Playing the Anti-Consumer Card

Queen of Diamonds / Regulatory Relief

University of California at Berkeley senior staff attorney and senior fellow at the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology Chris Hoofnagle writes, "In my work on consumer protection, I have begun to recognize patterns" in the actions and arguments of corporations and think tanks opposing regulations and other oversight. "Whether the topic is tobacco, food and drug safety, or privacy legislation, these groups employ the same rhetorical devices to delay and stop consumer reform." Hoofnagle presents common arguments by these pro-corporate "denialists" as a deck of cards. Arguments likely to be made early on in anti-reform campaigns are lower-level cards, progressing up to the face cards. "No Problem" is the two of clubs, "Stifles Innovation" is the six of hearts, "Fake Consumer Groups" is the ten of clubs, and "We'll Lose Money!" is the ace of clubs. "I hope the Denialists' Deck of Cards has been an entertaining critique," concludes Hoofnagle, adding that it "can help consumer advocates frame the opposition that they receive."


A deck full of strawmen. Does it not strike Mr. Hoofnagle that those patterns he ridicules might be evidence for opposing principles? Or is he the only one entitled to consistency?