Don't know about you, but my Twitter feed is filled with people acting like #GivingTuesday is this venerable tradition that everybody has known about for years, WHEN THE DAMN MEME WAS CREATED ALL THE WAY BACK IN 2012, and—what's that? Today is Webathon-launch day? Hey everybody! It's #GivingTuesday! Donate to Reason right the hell now!
As Nick Gillespie pointed out in this morning's post, Reason (a magazine established in 1968) is published by The Reason Foundation—a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 1978 that also does public policy research—as a way to provide financial stability to a scrappy operation that was just marvelously winging it there for the first decade. Magazines of political opinion—your National Reviews, your Weekly Standards, your Nations—tend to operate along one of four models: 1) Privately owned by rich person who doesn't care about losing money, 2) privately owned by rich person who thinks this time around we're gonna find that magical opinion-mag profitability unicorn, 3) nonprofit dominated by a single individual; or our model, 4) nonprofit with a diffuse Board of Trustees and donor base. It is our fervent belief that models 1-3 are inherently unstable, depending as they do on the whims of single individuals who can quickly change their minds or sell their stakes, thus leading to the kinds of wild instability we've seen at magazines like The New Republic. By donating a modest $100 today—on #GivingTuesday, dammit!—you are helping ensure that your beloved champion of Free Minds and Free Markets is not going to wake up some day as a vehicle for Trump or Clinton Administration alums to advocate government intervention into the mahjong market.
When we started doing these Webathons back in the pre-#GivingTuesday era of 2008, part of the motivation was to, how to put this, make sure that those people who were consuming Reason editorial products for several hours a day without necessarily subscribing to the print magazine were made fully aware of their opportunities for tax-deductible support. We were targeting the hard-core commenters on a site that has one of the most robust comments sections in all of opinion magazinedom, is what I'm saying. What we did not know then was how, shall we say, intimate our relationship with y'all would be.
Not just this year, but in 2010-11 we fought our legal damndest in court when certain parties did not take kindly to the rough-and-tumble of the Hit & Run commentariat. Saner minds may have concluded five years ago that enabling opinion-mag comments in a litigious, overly prosecutorial world is simply not worth the added legal costs. BUT WE ARE NOT THOSE SANE MINDS. In prior Webathons, I might play the commenter card on the last day, pointing out that in addition to everything else we let you fling poo at us on television, and that we even somehow midwifed a real-life baby named Reason. But this year, I want to hear those woodchippers soar from Day One.
A donation of $100 gets you a Reason water bottle and a 1-year print/digital subscription. Boost it to $250 and you get a handsome T-shirt. Five hundred gets you that plus a Reason grocery bag and a copy of Damon Root's fantabulous Overruled book. A thousand buys you lunch in D.C. with a Reason editor and an invite to Reason Weekend (where other Reason babies, though not necessarily babies named Reason, have certainly been hatched). Five thousand conjures a 1-ounce silver Bastiat coin and two VIP tickets to the have-to-be-there-to-believe-it Reason Media Awards in New York City. And $10,000 gets you all that plus two tickets to Reason Weekend.
Do it for Baby Reason (or Toddler Reason, more accurately), do it for the cause of freewheeling online discourse; do it for goddamned #GivingTuesday—whatever the reason (drink!) just do it today! And thank you.