Almost nobody in America know the rewards and threats that are meted out to individuals and businesses in the bowels of the regulatory state. From Jacob G. Hornberger at mises.org:
Whenever some foreign regime that is independent of the U.S. Empire goes after dissenters, U.S. officials trot out the First Amendment to show how different the United States is. Here, people are free to criticize government officials without fear of being put in jail or otherwise punished for exercising their free speech rights, they proudly point out.
However, what goes unexplained in such pious proclamations is why so many leading executives in big American companies remain silent when it comes to America’s foreign wars, foreign interventions, coups, alliances with dictators, torture, mass secret surveillance, indefinite detention, denial of due process, Gitmo, state-sponsored assassinations, and other dark-side activities of the U.S. national-security establishment.
The reason is that every one of those executives knows that federal officials are able to retaliate against them in indirect ways for criticizing their policies and operations. Such indirect methods of retaliation can consist of IRS audits, regulatory harassment, denial of applications for mergers and acquisitions, non-renewal of radio and television licenses, and even the threat of disclosure of personal secrets acquired through secret surveillance of emails and telephone records.