This is worrying. Not that Amazon has to do business with anyone at all, but that Amazon, like other big tech companies, is talking out of both sides of its mouth. It wants the ability to restrict service based upon its beliefs, but not only does it refuse to support others who argue such, but it behaves as though it does have such rights, and then issues excuses as a defense. How can they get away with this while a sole proprietor Christian baker (with more justification) cannot? Amazon has the pockets to fight any brushfire legal battles like this; Amazon can grease the palms of state governments to look the other way and threaten to pull its business. Amazon, and big tech generally, have a lot more leverage than the individual, and in a “post-truth” society of laws enforced upon whims, that is all they need to do as they wish.
Amazon, like Google, Mozilla, and other big tech companies, have evolved from marketplaces into private courtrooms. Once they provided simply a platform or a marketplace, but increasingly they want to make their services available only to those they esteem. The more this happens, the more public dissatisfaction with them grows. Do they think that they are indispensable, so people can suffer any train of abuses, no matter how long, and no matter how objectionable? That’s the curious thing. In a country founded by those willing to sacrifice for freedom, why does anyone think that Amazon must be around tomorrow or next year? As Amazon challenged, weakened, and ate up traditional retailers (like K-Mart), another business could do the same to them. They are not invulnerable, and they also face the threat of regulation the larger they grow as well.
An exemplar of the marketplace to courtroom phenomenon is Target. Target is a company that is suffused with leftist positions, which they have chosen to promote despite incurring losses and bad press. In order to do business in many states, they choose to accept the positions mandated by leftist states as a cost of doing business in that state and then has pressured other states to go along. They wish to deal with all states the same way to keep costs low. Thus, Georgia ends up suffering agitation and lobbying by leftist corporate lawyers because Target had to accept certain positions from New York in order to do business there. When a moral issues arises for the state, Target threatens to pull its businesses out unless Georgia thinks like New York. States often fall for this blackmail because they fear losing any income stream and they fear the ridicule of the leftist press.
Amazon is proceeding down the trail to failure burned by Target. We haven’t seen any content restriction from them yet (except Nazi memorabilia), but that will come. Pride goes before a fall and Amazon’s pride is just now starting to show its ugly flowering.