Whitehouse’s Turn to Fascism

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I’m with Kevin Williamson on this stunning Washington Post op-ed by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.  It’s dispiriting to read the very wealthy senator from Rhode Island crossing well into the range of McCarthyism, if not fascism.  I mean, look at this:

To be clear: I don’t know whether the fossil fuel industry and its allies engaged in the same kind of racketeering activity as the tobacco industry. We don’t have enough information to make that conclusion. Perhaps it’s all smoke and no fire. But there’s an awful lot of smoke.

The suggestion is clear.  Laying the background for the tobacco industry part of the comparison, Whitehouse writes, “Thankfully, the government had a playbook, too.”  And “finally, through the discovery process, government lawyers were able to peel back the layers of deceit and denial and see what the tobacco companies really knew all along about cigarettes.”  That’s what the senator wants to attempt to do to organizations that express skepticism about climate change alarmism.

To what couldn’t this principle apply?  Maybe same-sex marriage advocates have studies showing that children do just as well without their own moms and dads.  Start a Congressional investigation!  Or maybe the gun industry is conspiring to hide evidence that eliminating the Second Amendment would make Americans safer.  Or maybe Grover Norquist has buried a report proving that high taxes are good for the economy and freedom.  Or (and here’s the goldmine) internal memos among Republican groups might prove a big-dollar conspiracy to fool the American people into believing that the Democrats have become a party of ultra-wealthy radicals who have no interest in helping average Americans prosper and who lack the competence to achieve that goal, even if they believed in it.

Maybe, maybe, maybe.  We’ll never know if we don’t start investigating every conservative organization.

This is not a difficult one.  Even people (including journalists) who agree with all of the senator’s political positions should be able to see that.  Whitehouse is way off the deep end, here, and he ought to be called on it.  (But he won’t be.)



  • D. S. Crockett

    “I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such: because I think a General Government necessary for us, and there is no Form of Government but what may be a Blessing to the People if well-administred; and I believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a Course of Years and can only end in Despotism as other Forms have done before it, when the People shall become so corrupted as to need Despotic Government, being incapable of any other.”
    ― Benjamin Franklin

  • guest

    “To be clear: I don’t know whether the fossil fuel industry and its
    allies engaged in the same kind of racketeering activity as the tobacco
    industry. We don’t have enough information to make that conclusion.
    Perhaps it’s all smoke and no fire. But there’s an awful lot of smoke.” Are you just jealous that you didn’t think of this first? This is typical of the innuendo-laced writing that you are known for, Justin.

    • Mike678

      Again, ramp up your critical thinking–4th grade is harder than third.

    • Max

      I know you won’t post an IP for these guests Justin but we would know if it was the same old stalker or at the least, you’d make them spend their money on gas to find the nearest hotspot…unless of course they’re Town workers on Town time in a Town facility.

      • Justin Katz

        This one’s advanced to the level of anonymous proxy servers.

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