Reason Gala

One Big Reason You're Better Off Today than in 1968: Reason Turns 50 in L.A. on Nov. 3!

Join Reason All-Stars and fellow travelers John Stossel, Mitch Daniels, Vernon Smith, and Kennedy to celebrate 50 years of "Free Minds and Free Markets."


What do you think?

About a year ago, Pew Research asked people around the globe whether they thought life in their country was better or worse than it was 50 years ago.

Look to your right and down to see how Americans stack up. There we are, in a sad little grouping of countries, with just 37 percent of us feeling better about the current day than a time when major political figures were being gunned down in the streets, massive race riots convulsed cities that were already hitting the shitter, about 500,000 men were serving overseas involuntarily, and racism and sexism were overt and acceptable. FFS, in 1968, George Wallace won five states and 14 percent of the popular vote on a segregationist platform in a year that saw MLK and RFK get shot and riots erupt everywhere (including the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, the streets of Paris's Left Bank, and the Olympic Games in Mexico City)!

The upside of 1968? That was the year Reason was born, the product of the late, great Lanny Friedlander.

At Reason, we tend to believe that things are always getting better. Not that all things are always getting better all the time, but as a country and a planet, we're generally moving in the right direction. There's a heap of trouble in the world, but you look back a half-century and the things that immediately pop out are the end of Soviet Union and the last vestiges of 19th-century colonialism, the shrinking of the number of people living in what the United Nations considers extreme poverty, the relative lack of major shooting wars, the rise of global trade and movement of people, and the rise to near-equality of women.

As it happens, Reason is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 3. This is a time where we are calling in all the ships at sea to have a blowout, day-long, day-glo celebration of what's gotten better during the last half-century. After cranking out issue after issue since 1968, developing into the largest source of news, politics, culture, and ideas from a libertarian perspective, and building out Reason TV to be the premier libertarian video and podcast platform online, we're going to a day off to mix with our tribe of gentle, lovely, beautiful, fun freak-flag-flyers. Please join us!

The day's events include a morning of panels and conversations packed with past, present, and future Reason luminaries, including Robert W. Poole, Virginia Postrel, Adrian Moore, Nick Gillespie, Matt Welch, Katherine Mangu-Ward, and more; lunch with broadcasting legend John Stossel; and a gala dinner hosted by Fox Business star Kennedy and featuring former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Nobel Prize-winning economist Vernon Smith.

And the program is still being hashed out, with plenty of very great surprises yet to drop.

Go here for ticket prices and sponsorship opportunities (the latter includes an invite to a special Friday night dinner at L.A.'s incredible Bavel). Prices increase after September 15, so it pays to book early if you're coming from out of town. The day's events are at the Ritz-Carlton, but there are plenty of other hotels in the area, too.

The only thing that will make this great day better is your presence! Thanks for the support you've shown to Reason in our first 50 years. We can only say with cautious confidence that the next 50 years are really going to be awesome.

Reason, Joanna Andreasson

NEXT: Stephen Miller Also Benefitted from 'NOT ACCEPTABLE' Chain Migration

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  1. Some Reason writers are trying to sabotage that and get the World back to Socialism 20th Century style!

      1. You?

  2. Well, if Stossel is going to be there…

    1. Plus, no Shikha.

  3. 50 years of not getting invited to the ‘cool’ parties.

    But trying to make up for lost time!

  4. I don’t know how valuable these polls are. People (certainly in the West) tend to live in the moment and I’m wondering how people in general assess their current condition compared to a time when few were even born, or if they were, they have no memory of it.

    1. *takes survey*
      “Hey, the wifi went out!!”
      *wifi comes back on in 10 seconds*
      *pitches hissy, marks “life is worse now”*

  5. Weird how Chile is the only S./C. American country on the top half of that list (or above the US). Must be a coincidence.

  6. I’d bet if you broke down the political affiliation of the US respondents, the 41% who said things are worse today than 50 years ago are almost all on Team Blue, with a few McMullinoids and Never-Trumpers from Team Red thrown in.

    1. so, the MAGA crowd is made up of people that think things are better today than they were 50 years ago?

      1. Well now that Trump is president, America is great again! Haven’t you been paying attention?

      2. Don’t know if Trump voters actually think things are better, but I’m certain they are much more optimistic and much less hysterical than Hillary voters right now.

        The Left have been in constant tantrum mode since Hillary refused to concede on election night.

    2. Yes it is funny how the Right are supposed to be the appalling reactionary nostalgists because of a routine anodyne campaign-memorabilia slogan. But it’s always my leftist friends who I am constantly having to remind over and over again just how much things have improved (especially on the very things they are always so showily panicking about) even during our short lifetimes.

      1. Especially when it comes to environmental issues, where any good news is immediately dismissed as false.

        One of the Left’s most unshakeable dogmas is the idea that we are all gonna die, and it’s all (insert name of Republican president/giant US corporation/popular consumer product here) fault.

  7. “Mitch Daniels”

    You can’t let it go, can you?

    1. All you have to do is sorta kinda reduce spending and talk bad about people who object to baking a cake and you might just be the next LP nominee or get a glowing article about you in Reason!

      All warmongers welcome

      1. Oh I did not even see that! Next year maybe they can get Kasich; he is nothing if not socially moderate fiscally conservative.

        1. Kasich is about as “fiscally conservative” as Trump. Kasich pushed through the Medicaid expansion in Ohio and ran away from a fight on right-to-work.

          So, yeah, Suderman is going to be pimping him in 2020 and we’re all just going to pretend like none of that stuff ever happened.

  8. I assume the question of whether life is better now than it was 50 years ago was directed exclusively at people who are 70+. Otherwise how the fuck would they know?

    1. Color TVs?

      1. The internet?

        1. I would indeed be interested in a demographic breakdown. Also consider that countries vary very widely at this particular moment in history in age distribution. Don’t know how that is likely to influence responses on this question, but it surely does.

    2. 1968, of all years, was a pretty crappy year. Political unrest, Vietnam, assassinations. Most of the people who were old enough to experience it and give an informed opinion today were either in fear of getting drafted or already served in Vietnam.

      I can’t imagine how 41% of people could possibly think things were better then. Maybe the music and cars were better then? Not much else.

      1. Led Zeppelin formed in London and started working on their first album, so there’s one.

        Plus, 1968 was the last year we had to put up with corrupt Uncle Cornpone in the White House (although he was unfortunately replaced by Tricky Dick….)

        1. Bearded Spock made his first appearance in 1967, so he must know something about what he’s talking about.

          1. I salute your obviously extensive knowledge of Star Trek TOS.

            Clearly, you are a man of wealth and taste….

            1. Horseshit; you will not be born for approximately 210 years hence. You’re here to poach our whales, aren’t you?

              1. Not quite. Remember, I’m from a parallel universe where the Federation is the equivalent of the Klingon Empire.

                If I’m here for your whales then I’m looking to slaughter them all for their reproductive organs and take them back to be sold as aphrodisiacs.

                1. Hence my “poach” not “study”! I am on to your tricks!

                  Most evilly of all, I blame your Empire–along with many of the Prime Universe’s finest late-20th-century backup dancers–for convincing outrageously campy Baby Diego that he could pull mad poontang by rocking the vest with no shirt look.

                  1. Don’t look at me: I always wore the regulation long-sleeve uniform. It was Kirk who like to show off his biceps.

                    PS: Klingon chicks dig the beard.

                    PPS: Nurse Chapel is a FREAK on this universe.

  9. Most Americans are whiny, spoiled little bitches who have no idea how good they have it now.

    1. Speak for yourself. I only get cranky momentarily, when I cannot have my avocado toast.

  10. Fake News Nick offers some fake history:

    FFS, in 1968, George Wallace won five states and 14 percent of the popular vote on a segregationist platform

    Conveniently, the above quote links to liberal Wikipedia’s entry on the ’68 Wallace campaign. So according to Wikipedia what was Wallace running on, segregation?

    When asked what he considered the “biggest domestic issue for 1968,” Wallace replied:

    It’s people?our fine American people, living their own lives, buying their own homes, educating their children, running their own farms, working the way they like to work, and not having the bureaucrats and intellectual morons trying to manage everything for them. It’s a matter of trusting the people to make their own decisions.

    1. Nick’s Wikipedia link also offers this from Jack Newfield. I used to read esteemed left-wing journalist Jack Newfield in the Village Voice back in the late ’70s-mid-’80s.

      New Leftist Jack Newfield who by 1971 had become critical of both his movement and “consensus liberals” like Humphrey, wrote that year

      I cannot recall either Johnson in 1964 or Humphrey in 1968 campaigning on any positive or exciting ideas that might excite the almost-poor workers, whose votes they took for granted … In contrast, George Wallace has been sounding like William Jennings Bryan as he attacked concentrated wealth in his speeches …

      From 1960 to 1968 liberal Democrats governed the country. But nothing basic got done to make life decisively better for the white workingman. When he bitched about street crime, he was called a Goldwaterite by liberals who felt secure in the suburbs behind high fences and expensive locks. When he complained about his daughter being bused, he was called a racist by liberals who could afford to send their own children to private schools. Meanwhile, the liberal elite repeated their little Polish jokes at Yale and on the Vineyard; and they cheered when Eugene McCarthy reminded them that the educated people voted for him and the uneducated people voted for Robert Kennedy.

      Liberal hypocrisy created a lot of Wallace votes in 1968.

      They sure don’t make left wing journalists like they used to.

      1. Of course Wallace was called a segregationist and a Nazi during his 1968 Presidential Campaign.
        He frequently answered the charges:
        (once again, from Nick’s Wikipedia hyperlink saying Wallace ran a segregationist campaign)

        To hippies who said he was a Nazi, he replied, “I was killing fascists when you punks were in diapers.” Another memorable quote: “They’re building a bridge over the Potomac for all the white liberals fleeing to Virginia.”

  11. How many of the respondents had even been born? And the youngest of those who were adults then are nearly 70 now. Old geezers always romanticize the past-hell, I even find myself doing it at 47.

    Some things that I thought were better when I was a kid in the 1970s:
    1. Kids did not have to constantly be escorted by an adult everywhere they went
    2. Didn’t have to wear bike helmets
    3. Realistic looking toy guns
    4. People weren’t constantly glued to their smartphones because there were none, of course
    5. Could smoke in bars

    1. As a teenager in the mid-late 1970s I’ll add you could smoke weed openly at all rock concerts, in some bars, in second-run and drive-in movie theaters, in the public school student smoking lounge, public parks, walking down the street, in your car. If the police confronted you at all the worst likely to happen is they would take it away from, destroy it right before your eyes, and threaten to call your parents if they caught you again. They’d pour out your beer. DUI threshold for a 16 y/o was the same as it was for adults, 0.10. The drinking age was 18 but almost never enforced.

      This wasn’t some local aberration in my corner of the Bible Belt. When I went off to college in the 80s it was pretty much the universal 1970s t;een experience of my peers from all over the country. If you’ve ever seen that movie Dazed and Confused it was pretty much like that.

      1. Confirmed. The 1970s were probably the high-water mark for hands-off parenting, at least during the modern post-war era.

  12. I jut bit the bullet and decided to buy a $250,000 “Apollo 7 sponsorship.”

    HAHAHAHALOLOLOLOL. If you believed that one, you probably also believe that those dadgum Russkies hacked into your votin’ machine!

  13. In 1968, I was a young man. I can’t say that in 2018, unfortunately.

    1. I’m getting there

      In 1968 and 69 my reading list included Before We Read, We Look and See, We Work and Play, We Come and Go, Guess Who, Fun with Dick and Jane and Our New Friends. I got kicked out of the Before We Read group early in the first week. The curriculum worked. I was reading YA by 1970 and quickly realized I could read anything as most unfamiliar words could be understood by root or context.

      1. Nothing wrong with being a 6 y/o in ’68. Contra Nick’s obsession with all the racism and sexism, women and minorities had achieved equality before the law by then.

  14. The hypocracy of Reason holding a free minds/free markets event in the most heavily regulated and oppressive state in the Union should prevent anyone from showing up.

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