"A kick-ass, no-holds-barred political magazine…"


That's the New York Post's flattering phrase for Reason in this review of our anthology Choice.

From Alexander Hamilton's tabloid:

If Jane Fonda and Alan Greenspan ever decided to go into business together and start a kick-ass, no-holds-barred political magazine, it might look a little something like Reason….

Whole thing–which concludes that "we all have something to learn from those libertarian weirdoes"–here.

NEXT: Ten Weeks (Count 'em) of Pure Fun

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  1. After reading the article, I can see how reviewer Max Gross suffers from the same one-eye’d blindness other conservatives and liberals have towards freedom. Jacob Sullum has a column about an American liberal example. I tied them together here.

  2. I must agree, of course, with that review. It’s rare that I don’t cover-to-cover this mag. Word is spreading too. My friend ordered a mini-subscription, but he’s thinking about doing the whole thing. I’m going to loan him some back issues to drive it home. His words: “Reason kicks ass.” True that.

  3. Good job, Liberty Lover.

    Reason is just so good that it can’t help but earn appreciation, even from those who do not fully appreciate liberty. The former will surly tend to remedy the later.

  4. …make that: “The former will surly tend to remedy the latter.”

    Sorry about that. OK, so I broke my New Year’s resolution to start using the Preview button. So sue me. 🙂

  5. Hey, I resemble that remark!

  6. I think many of the staff at Reason have a deeply confused understanding of what constitutes liberty and why it is valuable — in short, they are libertarian weirdos. That said, it is a very good magazine and well worth the modest subscription fee, even if (like me) you believe that the staff are weirdos.

  7. Nah. Reason doesn’t have libertarian weirdos, just smart people. Liberty magazine, they have the weirdos.

  8. I recently read somebody (can’t remember who/where) who described Reason as a libertarian mag for non-libertarians, whereas Libery was a libertarian mag for libertarians. Having never read the latter, I wasn’t sure what to make of that claim.

  9. Well, to pretend that there is some sort of “libertarian consensus” is the first mistake many libertarians (and non-libertarians) make. How many libertarians do you know that disagree with the Libertarian Party?

    That said, Reason is usually on the mark — more so than many other publications — and Choice is a great compendium of thought. Congratulations on the great (if somewhat back-handed) review of your book.

  10. They didn’t say that Reason is “A kick-ass, no-holds-barred political magazine…”

    They said Reason resembles what would result from a Jane-Fonda-Alan Greenspan attempt at creating a kick-ass, no-holds-barred political magazine.

    Big difference..

  11. Murray,

    There is no mention of “the result of an attempt” in the quote. The hypothetical Fonda-Greenspan magazine said to resemble Reason just is kick-ass and no-holds-barred.

  12. From the article:

    “But I can’t imagine that any more than a handful of Americans find they agree with all of Reason’s weird, cross-wired political views.”

    Reason is consistently skeptical of government and supportive of individual rights. Can’t we at least expect journalists to step back from the conservative vs. liberal false choice and take a broader view of polital thought? This hack probably can’t underdstand why a great show like Crossfire was cancelled.

  13. Well, the only problem is that the book “Choice” conflates the old Reason (under Postrel) with the new (under Gillespie). So the book is a case of the current magazine’s coasting on the reputation of the old. I can’t remember the last time I read Reason under Gillespie cover to cover, or even from one page to the next. I let my subscription lapse four or five years ago and having looked at back issues in the library can’t see that I’ve missed a thing. The idea of taking seriously an endorsement that comes from the New York Post is itself a farce and a good indication of the standards to which this publication now holds itself.

    Freund and Michael Young are the only Reason writers I can read. Otherwise the magazine has essentially run itself into the ground and become about as irrelevant to human existence as is the rest of the libertarian movement–a “movement” hurtling nowhere at top speed.

    So here we are in the middle of a fight over Social Security–and oh yeah, I see lots of cogent analysis of that subject here. So much for the Alan Greenspan side of things. Meanwhile, there’s a scintillating interview of Mike Godwin to peruse….I guess that’s the Jane Fonda element? Pretty much par for the course that Nick Gillespie would go into ecstasies over a meaningless, unintelligible claim like “Jane Fonda meets Alan Greenspan.” Whatever. At this point, the whole magazine sounds like a cross between the NY Post and Highlights, and makes about as much sense.

  14. I don’t know anything about Liberty Magazine, but Reason tends to run the sort of articles that I can show to non-libertarians without embarassment. So I guess you could say that Reason is a magazine for non-libertarians. The fact that it’s palatable to non-libertarians probably makes it suspect to a lot of libertarians. Such is the paradox of a movement devoted to individualism.

  15. Irfan Khawaja,

    You know, we see a lot of commentary about the Posteral v. post-Posteral eras, and I am curious, what pray reveal, is the difference? You seem to be arguing that the ‘zine is not “topical” enough? Is that your main beef with it?

    As to the ‘zine being irrelevant to those in power, or on the political landscape, was it ever relevant in that way under Posteral? Somehow I doubt it.


    This is the ‘zine they are referring to: http://www.libertyunbound.com/

    You can typically find it at B&N, Borders, etc. It has a pale-blue color to it and is all paper, as opposed to the more “glossy” Reason.

    I recall an article a few years back where Liberty titled “Arnold” the Republican Bill Clinton.

    Whether it is a ‘zine for libertarians probably depends on your perspective; it is a ‘zine for a certain variety of Rockwell-loving libertarian – the kind that shit themselves in joy over the Woods’ book on U.S. history (their most recent publication features a review of Woods’ book that starts off like this: “There is a lot about U.S. history you weren’t told!”*).

    *I always find this sort of intro to be an indication that someone is pushing an ideologically driven version of “historical truth.” Having now read Woods’ book I can now state that there is very little in it that I didn’t already know and he changed my opinion on little. Indeed, Woods’ book is a popularization of what historians have been hashing out in their respective fields for fifty years or more. That he and others present this as “new” and “hidden” material is fairly laughable.

  16. I think Thoreau about has it. I heard that comment a month or so ago and started keeping up with Liberty online…It seems to me that Reason mainly argues for libertarianism. The articles are generally “Here’s an example of statism and here’s why it’s bad,” or “Here’s a reason why statism is bad in general.”

    From my brief acquaintance with Liberty, it seems to assume the premise that Reason is trying to prove: that statism is bad. It instead concerns itself with such issues as why libertarianism has so much trouble converting liberals and conservatives (in this month’s issue, I much suggest a look: http://libertyunbound.com/archive/2005_04/acree-daddy.html), or, in last month’s issue, who actually wrote parts of Hayek’s last book and the relative merits of Friedman’s and Rothbard’s explanations of how the Fed caused the Great Depression. It starts assuming you’re a libertarian and talks about things that then would interest you, rather than trying to get you to libertarianism in the first place.

  17. David Kopel writes for Liberty a lot as well. Sometimes Reason features him here.

    Anyway, there is a lot to recommend about Liberty, whatever individual faults I find with the ‘zine.

  18. I check out Reason.com and a whole host of other libertarian-minded sites daily. If you can keep an open mind and discern what’s good journalism/op-eds, you should be able to read articles from LewRockwell.com, Reason, CATO, and all the various libertarian blogs and have no trouble.

    Unnecessary factions have been created over time within the libertarianism movement, that I think have prolonged any substantial progress towards defining what “libertarianism” truly is, or what it actually should mean. I would certainly argue that CATO and Reason have given more credibility to libertarians than even the Libertarian Party. I know, pretty F’in sad.

    So what’s the scope of what Reason hopes to accomplish? If the most respected of libertarians are divided on whether to vote R, D, or L come election time, are we doomed to failure? Can we cause any substantial change if there is no party effectively representing us? Do we need a PAC of our own to circumvent the LP? I guess I’m saying, there’s only so much reading and continuous learning we can all do on our own. What’s the best course of action we could all take?

    Any thoughts on this?

    Well, now… a complimentary article from the New York Post! High praise, indeed!

    I’ve read the Post and found it to be the print version of Fox News Channel. That’s not a compliment.

  20. Gary Gunnels asks what my beef with post-Postrel Reason is. How about the sheer quality of the writing? How about the substitution of sarcasm, innuendo and ranting for argument? How about the substance-less, formless, aimless commentaries of Nick Gillespie vs. those of Virginia Postrel? How about the fact that apart from attacking the Bush Administration, Reason seems to have no ideological agenda to speak of–no pulse, no direction, no genuine ideals or aspirations (except to pander shamelessly to the Left)? Feel free to put topicality on this list.

    I am not much concerned with Reason’s influence on those in power. Neither the Postrel nor the post-Postrel magazine was all that influential, but that isn’t the main issue. The Postrel Reason wasn’t influential but deserved to be. The Gillespie Reason is slightly more influential but doesn’t deserve to be. But then, considering that they measure influence by what the Post is saying about them, what difference does it make?

    Reason’s new “style” if you can call it that, is a sort of lugubrious, perpetual indulgence in world-weary sarcasm. That’s why I sound so cranky about them. They need someone to tell them straightforwardly–without a hint of irony or post-modern “playfulness”–what a piece of crap their magazine has become. Maybe that will lead to improvement, maybe not. But I don’t mind saying it in any case.

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