Last December, Reason held its annual webathon. Published by the 501(c)3 nonprofit Reason Foundation, all donations are tax deductible and help us cover the costs of producing Reason magazine, Reason.com, and Reason TV.
Your generosity was staggering, as we raised over $75,000 in just six days. Different giving levels came with different premiums and those who donated the devilish sum of $666 or above were offered the option of being profiled online.
Some of our most generous donors declined to be interviewed and we're happy to respect their privacy. And we're also very happy to introduce Reason.com readers to a few folks whose contributions make what we do possible. We asked them why they like what Reason does and how they discovered the philosophy of freedom; they gave us the interesting, funny, and thoughtful answers you see below. Check them out.
And you're interested in making a contribution that will help us continue to explore, analyze, and argue for a world of "Free Minds and Free Markets," please go here.
Name: Paul Hagy, Jr.
Occupation: Information Technology (I/T) Systems Acceptance Testing
Location: West Chester, PA
How would you describe your politics? I have been a Republican since I was 18 and eligible to vote. I voted straight party and never gave it much thought until recently. Now I am a reformed neocon. I joined the Libertarian party in 2011. I am now a Ron Paul supporter and believe that our founding fathers would have been Libertarians. I am still registered as a Republican so I can vote in the primaries here in Pennsylvania.
How long have you had them? My Libertarian views and belief in small government and liberty and the constitution is something I have always believed in, it just took me some time to find the right party. At some point the Republicans had the same beliefs.
How long have you been reading Reason? I have been reading Reason for one year. Now I have extended my subscription for an additional two years.
What introduced you to the magazine/website? My finding Reason started when I found Mike Church on my Sirius/XM radio. He showed me how both parties were both big government types and introduced me a whole new world. He was interviewed by Judge Andrew Napolitano on Freedom Watch. I started watching more often and Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch also appeared as guests. I also saw a commercial for the magazine while watching Stossel. When I saw a link to the Reason.com on the Libertarian Party website I subscribed.
What do you like most about it? I like that the articles actually make sense and they point out the ridiculousness and silliness of both parties and the establishment. It is informative and points out where we have lost our liberties or at least where they are being infringed upon without really knowing about it. We give up a little here and there, usually in the name of keeping us safe; Another new world was opened.
Each month I find something I like. I guess the first thing I turn to is the Citings page. I enjoy the short quick articles. It is a good warm-up.
That is to say, why do you consider it something to which it is worth donating your hard-earned money? I donate because I believe in the message and want to keep the message coming to my mailbox so I can share it with others. I now am hoping to find a new career where I can continue to learn and make a contribution. Doing what you like is not like working at all.
Name: Chief Yeoman. Or Double D. Only my mother calls me anything else.
Occupation: Chief Yeoman.
Age: Old enough to know better, young enough to do it anyway.
Location: Pretty much everywhere but the USA.
My politics boil down to supporting any person or cause that promises to leave me and my countrymen alone to go to hell or reach heaven in our own way and in our own time. A man should be free to make a buck, have a relationship (or a non-relationship), build a house, cook a meal, eat, drink, otherwise ingest, shoot (in defense, for food, or for sport), be useful, be useless, pray, and preach heresy as long as he does it with his own resources and doesn't cause physical harm to another person or their private resources. Voluntary participation and consent is a must. And if anyone thinks military membership contradicts those beliefs, they never heard of a thing I call a contract.
In the past I twisted between Dems and Reps until I became aware of the appropriate alternative. That was ten years ago, and it was thanks in part to Reason. As a political junkie, I used to read all the blogs from both Team Red and Team Blue perspectives. I favored a blog called Kausfiles, not because I agreed with everything, but because Mickey Kause linked to everything. One of those links was to Reason.com. As time went on, I found myself heading to Reason more often, eventually skipping Kausfiles and favoriting your publication and blog.
I don't have any real favorite writers, but I love any documentation of victories for freedom. I know no libertarian or freedom boosting organization is as effective as we would like, but reading Reason, especially the comments on the blog (thanks, commenters!) helped me articulate and visualize a coherent political identity that seems all over the map from a Teams perspective. Which is why I'm quite happy to put up whatever cash I can afford. I have to spend that tax-free deployment money somewhere (and that's another thing. Getting Combat ZoneTax Exclusions made me realize exactly how much money is stolen from me when I'm not eligible for the allowance).
I apologize for not identifying myself more, but I like to keep private, especially with stuff that might end up on the net forever, no matter how innocent it seems….The only reason I responded at all is to be a good sport to an organization that played a big role in integrating an important part of my psyche. I'll do it a third time next year.
Name: Marc Stone
Occupation: Corporate Attorney; Poet (several publications)
Location: Miami, Florida
How would you describe your politics? Independent, Jeffersonian, Anti-Theist (a la Hitchens and Dawkins). I see the Democratic and Republican parties not as very distinct but as two points on a continuum that is based on the same general premises and ideas of governing. With respect to basic individual freedoms, so-called individual "social" or Bill of Rights matters, my politics have been consistent since childhood (although as a Brooklyn boy I never could get that excited about the right to bear arms).
With respect to economic matters, a slow progression over time from (a) social safety nets, government helping the disadvantaged and protecting consumers/investors with strong laws being the priority, to (b) free markets with minimum intervention or "winner picking," but understanding that minimum regulation (especially with respect to full, fair and timely information disclosure and reasonable safety nets for the truly disadvantaged or infirm) is necessary and humane, and that total disregard of any regulation is unrealistic given the dark side of too many aspects of human nature and behavior.
The proper balance is what should always be the question and argued (and, it seems, continuously is). Having said that, two memories I have from early childhood are my father explaining to me the top federal tax rate at that time (70%) and the disconnect that caused in my young brain (why would I ever care about earning that money if most of it would be taken away – so basic – never really recovered from that one) – that is the first memory – and seeing homeless persons (or similar suffering) and not understanding any parental explanation as to how society could permit such to be. It was not until later I learned that governmental "solutions" were often counterproductive or condescending, or both to the goals and the people supposedly being "helped." But that does not mean solutions should not always be sought.
How long have you been reading Reason? About one year.
What do you like most about it? The content, of course. What else does it have?
That is to say, why do you consider it something to which it is worth donating your hard-earned money? I see nothing more important to be had in our (the country's – and the world's) continued discussions and debates about politics, human rights, ethics, philosophies and what should be the highest values in social systems than the focus on the rights of the individual versus forced governmental actions and prohibitions. Reason seeks to focus almost exclusively on this issue, on many fronts, and it is important constantly to remind people to think about how far government, which is little more than a concentration of human beings with disproportionate power over others, as it always has been, has gone, is going, and may go. Having said that, I think the key to excellence is not the absolutist individual rights approach, the Ron Paul approach often, but the harder job of finding the line not to be crossed and justifying that line with reasoned and realistic argument which takes into account man's insidious behavior when not, to some extent, controlled by rules.
Name: Michael Corvin
Location: Irondale, Alabama
How would you describe your politics? How long have you had them? Proud member of the Libertarian Party since 1997.
How long have you been reading Reason? What introduced you to the magazine/website? I've been a subscriber since 2007 ever since I viewed the Drew Carey piece about California's marijuana laws on YouTube.
What do you like most about it? Do you have a favorite writer or favorite "beat"? There's lots of substance to the magazine and not a lot of fluff found in other periodicals. I'd say Citings and Brickbats are my favorite sections, just because they're short enough to read in the john, much like the Playboy Advisor, only without the sex and advice.
That is to say, why do you consider it something to which it is worth donating your hard-earned money? In all honesty, I thought I was sponsoring a sad Eritrean child covered in flies, but in my drunkenness, I clicked the wrong link.
Name: Bill (and Kathy) Schjelderup
Occupation: Manager (a nice generic response) I have a software company
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
How would you describe your politics? libertarian — Free Minds, Free Markets
How long have you had them? Since my teen years. Probably from reading a lot of science fiction, Ayn Rand etc.
How long have you been reading Reason? I believe I started sometime between 1989-1991
What introduced you to the magazine/website? Reason must have purchased a targeted list and I was on it. I believe I got something in the mail and responded to it. The Internet was rather primitive back then.
What do you like most about it? A range of issues, longer in-depth articles.
Do you have a favorite writer or favorite "beat"? I like to be surprised so I read a lot of stuff…
That is to say, why do you consider it something to which it is worth donating your hard-earned money? Because I think change isn't going to come from the top, i.e. our political class. It's going to come from people fed up with politics as usual. The philosophy and economics of freedom need some champions. Each organization that I donate to plays a roll in educating people on the benefits of Free Minds and Free Markets.
My simplified analysis for a few organizations is…
Reason – Further educating adults in an entertaining (Reason TV) and educational way. Spread the word. Less academic than Cato so that the stories are a little more personal to the readers. Reason.tv can be very entertaining and yet contain serious messages…. There are many other organizations that promote freedom. I've donated to many of them, but rather than give lots of smaller gifts, I tend to stay focused on my core institutions and give bigger contributions.
I donate to Reason hoping that the communication of Free Minds and Free Markets will actually impact the future of our country making it a better place for future generations. I'll be happy if in my life I see a distinct and long term movement towards liberty and away from a big and intrusive government. Hey, I'm a hopeless optimist and Reason helps fuel my delusions of a better future.
Name: Bruce Majors
Occupation: Real estate agent and blogger
Age: Over 40
Location: Washington D.C.
How would you describe your politics? How long have you had them? Libertarian. Fairly consistently, with some lapses, since I read Ayn Rand the summer before I was a high school sophomore.
How long have you been reading Reason? I have read Reasonsince around 1975, on and off. I got a post office box in the town my boarding school was in, because my parents were disturbed by the libertarian and radical-seeming mail I was getting; things like The Ayn Rand Letter and The Freeman. Eventually I got on the mailing list of the California Peace and Freedom Party when I was 17 or 18 and because the military draft had a few months to go and the libertarians newsletters I got advocated draft resistance, two Secret Service agents came to town to interview the post mistress. She referred them to the post master where my parents lived. The post master told my stepfather about their visit. I came home one night to a confrontation about how I was a criminal who had brought shame on the family.
What do you like most about it? Do you have a favorite writer or favorite "beat"? I usually read it online and so I sometimes miss really good articles. Nick Gillespie's obit for Lanny Friedlander was very touching. And Matt Welch also wrote something last fall that was astoundingly good, better than I realized his stuff is, as I spend a lot of time reading Hit and Run and readers' comments. I also enjoy Katherine Mangu-Ward because her stuff is usually on less common topics.
That is to say, why do you consider it something to which it is worth donating your hard-earned money? Ah money, you make it and the government inflates it or taxes it away. I hope someone who needs to buy or sell a house will see my "Bruce Majors, Realtor" in the donor crawl.
Name: Steven Jackson
Occupation: Engineering Manager
Location: Ridgewood, N.J.
How would you describe your politics? How long have you had them? My basic political outlook is libertarian. This is small government, local government and social liberal. After going through a youthful phase of left-leaning when Robert Kennedy was running, I have been libertarian since reading Ayn Rand in high school.
How long have you been reading Reason? What introduced you to the magazine/website? I started reading Reason in the late 1970s. My wife's former boss was an editor at an Objectivist-type college newpaper at MIT called Ergo. Discussions with him led me to Reason magazine. I subscribed to the magazine off and on during the '80s and early '90s and have been a full time subscriber for a good 10+ years.
What do you like most about it? Do you have a favorite writer or favorite"beat"? The two characteristics that I like most about Reason magazine are:
1. The topics picked are not just the top current "hot" items but are often important items to longer-term cultural, political, and legal issues.
2. The views and positions taken are not dogmatic or doctrinaire. They are carefully "Reasoned" and if facts/information changes, the Reason writers will adjust.
As far as a favorite writer/beat, it would be Katherine Mangu-Ward and her focus on education issues. So many of today's problems are related to poor education and the politics of education (ie., public teachers unions, student loan policy, etc).
That is to say, why do you consider it something to which it is worth donating your hard-earned money? Reason is the most intellectually honest, consistently straight forward magazine in the public domain. I need it to feed my brain and as an antidote to blur of information (not insight) from the mainstream media.
Name: Steve "CN" Stephens
Occupation: Travel writer and book critic for a major Midwestern producer of birdcage linings and fishwrap —delivered fresh daily to your doorstep!
Age: 1/2 century
Location: Buckeye Country
Politics: Free market/libertarian. I discovered libertarianism when I was a grocery clerk loading sacks in the back of a customer's car in 1976 and found a Roger McBride for President brochure. I swiped it in lieu of a tip. (I think the election was over, so I didn't feel guilty.)
Reason for loving Reason: I've been reading the mag at least since I was a college freshman — 1980. I don't remember, but I'm sure some crazy fellow libertarian turned me onto Reason. Or perhaps it was the Kochtopus. Those days are fuzzy.
I enjoy the political outlook, of course, but have always appreciated the cultural coverage as well. And hanging out at Hit & Run is fun, sort of like visiting a favorite bar, only I never have to buy a round. My favorite writer is, of course, Lucy Steigerwald (you're the one editing this, right?). But I have to say that every time I read one of Nick Gillespie's slightly unhinged Hit & Run tirades I always wish I had written it.
Name: Scott Grossman
Location: Temecula, CA
How would you describe your politics? Small "l" libertarian though I vote capital "L" libertarian when I've given that choice.
How long have you had them? I was exposed to libertarianism my junior or senior year of college. I was a political liberal and what I learned got me to thinking. The Parents Music Resource Center hearings completely soured me on the Democrats since I am a metalhead. I started working and saw the taxes taken from my paycheck. That's when I started paying attention to the economic aspect of libertarianism. I'd say from then on I was a libertarian in fact, if not in name.
How long have you been reading Reason? I picked up a few issues in the '90s. I think I started subscribing in 2000. I learned of the website from the magazine. I think I found the magazine on a newsstand and was delighted to find news analysis that wasn't liberal or conservative.
What do you like most about it? The focus on unintended consequences in government policies and the complete focus of both major parties on expanding the size of government, notwithstanding the Democrats supposed fidelity to civil rights and the Republicans supposed fidelity to small government.
Do you have a favorite writer or favorite "beat"? I really enjoy Veronique De Rugy's economic analysis. I know you didn't ask but if you are looking for article ideas I would really like to read something on sound money alternatives to the gold standard. I just don't believe we are ever going back to it but I'm sure there are good alternatives that would prevent the mischief we've seen from the Federal Reserve. I'd swear Milton Friedman wrote about this but I don't know where.
That is to say, why do you consider it something to which it is worth donating your hard-earned money? Because Reason has provided me with an education I didn't and probably couldn't have gotten anywhere else and one that I continue to receive. Reason exposed and has explained libertarian philosophy to me and showed how it applies in the real world. It's not an ivory tower discussion, rather it is a pragmatic one. I have also appreciatedReason's willingness to praise the giants of libertarian thought while also taking issue with them when they have strayed from their ideals (e.g. Matt Welch's recent analysis of Ron Paul's failure to adequately explain what happened with the racist newsletters published under his name) and the 2009 issue on Ayn Rand showing both how important her ideas were and how flawed she was as a person.