"The libertarians at Reason magazine have a fine summation of why the wall won't work. If only Mr. Trump would read it," sighed The New York Times in an unsigned editorial this spring. The editorial board was urging the president (and Times readers) to check out Reason's cover story containing the "legal, practical, economic, and moral case against Trump's border barrier."
Not so long ago, it would have been a complete shock to find The New York Times sending anyone to check out Reason. But nowadays it's almost normal, thanks to a growing acknowledgment that libertarian voices are sounding pretty good against the stale cacophony of the partisan debate—and Reason staffers' overall badassery. (Which you can support with your generous webathon donations!)
Why look! Just today the Times ran this barn burner from Associate Editor Elizabeth Nolan Brown on the fall of Matt Lauer:
We're rightfully concerned about how the internet gives corporations more opportunities to exert power over consumers, but we talk far less about the flip side: We have more power over companies now, too. For better or worse, we've all become remarkably effective at mobilizing it to our own causes.
In contrast, look at Washington. If either Representative John Conyers Jr. or Senator Al Franken were in today's corporate world, they'd be long gone. And just imagine if Roy Moore was a candidate for a C-suite job this month. He'd have no shot.
Instead, at least so far, these politicians have been protected, and whatever happens to them, it's clear that the political system is structured to insulate men like them from the consequences of their actions and keep their accusers quiet….
As we observe and adjust to the sociosexual storm we're all in, let's appreciate the powers and paradigms making it possible: feminism, but also free markets.
Earlier this month, I argued in the Sunday Review that our terrible tax system is the root of our political dysfunction:
People hate taxes because they hate to be pushed around. But politicians love taxes because it's their job to push people around, and taxes are a powerful tool to do just that. A "tax return you can fill out on the back of a postcard" — long promised by the Republican Party — would essentially be a decision by the political class to unilaterally disarm itself.
Associate Editor Robby Soave has defended teen texters:
By all means, let's empower teachers to confront harassment and refer troubled teenagers to mental health professionals. But we don't need to broadly criminalize teen cruelty to do that. Nor should we continue down the path of pretending that the First Amendment's ironclad protection of hateful expression is voided whenever someone says (or texts) something that makes us squirm.
Features Editor Peter Suderman has been a repeat guest, generally embroidering on the topic of the GOP's failures on health care reform: But one of his opinion contributions in particular drew this irate response from one of his neighbors on the page:
On the same day, Peter Suderman calls for Republicans to scrap their current effort and go full libertarian 2/ https://t.co/g2B97sxcDf
— Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) July 7, 2017
Obviously, it's not all sunshine and kumbaya when it comes to Reason and the Times. Their editorial line and our diverge in important ways. Not to mention that the Times continues to have trouble classifying us: In the paper's online left-and-right reaction roundup feature, Reasoners (while always correctly identified as libertarians) have been filed under both right (Jacob Sullum on background checks), and center (me on free speech for fascists).
Reason pulls no punches when it comes to our inky-fingered brothers. You may recall in 2015 when Reason TV's Jim Epstein took on the Times' reporting about labor practices in Korean nail salons. (He wound up eliciting a response from the public editor, who agreed with several of Epstein's criticisms.)
As the Times Magazine famously asked in 2014: "Has the Libertarian Moment Finally Arrived?" I'm not sure I'd go that far, but the Overton Window certainly does seem to have opened up a bit in our direction.
And it's surely a good thing if New York Times readers occasionally hear from Reason staffers about the issues of the day, regardless of whether they love us or hate us. A libertarian point of view is too often a rarity on the opinion pages of major newspapers (R.I.P. John Tierney's op-ed slot) and we're delighted that editors and readers at the Times are more open to Reason's voices than every before.