Genius: Regulatory Czar Cass Sunstein spends 30 pages describing how government should suppress free speech without mentioning First Amendment
posted at 8:01 pm on January 21, 2010 by directorblue
President Obama’s Regulatory Czar is a well-known law professor named Cass Sunstein, who regularly exhibits a troubling disregard for the Constitution. Last year Sunstein co-authored a 30-page paper on the government’s obligations to combat conspiracy theories (i.e., free speech). Among the “conspiracy theories” that Sunstein would have the government rebut:
• “The theory of global warming is a deliberate fraud.”
• “The 1996 crash of TWA flight 800 was caused by a … missile.”
In this discussion of public speech, Sunstein fails to mention the Constitution, the First Amendment or the Bill of Rights — even once.
What can government do about conspiracy theories? Among the things it can do, what should it do? We can readily imagine a series of possible responses. (1) Government might ban conspiracy theorizing. (2) Government might impose some kind of tax, financial or otherwise, on those who disseminate such theories. (3) Government might itself engage in counterspeech, marshaling arguments to discredit conspiracy theories. (4) Government might formally hire credible private parties to engage in counterspeech. (5) Government might engage in informal communication with such parties, encouraging them to help. Each instrument has a distinctive set of potential effects, or costs and benefits, and each will have a place under imaginable conditions. However, our main policy idea is that government should engage in cognitive infiltration of the groups that produce conspiracy theories, which involves a mix of (3), (4) and (5).
…we suggest a distinctive tactic for breaking up the hard core of extremists who supply conspiracy theories: cognitive infiltration of extremist groups, whereby government agents or their allies (acting either virtually or in real space, and either openly or anonymously) will undermine the crippled epistemology of those who subscribe to such theories…
…Some conspiracy theories create serious risks. They do not merely undermine democratic debate; in extreme cases, they create or fuel violence. If government can dispel such theories, it should do so. One problem is that its efforts might be counterproductive, because efforts to rebut conspiracy theories also legitimate them. We have suggested, however, that government can minimize this effect by rebutting more rather than fewer theories, by enlisting independent groups to supply rebuttals, and by cognitive infiltration designed to break up the crippled epistemology of conspiracy minded groups and informationally isolated social networks…
How could an attorney and law professor omit the First Amendment issues inherent in a discussion of the government suppressing free speech which — in the case of global warming fraud — sometimes proves true?
Simple. He’s another of President Obama’s leftist hacks who concerns himself only with helping the government amass more power at the expense of our founding documents.