Senators' Letter Is a Violation of ExxonMobil's Freedom of Speech
Dec 8, 2006
Irvine, CA--On October 27 Sens. Rockefeller (D., W.Va.) and Snowe (R., Maine) sent a letter to ExxonMobil's CEO requesting that ExxonMobil end its financial assistance and support of groups and individuals who reject global warming claims, and urging it to "publicly acknowledge both the reality of climate change and the role of humans in causing or exacerbating it."
"This letter constitutes an outrageous violation of ExxonMobil's right to free speech," said Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute. "Whether or not one believes there is a threat of catastrophic global warming, the government has no right to tell ExxonMobil what ideas it should advocate or fund.
"Free speech means the freedom to promote any idea one wishes without the danger of suppression or punitive action by the government. When two United States senators declare that a company has 'manufactured controversy, sown doubt, and impeded progress with strategies all-too reminiscent of those used by the tobacco industry for so many years,' that is clearly a thinly veiled threat, and any sensible organization must regard it as such.
"Observe that the senators do not offer a single fact intended to convince ExxonMobil of the truth of their position. Their message is not 'agree with us because,' but 'agree with us or else.' That is a message appropriate to a dictator, not to the representatives of a free nation.
"Defenders of free speech must stand up against this vicious attempt to intimidate ExxonMobil into embracing the global warming cause, and declare that the government has no business telling Americans what they should think or say."
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