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Tyler Cowen

Amazon Should Ban Auschwitz Ornaments, But Not Hitler’s Book

There is a simple standard for Amazon to follow when deciding which products to allow on its site.

What’s in the box?

What’s in the box?

Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

After an international outcry that included a Twitter campaign led by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, Amazon has removed Auschwitz-themed Christmas ornaments from its site. Most observers — myself included — were heartened by this decision. Does the world really need these products, or, for that matter, an Auschwitz-themed mouse pad and bottle opener?

Still, the question arises: Where should a company such as Amazon.com Inc. draw the line when it comes to selling third-party merchandise? I propose a standard: Focus on whether the merchandise contributes to further understanding, one way or another, rather than whether it might embody evil.