I'm happy to announce that it's that time of the year again!
From today through next Tuesday, December 8, Reason will be hosting our annual webathon, during which we'll be going all PBS on you, our most loyal readers at Reason.com, and asking you to make a tax-deductible donation in support of our award-winning journalism.
Unlike PBS or NPR, Reason isn't funded by willing and unwilling taxpayers. We're a nonprofit that raises every dollar of our budget every year. But like Camus' Sisphyus, we're happy warriors faced with the seemingly endless task of pushing for more individual freedom and liberty in every area of human activity via our three great journalism platforms: Reason magazine (founded in 1968), Reason TV (founded in 2007 with the help of Reason Foundation trustee Drew Carey), and this website (founded in 1994).
This past year has seen some real successes (hey, just yesterday, the NSA supposedly stopped automatically bulk collecting your telephone metadata unless it entered a specific request!) and many setbacks (too numerous to mention, but let's just go with the war hysteria that's once again pulsing through the nation's arteries).
We can't guarantee more freedom in any give fight, but what we can guarantee is that Reason staffers will be making the principled case for libertarian solutions and perspectives on every topic imaginable. Three of the past year's highlights include:
- When it came to fighting so-called Net Neutrality, which is nothing less than an attempt by an obsolete and unnecessary federal agency to justify its continued existence by laying claim to regulating the Internet, Reason produced an in-depth interview with maverick FCC Ajit Pai. Net Neutrality, he said, was "a solution that won't work to a problem that doesn't exist."
- When The New York Times ran an expose of the nail-salon industry in the Big Apple that ostensibly found all sorts of shady and exploitative business practices, Reason followed up with a series that forced the "Paper of Record" to admit that it went "too far" and "its findings, and the language used to express them, should have been dialed back — in some instances substantially."
- When a federal prosecutor demanded that Reason turn over information about our commenters in response to the indefensible effective life sentence handed down to Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht, we fought back against a gag order and rallied media outlets across the political spectrum to challenge the government's quickness to silence dissent.
We're published by a nonprofit and don't have the vast resources that major media outlets have. Nor do we have the deep-pocketed benefactors that partisan folks on the right and left boast (especially in presidential election years, when supposedly serious conservative and progressive outlets ultimately sell out and embrace whatever bum is served up by the Republican and Democratic Parties). What we have is something different: Intellectual seriousness, principled consistency, and a staff that is always busting its ass to bring you the latest in libertarian news, commentary, and analysis.
Every month, Reason magazine goes out to around 50,000 subscribers, more than a million viewers watch Reason TV videos, and Reason.com pulls over 4 million visits.
Whether you're interested in drug-policy reform or the latest breakthroughs in biotech, you'll read about it here first and you'll get cutting-edge libertarian analysis. We practically designed the lens through which the nation's overzealous warrior cops are being viewed now. No one has been covering the assault on civil liberties on the nation's campuses better than Reason and we're also pushing the envelope when it comes to sexual freedom and letting consenting adults do anything that's peaceful. While other outlets make excuses when their guys and gals in local, state, and federal government decide to spend more tax money we don't have on a special pet project (stadiums, say, or green energy or perpetual war), Reason has been talking about the need for seriously smaller government across the board. We want the government to treat all of us the way we treat our readers: As adults who are ready, willing, and able to make decisions about their own lives.
Most important, we're not just making the case to sympathetic audiences. Matt Welch is a fixture on cable channels such as MSNBC, where he makes the case of limited government in the drug war and the war war. I write a regular column at The Daily Beast, where hardcore libertarian beliefs surprisingly often find a sympathetic ear to readers who haven't heard a differing POV in a long, long time. Jacob Sullum blogs about the drug war at Forbes and is a nationally syndicated columnist whose work appears on editorial pages all over the country. Other staffers write books and publish articles all over the place and we all are constantly on the radio, the web, and appearing at big and small conferences around the country.
In print, online, in video—Reason seeks to be your guide to a complicated world, your conversation pit for hashing out arguments among like-minded people, and your home base as you travel through life. And we seek to be your voice in all debates about politics, culture, and ideas.
Throughout the next seven days, Matt Welch and I will be popping up on the blog to ask for your support for our work. Your contribution is tax deductible and here's some of the swag we're giving away:
- $100: Receive a Reason water bottle and a 1-year print and digital subscription to Reason magazine. Your Reason digital subscription includes access to 47 years of Reason magazine archives.
- $250: Receive a Reason water bottle, a 1-year print and digital subscription to Reason magazine, and a Reason T-shirt.
- $500: Receive all of the above plus a Reason grocery bag and an autographed copy of "Overruled" by Damon Root.
- $1,000: Receive all of the above plus a private lunch in Washington, DC with a Reason editor and an invitation to Reason Weekend.
- $5,000: Receive all of the above plus a Reason 1oz silver Bastiat Coin & 2 tickets to the Reason Media Awards in NYC (includes VIP seating and a reception with Matt Welch and me).
- $10,000: Receive all of the above & 2 tickets to Reason Weekend for 1st time attendees.
- For planned giving, contact Melissa Mann Director of Development (800) 582-2245 firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a full listing of giving levels and associated swag, go here.
Your gift is essential to our success. So please, put your money where our mouth is. For your convenience, we accept donations via credit card, Paypal, Amazon Payments and (of course) Bitcoins. We also accept donations of appreciated stock.
Over the next week-plus, Matt and I will not just be hitting you up for money. We'll be talking about all the ways big and small that we're pushing for a world that is relentlessly interesting, innovative, and respectful of individual rights, capitalism, and peace. And we'll be thanking you for reading—and for your support.