Reason Magazine Subpoena Stomps on Free Speech

Virginia Postrel
BloombergView
6/9/2015

Wielding subpoenas demanding information on anonymous commenters, the government is harassing a respected journalism site that dissents from its policies. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York claims these comments could constitute violent threats, even though they’re clearly hyperbolic political rhetoric.

This is happening in America — weirdly, to a site I founded, and one whose commenters often earned my public contempt…

…Whatever you think of Ulbricht or Silk Road, you can see why libertarians might be upset. A federal judge has just made the belief that it’s good for people to have “the freedom to make their own choices, to pursue their own happiness, however they individually saw fit” part of her justification for the most punitive sentence short of the death penalty. Her rationale offends libertarians on two grounds: It punishes political views and it punishes their particular political views.

The Reason commenters expressed heartbreak and rage…

…Venting anger about injustice is not a crime. Neither is being obnoxious on the Internet. The chances of one of these commenters being convicted of threatening the judge are essentially nil. Conviction isn’t the point. Crying “threats” just makes a handy pretext for harassing Reason and its commenters…

 

 

Read the complete article at BloombergView.

 

 

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