The documentary began airing on PBS in May 2020 and streaming on Amazon in October. But it was taken down by Amazon on Feb. 8, according to the director, Michael Pack, and he has never been told why. “Our distributor, who’s the one who made the deal with Amazon, has repeatedly asked them for explanations but they haven’t given any,” Mr. Pack told me by phone this week. “They have the right to pull anything from their site, and they don’t have to give an explanation. So it’s not a contract violation. But many people have complained, and they haven’t put it back up.”
If this episode sounds familiar, it’s because Amazon pulled a similar stunt last fall. Eli Steele’s “What Killed Michael Brown ?”—a critique of liberal social policies that was written and narrated by his father, the race scholar Shelby Steele —was slated to stream on Amazon in October, then held up for reasons the company never fully explained. Amazon eventually relented and made the film available, but only after these pages weighed in and made a fuss.
But the real kicker is Krugman’s contention that “an excess of choice is taking a psychological toll on many Americans, even when they don’t end up experiencing disaster.”
Nonsense. Krugman is pushing an only slightly more sophisticated version of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) complaints about the wide variety of deodorants available at any American supermarket. Or, if you prefer a more academic take, he’s peddling a warmed-over version of The Paradox of Choice, in which psychologist Barry Schwartz argued that a proliferation of choices “no longer liberates” but rather “debilitates” and “might even be said to tyrannize.”
That claim has been challenged in subsequent social experiments, including one that reviewed 50 experiments into “choice overload” and found no evidence to support the idea. In fact, a 2009 study found that increasing the number of choices actually leads to people making more reasonable—not riskier or more indulgent—choices, because it is more difficult to justify the outlandish option when so many sensible ones exist.
Under the Biden administration’s Wait in Mexico policy, immigrants and families dumped back into Mexico would not even receive a hearing date to await. They do not enter the asylum process at all. All they get from the Biden administration—beyond a push in the back on their way out the door—is the vague promise that at some undefined future time this administration will do… something to make things better.
Because DHS is hardly accepting in any of those returned under Remain in Mexico (despite celebrating ending it), the Wait in Mexico returnees are right now sitting with them in literally the same “squalor” that Biden denounced during his campaign. Biden insisted that he opposed making anyone wait for asylum in another country, and yet here is his DHS secretary announcing a worse version of the same idea.