Spanning the globe for insights into human behavior and persuasion.



Free speech or mob violence?

Here's a textbook example of persuasion by "playing to the crowd." Animal rights activists are saying that their free speech rights are being violated when their civil disobedience tactics are being prosecuted as terrorism.

The activists, members of a group that call themselves "SHAC," have been charged with intimidating employees of New Jersey-based Huntingdon Life Sciences, which tests pharmaceutical products on animals.

The group, via its website, rails against the charges, stating, "This is a frightening step in the Bush administration's path to war on domestic dissidence,"

Their they are, trying to convince us that their plucky little organization is just doing its moral duty, appealing to the Bush haters and those of us with libertarian streaks.

Funny, but isn't it New Jersey, not the Justice Dept, which filed the charges? And can you really call (allegedly) "invading offices, damaging property, stealing documents, ... spraying cleaning fluid into the eyes of [Huntingdon] employees, smashing the windows of their homes and threatening to kill or injure members of their families" domestic dissidence?

Call me close-minded, but I think the right term is "mob intimidation."

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