T. Elliot Gaiser responds to the liberal desire to protect the innocent from the allegedly coercive power of marketing.
The progressive vision of the world seems to hold unshakable faith in expert studies as revealing the truth. This vision also assumes that people, being naturally good and rational after Rousseau’s doctrines, will always make the right choice if they have the right information. The progressive views supposedly false information that could lead people to choose something the experts have ruled the wrong choice (e.g. advertising by Pepsi, or Tobacco companies for that matter) as a dire threat to freedom. It’s like good marketing for something the experts don’t like is coercion in the progressive mind.
But a free society will not long endure if every time “studies” say particular behavior is harmful, the federal government is called in to curb free speech because it might influence people in a direction contrary to contemporary science. Even the most teeth-destroying sugar water supplier deserve to make an argument for their product. To paraphrase Voltaire’s phrase, I may disagree vehemently with your advertising, but I’ll defend to the death your right to advertise.
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