Here we are, closing out the second day of Reason's 2014 Webathon! Thanks to all the folks who have already given—and a pox upon those who have yet to drop some coins (gold, bit, what have you) into the hat.
Reason magazine, Reason.com, and Reason TV are all published by the nonprofit Reason Foundation and we're looking for $200,000 in (tax-deductible!) donations to support our journalism in 2015.
In all of our work and across each of our platforms, Reason promotes libertarian approaches to politics, culture, and ideas. We believe in "Free Minds and Free Markets," that economic and civil liberties are indivisible, and that increasing individual autonomy, choice, and responsibility is a good thing.
We believe in open borders (for people as well as goods), deregulated markets (and no bailouts for banks or automakers), school choice, drug legalization, sound science, religious freedom, and pluralism. And if you can believe it, we kind of insist on equal treatment of people under the law.
All of which apparently doesn't just make us an enemy of the state but of evolution (which we believe in, honestly)!
Writing in Sunday's New York Times, University of Illinois at Chicago anthropologist John Terrell announced:
The sanctification of the rights of individuals and their liberties today by libertarians and Tea Party conservatives is contrary to our evolved human nature as social animals. There was never a time in history before civil society when we were each totally free to do whatever we elected to do. We have always been social and caring creatures. The thought that it is both rational and natural for each of us to care only for ourselves, our own preservation, and our own achievements is a treacherous fabrication. This is not how we got to be the kind of species we are today.
You got that? We libertarians are not just a little odd but are actual, honest-to-god freaks of Nature (Hi, Mom)!
And to make things even worse, the good professor—who curiously quotes not a single line, word, or punctuation mark from a libertarian in his essay—rubs our nose in the fact that "self-described libertarians generally also pride themselves on their high valuation of logic and reasoning over emotion." What is it that Dr. Smith used to say on Lost in Space? "Oh the pain! The pain!"
I can't speak for "Tea Party conservatives" and wouldn't dare to speak for the rest of my colleagues at Reason, much less the heterodox, rag-tag crew of glorious, crazy bastards collected under any and all definitions of the term libertarian. But this sort of smug, fact-free, ahistorical, and just plain dumb dismissal of libertarianism is yet one more thing we're fighting here at Reason. Add it to the list that includes such me-me-me concerns that we cover frequently such as sentencing reform, occupational licensing hassles, marriage equality, and eminent-domain abuse.
A simple scroll through today's articles at Reason.com suggests just how out-to-lunch Terrell's brand of criticism is. There's all those goddamn stories about how the NYPD cop who placed Eric Garner in a lethal chokehold wasn't indicted by a grand jury. You know why? Because we just don't fucking care about other people, that's why! And then there's that interview with anti-Putin activist and former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov. Could we have been thinking that the experiences of people living under past and current repressive regimes might be of interest? Nah, come on already!
And that story about how some conservatives are rethinking their support for the death penalty. You know, that story simply can't exist because as Professor Terrell wrote, we care "only for ourselves, our own preservation, and our own achievements." Don't believe your eyes—also a product of evolution, come to think of it—when you stumble across Reason stories and videos that talk about the lives of others and the communities they build when they are given more freedom to choose for themselves where to live, what to eat, whom to love.
Founded in 1968, Reason does indeed try to bring "logic and reasoning" to discussions of public policy. That's not because we think we stand apart from evolution or civil society or other humans or because unlike the rest of you looters and moochers, we paid full-market rent in the womb and breast-fed ourselves as babies. No, it's precisely because we're human. Rationality is every bit as much a part of evolution as is emotion, I'd wager. And contra Terrell, we emphasize that part of being human is being fallible and epistemologically limited. One of the biggest problems the world has always faced is the surplus of folks who think they have indeed got everything figured out. Beware the man with a plan so perfect that he needn't convince you of its wisdom but instead just bullies or coerces you into doing what he thinks is best. But if you do insist on using emotion to forge public policy, I've got some Salem Witchcraft Trials, Japanese-American Internments, and Ritual Satanic Child Abuse Panics I can show you.
If wanting to inform public policy with, uh, rational discourse makes us freaks, then all I can say, with apologies to the Ramones, is we accept you, we accept you.
So if you are able and willing to donate to our 2014 Webathon, you'll not only help us reach our goal of $200,000 (and get some cool swag in the deal), you'll be committing an honest-to-god crime against Nature!