WHEN YOU'RE DONE READING THIS ISSUE OF REASON, YOU MIGHT WANT TO BURN IT.

Author:Mangu-Ward, Katherine
Position:IDEAS - Editorial
 
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USUALLY REASON BRINGS you stories about people who have crossed the lines of legality, the people who help draw those lines, and the people who want to erase them entirely. This month we thought we'd try something a little different. In this issue, we offer how-tos, personal stories, and step-by-step guides for all kinds of activities that can and do happen right at the borders of legally permissible behavior.

These stories are handily packaged into a removable section in the middle of the magazine. Pull it out and when you're done reading, you can decide whether to keep the pages for future reference or to follow the instructions printed on the front and burn them.

If you decide to hang out on the edges with us, a couple of notes. As we circulated early drafts of the stories in this issue, it was interesting to see how different articles struck different readers as the most risque. One worried that Mark McDaniel's step-by-step Glock-building instructions (page 47) and the accompanying video at reason.com were a bridge too far, while another homed in on Ronald Bailey's slightly sloppy dabbling in gene editing at home in his kitchen (page 42). Some found Declan McCullagh's tutorial on spousal snooping (page 23) unsettling. We've tried to push our own boundaries in this issue--while not actually committing any crimes in the course of publishing it--to help you think about yours. In our view, the fact that something makes you uncomfortable isn't a good reason to ban it; it's a good reason to research it, report on it, maybe even try it, and then write about it.

Keep in mind that the legal lines we describe may well be shifting under your feet. The first draft of Maggie McNeill's story about how to hire an escort (page 45) was written before the passage of the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) this spring. It is now illegal, under federal law, to host digital content that promotes or facilitates prostitution, and the new law holds web publishers and platforms liable for doing so. As a result, this issue is being printed in a world that is more uncertain and dangerous for sex workers and their clients than the one we inhabited just a few months ago. As the story itself illustrates, human desires flow like water around the rocks of prohibition, and they always will. But do remember that the advice in this issue could quickly become outdated, and that laws might not apply or be enforced predictably in the...

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