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Congressman Tom McClintock

Representing the 4th District of California

In Defense of Dissent

October 29, 2009


M. Speaker:

I rise today in defense of dissent.

It is a sad milestone when it becomes necessary to do so.  But the ferocity with which this administration is pursuing its critics in business and journalism is becoming alarming.

This isn’t the first time presidents have lashed out at dissenters.  But when a government has seized the power to commandeer companies, dictate salaries for private citizens, establish government monopolies covering entire sectors of the economy, threaten companies with official retribution for merely communicating with their customers, and as of yesterday, to punish thought itself, it evinces a design and an intent that transcends robust debate and becomes deeply threatening to the freedom that our Constitution protects.

If they can intimidate institutions like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Fox News, they know that others will fall obediently in line.  And that is a frightening prospect.