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Reason Is THE Libertarian Voice in National Debates About Politics, Culture, and Ideas

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Note: This is Reason's annual webathon week, during which we ask our audience to support our activities with tax-deductible donations. If you like what we do, please consider supporting us. More details here.

Check out this novel take on the sexual harassment and assault scandals that are clear-cutting vast parts of Hollywood, the news business, and private companies:

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….

The modern American capitalist system is far from perfect. But for all its flaws, our system — and the digital communication channels it enabled — has delivered social justice more swiftly and effectively than supposedly more enlightened public bodies tend to.

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.

That's an op-ed written by Reason's Elizabeth Nolan Brown and published in The New York Times earlier this week. It's not simply a sharp, bold, and provocative take on changing social mores, it's an explicitly libertarian take that stresses individual agency and responsibility, the ways in which new forms of communication empower the voiceless, and why even powerful corporations can be brought to heel by market forces.

Brown's piece, titled "NBC Didn't Fire Matt Lauer. We Did," exemplifies one of the major services Reason provides for its readers and like-minded libertarians. Not only do we publish dozens of articles every day, hundreds of videos and podcasts every year, and an award-winning magazine every month, our writers and editors appear all over the place, representing libertarian views where they are mostly lacking.

We don't just preach to the choir at Reason, we go into the dragon's lair and do battle with right-wingers, left-wingers, and everyone in between who wants to limit the way you can live your life. We strive to be your voice in national debates about politics, culture, and ideas, a voice that argues for hard-core libertarian principles such as autonomy and self-ownership, the right to be left alone, and the ability to live without having to ask permission for every deviation from the "norm" when it comes to lifestyle, business, or whatever.

HBO, Real Time w Bill Maher

Editor-at-Large Matt Welch is a one-man wrecking crew when it comes to appearing on Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC, making sure that "Free Minds and Free Markets" have a seat at the table; he's a regular on satellite radio to boot. He and I have both had memorable appearances on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, where libertarians are greeted the way Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheikh were greeted by professional wrestling crowds in the 1980s. In recent months, Brown has been joined in the Times' pages by colleagues Peter Suderman, Katherine Mangu-Ward, and Robby Soave. We show up in The Washington Post, too, which employs a couple of former Reason staffers (David Weigel and Radley Balko), The Daily Beast, The Week, and just about every place in print, online, or on air that you can think of.

Later today, for instance, you can catch me on NPR's wildly popular show On the Media, where I'll debate net neutrality with Tom Wheeler, the former Federal Communications Commission chairman who implemented those very rules.

We're not shrinking violets when it comes to representing, that's for sure. We take our ideas, beliefs, and policies seriously. And we take seriously our role as the leading libertarian organization advocating not simply for reducing the size, scope, and spending of government but for a world in which individuals are free to pursue happiness as they define it.

I'll leave you with one more recent example of how Reason is taking its message—and yours—to the streets. Or at least to people who haven't been exposed to libertarian ideas. On November 3, Katherine Mangu-Ward and I debated the editors of the socialist magazine Jacobin about the ethics and effects of capitalism at New York City's Cooper Union. It was packed house (900 tickets were sold!) and mostly hostile not simply to laissez-faire but to even the idea of private property or wage work.

This sort of missionary work is part and parcel of what we do. In advertiser-speak, it's part of our unique-selling proposition: We go out into the world spreading the good word of Reason wherever and whenever we can create an opportunity. Even and maybe especially in hostile territory.

Note: This is Reason's annual webathon week, during which we ask our audience to support our activities with tax-deductible donations. If you like what we do, please consider supporting us. More details here.

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  1. Would take square dancing.

    1. Went to a barn dance once as a kid. It was actually awesome.

      1. I went to a few in my youth. The attendees were roughly 2/3 old country folk and 1/3 unreasonably attractive young hipsters. Semi-related fact: i may have invented the “lumbersexual” trend sometime in 2004.

        1. My experience is that it should really be called square walking. It’s the only type of dancing I have done where rhythm is not required.

          1. That’s because it is primarily a dance of white people.

            1. My Catholic grammar school taught it to us in lieu of PE a couple of times a week, in the late 1960s. This was the south shore of Long Island, west of the potato and duck farms, and all old pre-war villages and post-war Levittownish developments. Few, if any of the kids were country music fans. I was, but that was in addition to rock, soul and pop, not instead of. I once could execute “Allemande Left with a Right and Left Grande” effortlessly – except for the sweaty palms from holding hands with actual, female-type girls! Square dancing wasn’t cool, but it had that.

              I disliked the slide of rock n’ roll into “prog rock” and proto-metal, and was listening for anything rootsy: Irish and other Celtic music, folk and Old Time, rockabilly and eventually blues. I’d tune my mono AM/FM portable to WWVA and catch the Jamboree out of Wheeling, but WNBC (now WFAN) 660 blocked WSM’s signal, so I couldn’t hear the Opry. I found a country FM in Connecticut, WWCO-FM (104.1, now WMRQ) that I could listen to with an extended antenna. I never missed Johnny Cash, John Hartford or Glen Campbell on the TV, and would even watch “Hee Haw” if my siblings didn’t vote it down. Of course, when I was a real crumb-cruncher, Roy Rogers was my hero.

            2. That’s why we never have to dance for the man.

        1. Bleah!! The hay sticks to the butter.

          Kevin R

    2. Oh, I bet Rachel knows all kinds of moves.

    3. Would take square dancing.

      Well – I’m not much of a dancer, but if you’re paying . . .

  2. The headline is setting you up for all sorts of commenter angst, Gillespie.

    1. I’m pretty sure he’s doing it on purpose… which is why I’m considering donating. I don’t care much for national debates, but reading comment section debates sometimes gets me through the workday.

      1. reading comment section debates sometimes gets me through the workday.

        Me too, so my advice to you is to just end it. Pull the trigger already!

        1. Easy Crusty, I know of a girl who went to jail for typing that… And I owe that knowledge to Reason.com.

          1. Okay. All the the pressure, the stress, the loneliness, the constant reminder that you will never live up to your expectations, all of that will not go away if you take off your belt and loop it around your neck.

            1. No, but it makes for one hell of an orgasm.

              I mean… so I heard on TV once…

              1. +1 Kwai Chang Caine

              2. An orgasm 1.7 times more powerful than a normal orgasm according to Dr. Norm MacDonald.

                1. Even BUCS is wary of getting turned on by the prospect of dead relatives beckoning him into the light.

    2. The headline is setting you up for all sorts of commenter angst, Gillespie.

      The capital ‘I’ in ‘Is’, lower-case ‘a’ in ‘and’, and the lower-case ‘i’ in ‘in’ is triggering. I’m sure it conforms to the Gillespie Manual of Style.

      1. Sorry ‘About’ too. Maybe it’s the ‘THE’ but the capitalization of the title is just grating.

    3. One of the few places I actually dread going is Reason’s comments section, yes.

      1. Is this really Gillespie, or someone that replaced a lowercase “l” with a capital “I”?

        1. Fake commentor. Terrible!

        1. Don’t sound so proud.

  3. That’s an op-ed written by Reason’s Elizabeth Nolan Brown and published in The New York Times earlier this week

    Very nice counter to the NYT op-ed warning women not to disarm themselves by accusing powerful democrats.

  4. HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher

    I love you guys, but I just can’t watch Maher or that other guy… Last Week’s News Tonight… whatever his name is.

    As I flip past, it takes a second for my tv to sync with the channel, then another second or so for me to bring the guide up and select another channel. In that time, I literally can’t change the channel before I hear the word “Trump”.

    Oh yeah, John Oliver.

    1. New rules: From now on Paul has to stop pretending not to know news-comedy show host’s names.

      *riotous applause*

      1. I’m woefully aware of the Crusty Juggler Comedy Hour, which seems to go on all day.

        1. the Crusty Juggler Comedy Hour, which seems to go on all day.

          New rule: From now on Crusty Juggler shall be referred to as “The Energizer Funny.”

      2. There is hardly an iota of comedy from either John Oliver or Bill Maher these days.

    2. I remember the episode from which that photo originates. Nick had to straighten out Rachel Maddow. He had to give it to her hard several times, but she finally just sat back quietly and took it.

      1. The next day Rachel announced she was was a lez. The power of the Jacket.

  5. Fun fact: Mort Zuckerman claimed to have written one of Obama’s speeches (he didn’t) and he gave money to Bernie Madoff.

  6. Later today, for instance, you can catch me on NPR’s wildly popular show On the Media, where I’ll debate net neutrality with Tom Wheeler

    And the host. If you guys appear on anything NPR, you’re debating the other guest and the host, who usually hold the same opinion.

    1. Except for the time Tyler Cowen was up against Matthew Yglesias on some show or other, and even the host was trying (unsuccessfully) to get Yglesias to stop talking for one goddamn second.

    2. Especially if it’s Bob Garfield. I used to like On the Media a lot, but in recent years it’s become unbearably slanted.

      1. You know who else was unbearably slanted?

        1. The Arctic with the advance of global warming?

      2. in recent years it’s become unbearably slanted

        Over the course of this last year, NPR as a whole has become unbearably slanted. Not that they weren’t slanted before, but they’ve gotten so outright-dishonest that I can’t even listen anymore. Their coverage of the Manafort indictment was an embarrassment. I haven’t listened since.

        Now, when I want to listen to a Democrat, I listen to Bloomberg. They’re slanted, but at least somewhat beholden to reality.

        1. I used to listen to Charlie Rose on Bloomberg radio.

          Oh. Sorry.

          Never mind!

          Kevin R

        2. NPR matters? NPR is almost totally reporters interviewing other reporters. Consider all the slant/perspective/camouflaged editorializing that this enables. Or maybe reporters are just experts on everything. Remember when their reporters made stories to appear they were on location when they actually weren’t? I guess they were saving the taxpayers money. or they were too busy getting balled by the executives.

  7. Then maybe hire more actual libertarians and less people trying out for Wonkette/Mother Jones/Huffington Post

  8. On November 3, Katherine Mangu-Ward and I debated the editors of the socialist magazine Jacobin about the ethics and effects of capitalism at New York City’s Cooper Union.

    I do respect the heavy lifting.

  9. This is the Nick Gillespie of fundraising pitches

    1. Lead with a pretty girl, end with calling it ‘missionary work’ 😛

      1. Maybe have an interview in the subject of feminism with both Mangu-Ward and ENB, accompanied by a hot bikini beach pictorial featuring the two of them. That might make up for publishing some of Chaoman and Dalmia’s drivel.

  10. You really think it’s helpful to make a centerpiece of an article which embraces the rule of the mob (in the guise of “social justice”) and equates that with Libertarianism?

    I wonder how many “Libertarians” believe minorities also have rights, not just against the government, but against their fellow citizens. Liberties beyond just life and property. (If even that. “You want to eat? You better sell us all of that, at an appropriate discount of course, and hightail it out here.”)

    1. Trying to control what you cannot will always lead to failure and subsequently varied levels of suffering.

      1. I know this to be true every time I get off the couch and vote for a libertarian.

  11. I have found that, when taking the libertarian message into hostile territory, the most successful tactic is to stress our support for open borders.

    For example, I have some progressive friends from college who would always say mean things about libertarianism, the Koch Brothers, and so on. So I conducted an experiment. I copied the text of some Reason articles about immigration, but omitted the authors’ names, and sent them to my friends. “Without knowing the source of this article,” I asked them, “would you say you agree or disagree with its message?” And in almost every case, my progressive pals agreed with Reason! I’m sure I don’t need to tell you it was quite a shock for them to learn they were agreeing with a Koch-funded libertarian magazine!

    I encourage my fellow libertarians to try this approach.

    1. Obvious and transparent. D+.

      1. It was somewhat convincing. D+ seems harsh. I’d say B-. I imagine Nick scrolling through the comments and saying “this guy gets it. Libertarian moment!”

        1. OK, maybe a C, but that’s as far as I’m going.

      2. You can tell Gillespie is failing because he can only inspire monotonous trolling.

      3. Do you have any progressive friends? Do they often criticize the Koch Brothers and libertarianism in general? If so, how do they respond when you inform them that libertarians are on the right side of history on the most important current political issue?

        In my experience, making common ground with progressives over our shared enthusiasm for immigration is absolutely worthwhile. YMMV, I suppose.

        1. Dude, you suck at this. Political Turing Test fail.

          1. And a weak Judge Nappy impersonation.

  12. I think Nick is a Muppet. Has anyone ever seen his legs? Frank Oz is definitely doing his voice.

    1. Confirmed ENB is not a muppet. Wait, lemme double-check. Actually, I’ll have to do some more in depth analysis and get back to you.

    2. Since a vote in about 2013 or ’14 based on a suggestion made by Katherine Mangu-Ward, we refer to legs, male or female, as “getaway sticks.” Of which I have two, mostly still functioning.

      1. Wow, did I actually get Nick to descend into the comments?

        1. Yeah, but just the host. The Jacket will never grace us with its presence.

        2. No, someone else did. Although, it’s fundraising season, which means like a politician, Nick must… at some point, press the flesh with some “Normals”. It’s a much hated requirement of the job.

          1. Some of them are nice people. Some very fine people on both sides, I’m sure.

        3. No, that was me. You love stealing credit as much as you love terrible-tasting beer.

            1. If Zeb is an anti-natalist, that at least explains his love of IPAs.

              1. A good friend of mine finally got his wife pregnant after he stopped drinking IPAs. But then he got into CrossFit, which was worse.

          1. Only because your comment was higher on the page.

            And no, I don’t love Gennesee Cream Ale (the official worst beer in the US).

              1. I had a cucumber beer last weekend that was enjoyable, and well-received by the freaks I was with.

                Drink cucumber beer instead, Zeb.

                1. If Crusty ever offers you “cucumber beer,” you best refuse.

            1. Having drunk my fair share of Fair Genny, I dispute that “worst beer” appellation. Quite a few Beer Advocate reviewers would agree with me that it is all right, if not among the best. Even the Alstr?m Bros are with me on this.

              Now, Genny Light….. Is it fair to call any light “beer” the worst? Doesn’t it being light disqualify it? You can occasionally find a drinkable light, though the easiest way to make it palatable is to pump up the ABV and serve it ice cold, as if you were at a frat party in your late teens, or a field party or beach bash in high school.

              I’ll probably buy a 6 of Yuengling on the way home tonight, maybe some `Gansett.

              Kevin R

  13. Reason Is THE Libertarian Voice in National Debates About Politics, Culture, and Ideas

    Sometimes. Sometimes not.

  14. Hi, I’m John Titor, and this is ENB, one of many unfortunate Reason contributors. ENB has lived a hard life, dieting to the point of malnutrition, writing poorly sourced content and fighting people saying mean things on Twitter. But you can help.

    Many who live in DC lack access to basic resources, such as actual competence, self-awareness, or general sanity. For just five dollars a month you can ensure that ENB will receive access to at least one artisanal sandwich, that she may or may not eat. Please, donate today and give these people a chance at a new life.

    1. Glibfiltrator!

      1. I joined the Glibertarian Peace Corps, I’m just trying to do my part in less fortunate regions of the internet.

        1. If you really wanted to help, you’d have brought some of HM’s twerking videos with you.

          1. Is that something we want to see? HM twerking?

  15. Reason Is THE Libertarian Voice in National Debates About Politics, Culture, and Ideas

    This is the Nick Gillespie of Nick Gillespie-claims.

  16. If I donate a monthly pledge does my annual donation amount count towards the tiers of benefits?

  17. “Reason Is THE Libertarian Voice in National Debates About Politics, Culture, and Ideas”

    like the premier or like the only?

  18. More KMW/ENB legz or no alms for you, Caucasian Benecio Del Toro With Luke Skywalker’s Hairstylist.

  19. Yeah, more libertarianism of the Reason variety, please!

    More articles explaining voting for Obama.

    More Shikha content explaining how terrible we all are.

    More ENB content attacking people for making jokes.

    More ENB demanding violence against Ben Shapiro for not toeing the trans PC line.

    More prevarication on rights for those in utero.

    Christ how I wish the Mises institute was more popular. That’s where I’ll be donating.

  20. Nah, it is just a Koch holster with a consistently principled stance on cop violence, eminent domain misuses and support for crony capitalism.
    All the while covering up Republican excesses and amplifying Democratic ones

  21. Give a tax-deductible donation NOW so we can keep representing your perspective at The New York Times, NPR

    See! Progressitarianism works! We’re getting invited to write at the Cool Kids party!

  22. And that voice demonstrates on an almost daily basis why the American People (and voters) think you’re a bunch of kooks.

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