Censorship amid civil war? Of course!

I’m glad to know that support for freedom of the press is strong among my readers. I’m rather attached to that particular freedom, myself, especially now that I can keep a “press” on my desktop.

But I’m dismayed that so many of my readers seem to be incapable of understanding the difference between the ordinary functioning of a free society and the prosecution of a civil war.

When Benjamin Franklin, having been dismissed as the colonial postmaster-general by Lord North’s ministry, was appointed Postmaster-General of the United Colonies by the First Continental Congress, one of his first official acts was to close the mails to Tory newspapers. In a civil war, words are weapons, and there’s no reason to arm your enemies, or to allow others to do so.

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Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com