If It's Friday, It Must Be Time For…

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a pitch to buy Choice: The Best of Reason, the new anthology that pulls together the highlights of the past decade of the magazine of "free minds and free markets."

Sez Instapundit Glenn Reynolds: "Reason is less predictable and more interesting than any other political magazine I read."

Sez Wired Editor-in-Chief Chris Anderson: "Reason is a constant reminder of the value of independent thought in fast-changing times. Choice brings the best of it together to mess with your ahead again, or for the first time. Either way, you'll think different."

Sez Court TV's Catherine Crier: "For years, Reason has been my most anticipated monthly read. An antidote to partisan preaching and political correctness, Choice: the Best of Reason is a must read for all rational thinkers who seek an honest take on the issues of our time."

For more praise, info, contents, and excerpts, go here. Right now, you can get a paperback copy of the book for under $11–or a one-year subscription to Reason plus a copy of Choice for under $30. (That offer is open to current subscribers.)

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  1. I’ve recently received Sullum’s book, Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use, which was fantastic. I’ve ordered Choice, hopefully it will be as good.

    I’ve also started a weblog at lostliberties.blogspot.com, check it out!

  2. Let me also recommend Saying Yes, I’m enjoying it immensely. Plus, I’ve always wanted a scholarly book with a joint on the cover. I’ll be getting my copy of choice when I renew later this month or next.

  3. I bought Saying Yes in hardcover. It’s good but could have been better.

    The best endorsement of Choice I’ve heard was from the moderator on the CSPAN panel. I’ll paraphrase from memory:

    “I myself am a luna-lefty pinko but I read Reason and over the years it has changed my mind about a couple of things.

    For instance, I now think that Martha Stewart is innocent. I use to think that anybody who had enough money to own a house and buy their cars new must be guilty of whatever crime anyone cared to accuse them of, and deserved to be thrown into a dark hole and have all their worldly possessions sold at auction with the proceeds going to organic farmers. Now I’m convinced that rich people should be considered innocent until proven guilty just as though they were human beings.

    Another opinion I’ve acquired from reading Reason is that there is a vibrant American culture, and that it doesn’t suck, in spite of the fact that people who look better than me are permitted to walk around in broad daylight, and one can publish an op-ed suggesting that some problems are best addressed by the private sector without being tarred and feathered.”

    That’s not an exact quote but is as close as I can recall. A pretty ringing endorsement if you ask me.

  4. Plus, I’ve always wanted a scholarly book with a joint on the cover.

    I was deeply disappointed to see the softcover revert to wimpy colors. I don’t know what the motivation for this was.

    Anyone browsing a book in the “cultural studies” section of B&N is already assumed to be somewhat bent. Reading a book with a spliff on the cover was just the cherry on top.

  5. Concerning some of the quoted praise for *Reason* for its “unpredictability”, etc.:

    What the heck is “unpredictable” about *Reason*? Its positions on almost every issue are easily predictable. Every health/environmental scare is overblown, drugs aren’t that bad, every regulation is bad, etc. The only area where there is any unpredictability at all is foreign policy.

    Now I am not saying that the fact that *Reason* is predictable is a bad thing. Any magazine that is based on a consistent philosophy–whether libertarian, social conservative, social democratic, fascist, communist or whatever–*should* be predictable much of the time. All I’m saying is that while one might prefer *Reason*’s philosophy to that of *The Nation* or *National Review*, the magazine is not a bit less predictable.

    (Perhaps what those who call it unpredictable mean is that it doesn’t automatically take a “liberal” or “conservative” positon on issues. True, but so what? It just as automatically takes a just-as-predictable libertarian one. “There’s no political correctness in Reason!” Well, of course not, because for some reason political correctness has been *defined* as adhering to a left-wing orthodoxy. As though there were no right-wing orthodoxy–and no libertarian orthodoxy!)

    This is not intended as an attck on *Reason.* I simply intend it as an attack on misguided “praise” for *Reason*. (I put “praise” in inverted commas here because I don’t see why unpredictability is necessarily a good thing, anyway. )

  6. David:

    Ah, but what’s so impressive about Gillespie-era Reason is the wide-ranging cultural commentary expressing far more of a libertarian *disposition* or *personality-type* than a hyperrationalist philosophy or party line. In comparison with the other publications you mentioned, it reeks far less of the doorstep solicitor. Reason strikes me as much closer to Harper’s, with its assortment of topics not predictable from political talking points, but rather aimed at promoting intellectual sophistication in the individual reader. While Reason today may be occasionally open to the charge that incestuousness has led to thin blood, this is more than offset by the excellent job its editorial staff does at keeping out the kind of hollow lit-grad verbosity that seems to have consumed a whole lot of comparably sized mags.

  7. I was going to respond to David T:

    Perhaps what those who call it unpredictable mean is that it doesn’t automatically take a “liberal” or “conservative” positon on issues.

    I think that is exactly what most of the reviewers mean when they call REASON “unpredictable. Precisely because on all political and many social issues, most readers are used to hearing only from the Left and the Right.

    True, but so what?

    It’s significant precisely because it presents a viewpoint that most people — who are used to hearing only from Republicans vs. Democrats or Left vs. Right — don’t hear. REASON is the best-known libertarian magazine, and it is a pulpit for a philosophy that most people will see as an utterly novel viewpoint. “Pro-gun and pro-drug legalization? Criticizes both Democrats and Republicans?”

    If you see REASON as predictable, it must be because you are pretty well steeped in libertarian thinking. But the vast majority of people are not like that.

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