Reason Writers Around Town


In a special issue of The American Conservative, Nick Gillespie takes stock of the conservative movement, of Americans' declining interest in backing either political party, and the ever-high Q-rating of libertarianism. (If Noam Chomsky and William F. Buckley both want to be called "libertarians," you know it's hot.)

And go here for the whole AmCon special-issue megillah, in which folks ranging from Pat Buchanan to Nicholas Von Hoffman to Lew Rockwell to Phyllis Schlafly cogitate on whether the designations "right" and "left" mean anything anymore and whether "a binary Left/Right political spectrum describe[s] the full range of ideological options" available in these United States.

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  1. Interesting set of articles. I’ve never heard of Taki Theodoracopulos before, but he almost sounds like an anarchist, while Chilton Williamson sounds like a monarchist. I guess Phyllis Schlafly was included so people would know what someone missing the point sounded like.

  2. Speaking of Chomsky and Buckley there’s an interesting debate between the two on youtube, dating from 1969. It’s interesting for a few reasons. Imho, Chomsky wins hands down. The debate is very civil by today’s standards; despite frequent interruptions by Buckley, Chomsky is at least allowed to be heard, something that doesn’t happen on today’s television scream-a-thons. The other interesting thing is that Buckley appears to be demon possessed.

  3. Many feel America is indeed ready for a remodeling. Not sure we could go from current conditions to those Nick presents anytime soon.

    And is that the remodel that Americans want? Is that the only choice we have in lieu of the current right/left, con/lib, rep/dem? Are we smart enough to even know what we want or do we condition people to want something?

  4. This was one of the best periodicals I have ever read… I read it twice after I got my copy in the mail. It was nice to see such a diversity of ideological thought in one magazine.

  5. America owes its stability and prosperity to having so far been spared extremist attempts to remake reality in accordance with some overarching ideology. I devoutly hope that the old binary Left/Right political spectrum still describes the full range of ideological options available in these United States. God help us if it doesn’t.

  6. “Nothing is quite so difficult as the compression of philosophical controversies, which are by their nature voluminous and various and tinted by the mental colours fo a variety of minds” (Wells)

    Maybe the answer lies somewhere in the acceptance of that diversity and not trying to make us cyborgs of the state.

    Of course each of the diversities would socially overlap which could provide color and/or friction.

    Another problem would be putting the diversity under one umbrella to support the needs of the
    greater society.

    What body could lead such diversity without prejudice?

    Let me til my garden (Candid)

  7. Nick,
    That was one out-fucking-standing article. I’m not going to use the word hero… oh crap. Anyway I’m totally impressed with what you’ve been saying and writing. Love the direction Reason magazine has taken under your stewardship too.

    It was from you that I first was introduced to the notion of a broader libertarian philosophy. A libertarianism that goes beyond politics and underlies culture as a whole, a libertarianism of optimism where we are winning the war, even as we loose all the battles.

    You kick-ass Nick. Thank you.

  8. You are correct, Warren. That is an oustanding piece. I had one of those laughing-out-loud-at-work-for-no-good-reason moments upon reading the line about how funny Ayn Rand was.

  9. plus, Nick is like, you know…

    “A libertarianism that goes beyond politics and underlies culture as a whole”

    I mostly read Reason for the cultural content. You make a good point, Warren.

  10. I recall George Carlin (of all people) commenting a couple of years ago that the term “libertarian” had become the trendy self-description of the day in certain circles, to the point where the term had become meaningless.

    That being said, I was libertarian when libertarian wasn’t cool…

  11. “pentimento” and “megillah” are both great words.

  12. I only subscribe to two mags, Reason and Am. Conservative. They both buck the coventional line and are interesting and principled without being party hacks (hello NRO). However I often think Am Conservative silly, old farts obsessing about how great the old days (read: the partrician pre-Civil War South) were. I thought Nick’s article to be very insightful and inspiring, and everyone should read it.

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