With Independence Day nearing I wanted to talk briefly about freedom, an idea Americans treasure. But what our government and various industries sometimes tell us -- or don't tell us -- robs us of some of our freedoms.
For example, if you read something that was written by the research director of the Center for Consumer Freedom you'd likely believe him, right? After all, as a consumer you want to be free to make your own decisions. But the Center for Consumer Freedom is actually a front group.
The CCF was created in 1995 with $600,000 from Philip Morris. In return, the CCF was supposed to put a positive spin on cigarettes. That obviously failed, so now the CCF gets money from the meat and dairy, restaurant and alcohol industries, among others. Their job? To discredit any person or organization who threatens the profits of these industries.
Richard Berman, the lawyer and lobbyist who runs the CCF, said in a 1999 interview that his strategy is "to shoot the messenger. ... We've got to attack their [activists'] credibility as spokespersons."
So while groups are trying to inform the public about food issues such as mercury in fish, trans fat, even something as simple as how many calories are in a sub sandwich, the CCF works to discredit these groups and their facts. They also lobby to hide the calorie count of the sandwiches at your favorite sub joint.
To me, this isn't freedom. Freedom is about having all the necessary -- and truthful -- information at your fingertips in order for you to make an informed decision. If you still want that sandwich with over 1,000 calories, that's your choice. If you still want to eat the fish that may be polluted with mercury, that's your choice. But it's our right to be able to make these choices with all of the necessary information given to us first.
So if you see anything from the Center for Consumer Freedom, keep in mind that they're only looking out for the best interest of those organizations that pay them. Contrary to their name, they don't care about consumers or about freedom.