“Laissez faire” is a French term that means “to let alone”. It is something that we wish Laissez Faire Books would take to heart. Please leave us consumers alone! Free speech is a good thing and SanDiegoCAN strongly encourages it. What causes us some measure of heartburn is infoscam marketers who spew wildly controversial and unsubstantiated assertions, dressed up as facts, and then charge people for these faux-facts. Laissez Faire is, more often than not, guilty of this kind of “repurposing” of facts in order to take your money under false pretenses. If not a scam, it certainly qualifies as a rip-off.
This on-line marketer, headed by an outspoken Libertarian named Jeffrey Tucker, has a very strong political point of view: “distrust government and large corporations.” OK, we can live with this; there is even some truth to it. But this compellling message distorts its view of the world to a degree of dubiousness that would make even the most skeptical among us say: “Aw, C’mon. Really?”
For example, recently, Laissez Faire Books has turned it’s attention to GMO foods. This is an important topic that has been covered by SanDiegoCAN in a number of articles in which we raise concerns about GMO long-term health effects and the need for labeling of these genetically-engineered foods. It is a controversial issue and reasonable minds can differ about it. However, put in the hands of the propagandists at Laissez Faire Books,GMO suddenly becomes a “shocking” scandal about systematic poisoning of its citizens by the U.S. government conspiring with “Big Food”. Its expose of GMO food censorship serves as a launching pad into suppressed data on skyrocketing cancer rates and “secret killers”. Infamous political propagandists lke Joseph Goebbels (the Nazi PR leader), Joseph McCarthy (the anti-Communist crusader) and Fredrich Engels (the promoter of Marxist economics) — if they were alive — would be rolling their eyeballs and shaking their heads after reading some of the claims made by Laissez Faire “editor” Doug Hill. Writing as if a graduate from the Glenn Beck School of Journalism, Hill declares that a 600% increase in autism can be tied directly to GMO foods…..and then fails to back up this “shocking” claim with even an iota of substantiation. Almost every paragraph in Laissez Faire’s GMO rant contains some “hot button” point designed to evoke a strong emotional response…..regardless of whether it is true or not.
Now, none of this would be quite so disturbing if not for the big money ask scattered throughout Hill’s dystopian diatribe. In exchange for $49 a year, Hill offers FIVE free books including an expose about GMO foods. The sad part is that the books might have some merit if not for Hill’s malicious disregard for facts. He is offering a book about vertical gardening (which is a legitimate and growing form of urban agriculture which SanDiegoCAN has promoted), and how to protect against yourself against “Big Data” companies (another important issue with policy implications). But the way in which Laissez Faire Books has distorted the GMO debate promises that almost every other issue it touches will be heavy on propanganda and light on facts. For this, you are asked to pay almost $50 annually.
If you find yourself tempted to purchase a newsletter, book or anything alleging facts from Laissez Faire Books, we encourage you to read up on this on-line “publisher” and its owners. Ethan Glover has written a fairly extensive analysis of Liberty.me, the owner of Laissez Faire Books. He’s concluded they are scam artists. We might not use the term “scam” but they are certainly offering dubious information at a very high premium. Were this information free, we’d view it as dubious opinion but part of the what makes America great. At $50 a year, it’s a rip-off.
Glover also points out that once you buy anything from Liberty.me or Laissez Faire, you’ll be pitched with even more dubious publications. The Laissez Faire Letter, which is the cheapest “plan” for LFB, is a very short, two-page item that looks like a newspaper but just has a few blogs that are freely available on the LFB website. The blogs themselves are often rewritten from the past articles published by Liberty.me. This is an important point, as we’ve documented that once you give “infoscammers” your money, you’ll be tagged as “meat”. When they know that you’ll fall for this pitch, the same marketers will be coming back to you over and over and over for other such pitches. So understand that if you pay these marketers anything….let alone $49…..they’ll continue to hound you with more slick schemes designed to prey on your fears and concerns. Our advice: don’t open your door or wallet to them. Just let them alone……as we just wish they let us all alone.