If you’ve read National Review at all over the past seven years, you’ve probably heard about Michael Mann’s suit against this magazine. (If you need a refresher on National Review v. Mann, Rich Lowry has one here.)
The litigation has been, and will continue to be, costly for NR — and so we are asking for your financial support in our 2019 Fall Webathon as we petition the Supreme Court to take up the case. Your contributions really do make an immense difference in that effort, and we continue to be blown away by the generosity of our readers.
But it’s important to be clear about the stakes here: Mann’s suit is not just a baseless legal attack on NR, and it’s not just about one scientist attempting to silence his critics in the climate-change debate. It is an assault on all political speech, and on our democratic order, which depends on a free and robust exchange of ideas on matters of public concern.
That’s the argument that 21 U.S. senators make in an amicus brief in support of our case, and I find it convincing. It reads, in part:
From politics to science to religion, the success and vitality of our Nation depends on open disagreement, not subdued conformity. . . . The hard work of democratic self-government must be done by persuading our fellow citizens through open, and at times even raucous, debate.
The alternative to such persuasion and open disagreement is the suppression of dissent and the shouting down of speech. We should not want to travel any farther down that road.
Mann’s suit has already done great harm. Even the threat of litigation is enough to prevent those without great means from openly speaking their minds. As a Supreme Court justice years ago warned, “if liability can attach to political criticism, . . . then no critical citizen can safely utter anything but faint praise.”
So we hope you’ll give to this cause not only because you care about National Review’s future but, much more important, because you care about your own rights and those of your fellow citizens — and want to see them vindicated. We didn’t choose this fight, but we won’t flinch from it. If you see it as your fight as well, we thank you for whatever help you can give in bearing the cost.
P.S.: Your generous contribution supports the journalism, commentary, and opinion writing published in National Review magazine and on National Review Online. If you prefer to send a check, please mail it to National Review, ATTN: Fall 2019 Webathon, 19 West 44th Street, Suite 1701, New York, NY 10036.
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