Read what people are saying about Gag-Ordered No More (by Brian Czech)
Rather than being gagged by political appointees and hamstrung by bureaucrats, Brian Czech should have been treated as a hero for raising awareness of the conflict between economic growth and environmental protection. One thing is for sure: Czech’s civil service legacy will be more durable than that of his suppressors.
Doug La Follette, five-time Wisconsin Secretary of State
Brian Czech is perhaps the world’s most tireless and effective advocate for a steady state economy. This did not serve him well in his career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, where any talk of the conflict between growth and conservation was squashed. Written in a folksy, easy-to-read style that also manages to convey justified outrage over our continued destruction of the planet, Gag-Ordered No More offers insightful analysis of the existential ecological crises we face. We can only hope that the FWS follows Czech’s advice for reform, but we can be certain that—gag-ordered no more—Czech will be an even more powerful voice for economic sanity and a steady state economy.
Joshua Farley, past president, International Society for Ecological Economics
Books like Gag-Ordered No More are crucial to remind us of the importance of civil servants swearing allegiance to the rule of law and the Constitution and not to any political party, ideology, or individual. What people like Brian Czech experience in exposing the truth in government is unfortunately a byproduct of leadership, or rather lack of leadership. It is a fear among so-called leaders that their mistakes will cast a dark shadow on their careers rather than a recognition that mistakes are simply part of civil service and nothing to be afraid of. Mistakes are learning opportunities, and those who expose mistakes—like Czech did—pave the way for improvement. Ultimately, is that not what we need from our civil servants?
Richard Ceballos, Deputy District Attorney, Los Angeles
In a world where seemingly anyone can say anything, Brian Czech’s experience of being systematically gagged by the U.S. government is stunning. With characteristic candor and spirit, Czech vividly describes the unthinkable lengths a federal agency went, over decades and through multiple administrations, to prevent him from speaking about the conflict between economic growth and ecological integrity. This was not just a case of speaking truth to power, but of speaking truth, period. Shocking in its eye-popping details of the inner workings of a federal agency, the story of Czech’s determined struggle to speak openly and honestly about the perils of relentless economic growth as a public policy goal is deeply informative, uplifting, and perhaps a dare for each of us to do the same.
Vera Cole, past president, Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association
Brian Czech was the rare civil servant who understood the conflict between economic growth and environmental protection, in spades. Such an understanding leads to hard questions for an agency whose mission is wildlife conservation. Why are we doing this, why aren’t we doing that, and why are we ignoring the challenge of economic growth? These questions make political appointees and ladder-climbing bureaucrats uncomfortable; the response is simply to halt the questioning. In this incredibly well-written account of agency censorship, Czech gets the last word, helping to inspire the civil servants of today and tomorrow to tell the truth about the conflict between growth and conservation.
Bill Wilen, retired Chief, National Wetlands Inventory, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
As another former federal employee who entered civil service in hopes of working for the ‘common good,’ I can corroborate Czech’s realization that the Senior Executive Service makes sure that the bureaucracy serves only politically powerful (meaning mostly ‘monied’) interests. Americans can’t depend on the federal government to necessarily do the right thing. Dr. Czech was extremely brave for doggedly trying to pull an incredibly important but inconvenient truth up the civil service ladder. Thank you for telling your story.
Robert Fireovid, former National Program Leader, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Free speech can be very costly, especially if you speak the truth in a world that prefers illusions. Brian Czech paid a high price repeatedly for insisting that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service—the agency he worked tirelessly for—do its part to raise public awareness of the conflict between economic growth and biodiversity conservation. His reward was a personnel file replete with gag orders, reprimands, and suspensions. Now that he’s ‘out’ and the gag removed, his clarion call rings free at last.
William Rees, Professor Emeritus, University of British Columbia
Truth-tellers are a commodity in short supply today. Brian Czech is a truth-teller. Over a long career, Czech has argued unflinchingly that the pursuit of eternal economic growth is unsustainable—by definition—and at odds with the health of our planet. In Gag-Ordered No More, Czech details the personal ordeals and sacrifices he endured within the bureaucracy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for simply telling the truth that conserving biodiversity is incompatible with economic growth. His story is not only a compelling read; it also serves as an inspiration for all of us to stand up, do the right thing, and tell the unvarnished truth.
John Mirisch, three-time mayor of Beverly Hills, California
Gag-Ordered No More describes how and why the leadership of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service suppressed the truth about economic growth, abused their authority, and destroyed agency morale. Thankfully it also presents bold ideas for how the agency could serve a public that expects it to be a model for ecosystem protection.
Russell England, retired fisheries biologist and author of Gross Deceptive Product
I highly recommend this book to those who want to understand why we continue to say we love the Earth and want to protect it, yet continue to destroy it with our incessant push for economic growth.
Kent Shifferd, author of The Planetary Emergency
Brian Czech brought to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service an impressive background in conservation biology and ecological economics, with a specialty on the conflict between economic growth and wildlife conservation. While supported by professional peers, senior management did their utmost to squash his efforts with reprimands, gag orders and various forms of harassment. One of the remarkable aspects of Czech’s tale is how tenaciously he persisted despite the restrictions placed on him. At the same time, he wisely established an NGO to focus on this critically important issue that is ignored by so many, and formed the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy. My foundation provided some of the seed funding for CASSE and it was one of the best investments we ever made.
Jack Santa Barbara, Ph.D., retired CEO and Director of the Santa Barbara Family Foundation