Reason in Wash Post: Meeting Every "Libertarian-as-Bacchus Fantasy You've Entertained"


That's Bacchus, the Roman god of wine, agriculture, and the theater, not Jim Backus, a.k.a. Mr. Magoo, James Dean's father in Rebel Without a Cause, and Thurston Howell III.

The Washington Post's Style journeys to the end of the political night with the magazine of Free Minds and Free Markets and files a dispatch, titled "Reason's Libertarians, in Pursuit of Happiness."


Four minutes into Reason magazine's monthly bash at the Big Hunt lounge, and every Libertarian-as-Bacchus fantasy you've entertained plays out before your widening eyes….

"D.C. is a city of young fogies who think the only way to be pious is to wear ill-fitting suits" and obsess over politics, [reason editor Nick] Gillespie, 44, says later. "We're the only people that want to have fun."…

Reason['s] articles rang[e] from the expectedly wonky ("Is Rudy Giuliani a new Barry Goldwater or a new Bobby Kennedy?") to the snarkily cultural ("Say You Love Santa: Pop Culture's War on Secularists"). A recent issue lambasted the District's zero-tolerance drinking and driving policy -- cops can book anyone with a blood alcohol content over .01 -- and postulated that the Onion might be the best newspaper in the country….

Libertarianism is a hard sell for young, majority-Democrat Washington. Its free market philosophy must be carefully tempered with swinging promises: "Yeah, baby, I do oppose the minimum wage, but let's talk about it over an illegal substance or two, hmm? Bring a friend."…

It's not that they don't do politics. Of course they do politics. They are a political magazine. But they want you to know that they do politics far less than the other political magazines do politics. "Too often the conversations here are all about 'Oh, can you believe Al Gore did this?' " says Welch.

Adds Gillespie, "It's such a tedious debate. It's like how many Bill Buckleys can dance on the head of a pin."

To prove they are above all that nonsense, they have parties.

"We want to have interesting conversations about things," says Welch. "We want to drill home that culture matters."…

Several other times each month, Reason brings culture in the form of an afternoon roundtable, or a wine-and-cheese Q&A with Someone Controversial….

Reason's goal in Washington is not to agree with everyone, says Welch, but rather this: "We want to add a new bacteria to the culture."

And are you sure, they ask, that you wouldn't like a drink?

Read the whole thing here. Comment at the Post's site here.