It started with tobacco, but it won’t end there.
by Walter Olson via Foundation for Economic Education
It’s another step toward criminalizing advocacy: writing in the Washington Post, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) urges the US Department of Justice to consider filing a racketeering suit against the oil and coal industries for having promoted wrongful thinking on climate change, with the activities of “conservative policy” groups an apparent target of the investigation as well.
Sen. Whitehouse cites as precedent the long legal war against the tobacco industry. When the federal government took the stance that pro-tobacco advocacy could amount to a legal offense, some of us warned tobacco wouldn’t remain the only or final target.
To quote what I wrote in The Rule of Lawyers:
In a drastic step, the agreement ordered the disbanding of the tobacco industry’s former voices in public debate, the Tobacco Institute and the Council for Tobacco Research (CTR), with the groups’ files to be turned over to anti-tobacco forces to pick over the once-confidential memos contained therein; furthermore, the agreement attached stringent controls to any newly formed entity that the industry might form intended to influence public discussion of tobacco.
In her book on tobacco politics, Up in Smoke, University of Virginia political scientist Martha Derthick writes that these provisions were the first aspect in news reports of the settlement to catch her attention.
Even widely hated interest groups had routinely been allowed to maintain vigorous lobbies and air their views freely in public debate.
By the mid-2000s, calls were being heard, especially in other countries, for making denial of climate change consensus a legally punishable offense or even a “crime against humanity,” while widely known advocate James Hansen had publicly called for show trials of fossil fuel executives.
Notwithstanding the tobacco precedent, it had been widely imagined that the First Amendment to the US Constitution might deter image-conscious officials from pursuing such attacks on their adversaries’ speech. But it has not deterred Sen. Whitehouse.
And Sen. Whitehouse, along with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Edward Markey (D-MA), has been investigating climate-dissent scholarship in a fishing-expedition investigation that drew a pointed rebuke from then-Cato Institute President John Allison as an “obvious attempt to chill research into and funding of public policy projects you don’t like…. you abuse your authority when you attempt to intimidate people who don’t share your political beliefs.”
This post first appeared at Overlawyered.com.
All unclassified Army and Marine Cops manuals and correspondence courses are products of the US Federal Government. They are NOT subject to copyright and can be freely copied and redistributed.
The Marine Corps Institute (MCI) develops correspondence courses for Marines with all kinds of Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) on all manner of subjects. This is one of those courses.
The print is relatively small because that is the way it was in the original and this is an exact reproduction. Also, as a tribute to the individual (and a touch of reality), you will notice that the editorial pencil marks and underlined passages that were put there by the Marine that took this course. They were intentionally left in the reproduction.
This version of the course was authorized in September of 1984. With the exception the development of Infrared technology, it contains information and techniques that have changed very little since the Vietnam war. These battle proven tactics are as valid today as they were in Quang Nam province in 1968.
They will maintain their validity during the upcoming inevitable event of total economic, political and social collapse. Yours for freedom in our lifetimes. jtl, 419