Comment: Please READ and understand details before reverting to attack mo

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Please READ and understand details before reverting to attack mo

Okay folks. I'm the author of the original story, and since I'm being unfairly maligned in the comments, I'd like to shed some light.

1. I recognize that Ron Paul is treated terribly by the mainstream media and that it's natural to assume the worst any time anyone writes a story questioning Dr. Paul. I, however, am anything but the mainstream media.

2. I am a member of no political party, but I am most certainly most closely aligned with libertarian philosophy, and anyone who reads my writing knows that. As such I also think that Dr. Paul is the only mainstream candidate who is even remotely interesting (I also liked Gary Johnson when he was barely in the race). Accusing me of attacking Dr. Paul and of being just out to get them is ridiculous.

3. Lots of people insist that Paul should uncover the names of people because this was defamation. If you read the details of what I have written, I have no problem with anonymous commenters being uncovered *if* defamation is proved and it makes sense to identify them. This is the nature of the Dendrite rules that I talked about. What the Dendrite rules DO NOT allow is for someone -- especially a public official -- to uncover an anonymous speaker WITHOUT first making the case that the law has been broken. That's all. But Dr. Paul sought to do exactly that.

4. The particulars of the ruling I talked about had NOTHING to do with defamation. You can shout about how this was defamation until the cows come home and it doesn't matter, because he wasn't using defamation claims to uncover the uploaders. He was (ab)using trademark law -- which was the key concern here (separately, he was using federal trademark law in the federal courts, rather than related state laws -- an odd choice for someone who talks about limiting federal government and playing up state's rights... but that's a separate issue).

5. Even if you are focused on defamation, just because someone says does something obnoxious that makes you look bad, that doesn't mean it's defamation. Defamation -- especially of public figures -- has very clear and well-known rules. If you want to argue that this is defamation, then you should understand those rules. Once you do, you will realize that even if everything people are saying is absolutely true, this WAS NOT defamation under the law. Was it obnoxious, misleading and disgusting? Yes. But obnoxious and disgusting and making someone else look bad is not automatically defamation (and it's certainly not trademark infringement.)

6. That's the entire key point to all of this. Just because someone did something you don't like, it doesn't mean you get to abuse any and all laws to uncover who they are. The Supreme Court has regularly interpreted the First Amendment to protect free speech -- and liberty loving people should agree with that standpoint. I'll quote the Supreme Court in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission:

Protections for anonymous speech are vital to democratic discourse. Allowing dissenters to shield their identities frees them to express critical minority views . . . Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society.

I think most people around here would agree that this is a principle of liberty loving folks.

7. The chilling effects of having a public figure seek to "out" you, even if you did something despicable, if they HAVE NOT proven you broke the law, is very damaging for free speech, and will scare away others from speaking out. That's why this goes against Paul's Constitutional principles and his belief in liberty.

8. Think about how this precedent, if he had won, would have been used AGAINST freedom loving people. Using the wrong law (trademark) to out people who are trying to make a candidate look bad anonymously even without showing they broke the law? I would think that you (and Ron Paul) would be rightfully aghast at how that could and would be abused by an awful lot of politicians.

That's the point I was making and I stand by it. I'm certainly not out to get Dr. Paul. I wish we lived in a society where his views on personal liberty were mainstream. I wish the public would take him more seriously.

But as such, when he FAILS to live up to his ideals, I think it's only correct for supporters to call him on it -- and that we shouldn't then attack those who do so.

I understand the quick trigger finger many people have on any criticism of Dr. Paul. But we shouldn't let that cloud the facts.