do so, but it's quite unethical to do.

Also, the term "censorship", in a broader sense, actually do include effort undertaken by non-state entities: Particularly in a US context, where this is the form of it that's most felt, since US freedom of speech protection is extremely efficient when it comes to curtailing the narrower government censorship.

Academic American Encyclopedia:
Censorship is a word of many meanings. In its broadest sense it refers to suppression of information, ideas, or artistic expression by anyone, whether government officials, church authorities, private pressure groups, or speakers, writers, and artists themselves.
...

The idea that "censorship" is terminologically only something the government can ever engage in is primarily European; Where there's a long history of governments engaging in it so frequently and efficiently that nobody else really had to. Times have changed here as well though, with increased corporatism and major private platforms - such as Google and iTunes - wielding ever more influence in regard to what information is made available, and the state ever less. And so must the European terminology, to accurately reflect/extend to the problems it now describe.

Considering the overall backlash over this issue (I'd, for instance, point you to the recent news article here on The Escapist about the artist stepping back as well because of it), I'm doubtful of that, it might very well have an effect in the current climate. Plus, it doesn't really matter what you or I think or even what would really happen. What matters is what he thinks and whether he wants to take the risk or not (in addition to his ethical qualms about carrying the work, of course).

I doubt there's any greater commercial risk carrying this product than all kinds of other comics. Were that the case, far more comic book stores would refuse to carry it.

From an external standpoint perhaps (since we cannot see into his mind), but the reverse isn't true, that just because no undesireable consequences follow, it's not principled. At best we could say that we cannot state whether it's due to his principles or not that he took this action, but we certainly cannot say it wasn't because of his principles.

The external standpoint is what matters, since in reality there's never an omniscient neutral observer present. And I recognized that he might be motivated by principle, I just weren't sure of it (since there's an obvious marketing value in doing this, given the likely target demographic of his shop).

You are implying that his desire and dislike may not be founded in his principles, such as the principle of equal treatment of people or the principle of standing for values against bigotry, of not supporting bigotry financially or otherwise etc.. From the looks of it, it's simply that you hold the principle of free access to be higher than what his principles might be. It's a question of prioritizing principles, not of being principled or not. Those aren't the only two options.

If he's principled, that's indeed the case.

And yet you're arguing for him to reject his own choices. What about his autonomy? I think we've touched upon this earlier, but why would his autonomy be cut short just because he is a retailer? Retailers are generally choosing what to carry and what not to. If carrying Card's work conflicts with his principles, then he shouldn't carry it. Being true to your views is important.

The business of business is business. I'm not one to find corporatism particularly ethical, companies should stick to being commercial, rather than use their bargaining power and resources to influence political matters. Particularly when they force such views on consumers, by denying them the ability to "vote with their wallet".

If this was a company refusing to hire a gay employee, because funding such a person's lifestyle went against the ethical and religious beliefs of their owner, I doubt many here would find him being allowed to be true to his views of particular importance. Many places laws even exist which prevent him from being so. So much for the respect for commercial autonomy.

Well, there you go. It's not censorship, but regardless: If he doesn't want to support Card because of his activism regarding NOM, lobbyism for discrimninatory laws may certainly play a role in his reasoning.

And if it does, I respect that as his principle. There's simply a more basic principle he's running afoul of.

I think I'll bow out here because we don't seem to be going anywhere from this point. In your evaluation, the free access principle is more important than whatever principles he may hold that could have led him to do this. In my evaluation, it's not, but his personal ones are, if he so decides. I'm not sure what else to say from this point because our disagreement rests on that very basal difference.

Skeleon:
I think I'll bow out here because we don't seem to be going anywhere from this point. In your evaluation, the free access principle is more important than whatever principles he may hold that could have led him to do this. In my evaluation, it's not, but his personal ones are, if he so decides. I'm not sure what else to say from this point because our disagreement rests on that very basal difference.

Well yes, it's pretty much a rehash of out disagreement over whether Neo-Nazi propaganda should be available for people to decide upon for themselves. And as the internet has - for now - pretty much undermined all these censorship efforts in the western world, its more a principled discussion than a practical one.

Words are indeed worthless when spoken across ethical paradigms. I'll stick to supporting efforts to make everything from Falungong to Neo-Nazi material available on US servers for whomever might seek it, and this shopkeeper can stick to using his business to promote political agendas as well.

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