Earlier today, Campaign for Liberty president, Norm Singleton, spoke at a press conference surrounding the TTB's regulation on NTX. Norm's remarks are below:
Thank you for that introduction and thank you everyone in attendance. Campaign for Liberty is proud to support Bellion Sprits’ fight against the Alcohol, Tobacco and Tax Bureau (TTB)’s censorship. We hope that Bellion is successful in its petition, and we also hope Congress will do its duty and pass legislation forbidding TTB, the FDA, the FTC, and all other federal agencies from censoring truthful health claims.
Despite the claims of modern “progressive” judges, law professors, politicians, and attorneys, the First Amendment makes no distinction between commercial, political, or other types of speech. It simply says the federal government cannot restrict speech. Therefore, laws censoring speech aimed at convincing someone to purchase a certain product are just as unconstitutional as laws censoring speech aimed at convincing someone to vote for a certain candidate.
By prohibiting Bellion from informing consumers of the potential NTX’s potential health benefits, TTB is making it impossible for the American people to make an informed choice that could improve their health. Apparently the bureaucrats at TTB think Justice Brandies was wrong and darkness, not sunshine, is the best disinfectant.
TTB’s censorship will not just affect Bellion sprits and its potential consumers. TTBs actions will also discourage entrepreneurs from creating new compounds like NTX that could improve our health. After all, what business would invest time, money, and talent developing a new product or improving an existing product if the government is going to prohibit them from advertising their innovations?
TTB claims that they must restrict our access to this truthful information “for our own good.” This is highly dubious for several reasons. First, as we have already seen, consumers are harmed by TTB’s censorship.
Second, the fact that TTB has approved other labels that arguably contain potentially misleading health information suggests TTB may not be a disinterested guardian of the public interest. Instead, like many (or most or all) federal agencies, TTB has been "captured” by the very business interests it is supposed to regulate, and now acts to serve the interests of large corporations.
Bellion Sprits’ use of NTX could, for obvious reasons, give this small company a competitive edge over their larger, more established competitors. Is it really so unreasonable to suspect that TTB may be motivated by a desire to protect large companies, given the agency’s inconsistent applications of its rules regarding product labeling?
Whether consumers benefit from TTB’s actions is irrelevant. In a free society, government bureaucrats should never have the power to prevent consumers from obtaining truthful information about any subject whether it is an ingredient in their vodka or the voting records of their Representatives.
TTB’s liquor store censorship is just one example of government bureaucrats denying consumers access to truthful information. A victory for Bellion sprits would be a first step towards ending this type of unconstitutional, anti-consumer, and anti-liberty assault on the First Amendment by an out-of-control federal bureaucracy. Therefore all Americas who value liberty, whether or not they drink vodka, should join Campaign for Liberty in standing with Bellion sprits.