Founded in 1968, Reason has been celebrating its 50th birthday all year long. We've already cracked open the bubbly several times this year at events in New York, D.C., and Vegas, but the mother of all parties for our golden year is taking place in Los Angeles on November 3, at the downtown Ritz-Carlton.
All tickets to the gala (go here for pricing) include admission to a Saturday morning program emceed by Matt Welch and me and packed with Reason luminaries such as Jacob Sullum, Ronald Bailey, Robby Soave, and of course Editor in Chief Katherine Mangu-Ward.
We'll be joined by fellow travelers such as the ACLU's Nadine Strossen, Scientific American's Michael Shermer, The Los Angeles Times' Gustavo Arellano, The Volokh Conspiracy's Eugene Volokh, and more (the program is, like the national debt, always growing, but in a good way). We're going to have fun, celebratory conversations and remembrances about how far we've come since 1968 and what we need to be pushing toward over the next 50 years.
Lunch will feature broadcasting legend John Stossel, who credits Reason with turning him into the fire-breathing libertarian he is, and who is currently burning bright on YouTube and Facebook with a series of Stossel on Reason video docs and op-eds. Fox Business star Kennedy will host the dinner program, which will boast remarks from 2002 Nobel Prize-winning economist Vernon Smith. Former federal budget director, two-term Indiana governor, and current president of Purdue University Mitch Daniels will offer up his views on Reason's influence, impact, and inspiration.
We've all come a long way since 1968. The Vietnam War was raging, with no end in sight for it or for the military draft. The assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy sparked riots in Detroit, New York, Washington, and over 100 other American cities. The Chicago police busted heads at the Democratic National Convention, Soviet tanks crushed the Prague Spring, and Olympic athletes raised their fists from the medal platform.
In the midst of such turbulence, a Boston University student named Lanny Friedlander (1947–2011) launched Reason magazine. His new publication featured a clean and striking graphic design and, even more important, a clean and striking ethos. Friedlander's editor's note in the first issue of Reason proclaimed:
When REASON speaks of poverty, racism, the draft, the war, student power, politics, and other vital issues, it shall be reasons, not slogans, it gives for conclusions… Proof, not belligerent assertion. Logic, not legends. Coherence, not contradictions. This is our promise: This is the reason for REASON.
Fifty years on, Reason has evolved from an irregularly published mimeographed 'zine into the planet's largest source of news, culture, policy, and ideas from a principled libertarian perspective. Our mission is more relevant than ever in a world where proof still struggles against belligerent assertion, logic battles legends, and coherence fights the good fight against contradictions. For every battle we've won, a new one arises!
So take a few days off from your own personal fights for freedom and come join us in Los Angeles on November 3. It's going to be an unforgettable celebration of how far we have all come since 1968—and an inspiration to us all as we tackle the work that's still ahead of us in our next 50 years.