Reason Podcast

When Does Speech About Crimes Become a Crime?: Podcast

A conversation with Eugene Volokh about what's legal to publish and why-plus doxxing, lock picking, source protection, and more.


In today's episode of the Reason Podcast, Volokh Conspirator and UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh ponders the question: What is the difference between this month's edition of Reason magazine and The Anarchist Cookbook?

He and I wade elbow-deep into some juicy questions about "crime-facilitating speech" (a term coined by Volokh in a 2005 paper), how it applies to Reason's Burn After Reading issue, and other questions of journalistic ethics. The podcast also digs into hypotheticals about source protection, white-hat hacking, national security, doxxing, and whether it's legit to flash your headlights to warn fellow drivers about an upcoming speed trap.

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Audio production by Ian Keyser.

Photo credit: Amazon

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  1. What is the difference between this month’s edition of Reason magazine and The Anarchist Cookbook?


    1. It’s not surprising that Volokh would focus his energy on a question of this sort. In entertains the popular, and arguably misinformed, view of himself as a defender of First Amendment liberties while in fact he has notoriously argued for narrowing the reach of that law. He has, moreover, engaged in hit-and-run scholarship, as well as other forms of conduct that have unfortunately become customary in the American academic milieu. Above all, he has failed to forthrightly state whether, given his views on America’s leading criminal “satire” case, he concedes that libel should be criminalized everywhere in this country. He has completely failed to respond to commentary that directly contradicts his own on that case. Despite his own previous declarations, in fact, he even continues to remain silent about the peculiar logic of the Second Circuit’s decision in the case. See the documentation at:

      1. A typo in my comment above: he entertains.

      2. A typo in my comment above: he entertains.

  2. I found it interesting that, in an article about making your own firearm the author went to great pains to point out the legality, while avoiding any discussion about potentially illegal firearm manufacturing or alteration.

    Meanwhile the article on how to hire a sex worker was all in on being across that line.

    Behind every double standard…

    1. …what? What’s behind every double standard?

      1. A single standard.

        Reason likes to look transgressive, without actually being transgressive.

        1. like; oh, and like some more. I just keep my mouth shut around here mostly, and no longer recommend Reason much. I do have my copy of the Anarchist Cookbook, not to be pried from my cold dead hands. But a shrew or two got to it in the 80’s on some lower corners, which sucks. No dumb shit comments, I was an individual gold miner on a far out river. We were away from camp to go to town; otherwise, my cat woulda never let it/they/them get anywhere close.

  3. >>>crime-facilitating speech

    feh. mother-may-i do what the facilitator of crime is telling me? no, you may not.

  4. So news outlets shouldn’t describe crimes ?

  5. Let’s ask Tommy Robinson.

  6. The Law is a parlor game. If someone steals your goodies you can call the police for the purpose of reporting the theft to your insurance company, if you have one. If some criminal murders your wife and children the law will step in to find and punish the bad guy. But it won’t bring them back.

    I look at someone like Eugene Volokh and see a brilliant and wasted mind. How about civil engineering? Gene, you’d be surprised how poorly thought out most $billion projects are.

  7. I don’t think Katherine Mangu-Ward read ENB article on the “Biggest Sex Sting of the Year.” back in Sept. 2016

    Long before FOSTA, it was a felony in King County, WA to do anything that “advances and/or promotes prostitution.”

    The 12 men in this story were all prosecuted as felons in King County, Washington under Prosecutor Dan Satterberg for writing reviews about sex workers.

    When a client challenged this statue under the 1st amendment, King County ex prosecutor now judge O’Donnell upheld that a person does not actually need to see a sex worker to promote under this statute, meaning it’s a felony simply to write a fictitious story about seeing a sex workers in King County under the promoting and advancing statute.

    In their admission, all 12 men admitted to “knowing writing a review with the intention of promoting and advancing a sex workers business.”

    Eugene Volokh stated this criminalizing is largely theoretical. In King County it is not.

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