Are You Tired of The Great American Shouting Match?: Please Support Reason

For 50 years, we've fought for tolerance, pluralism, and free speech. We've won a lot of fights, but Reason's voice is needed now more than ever.



It's our annual webathon, during which we ask readers to support our journalism with tax-deductible donations (go here to give; scroll down to see swag levels). This is a good time to go back to the very beginning of Reason:

Introducing REASON: We accept the responsibility that others have defaulted on. Others preferred to smear the issues with irrelevancies and falsifications. We don't. Others preferred to be incomprehensible and incoherent. We don't. Others preferred to ignore your mind. We won't.

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.

Those paragraphs are from the first issue of Reason, which debuted in the generally awful year of 1968 (the second paragraph is emblazoned our own brand-new T-shirt, and complimentary with a $250 donation). We've come a long way since then, as a magazine and as a country. Founded by the late Lanny Friedlander, a 20-year-old student at Boston University, Reason started out as a mimeographed 'zine but now is nothing short of a multimedia juggernaut. The monthly magazine is flourishing, and so are our website, video platform, and podcasts. Fifty years ago in America, the Vietnam War was raging and the draft seemed inescapable; pot and homosexuality and abortion were completely or mostly illegal; women and blacks were shut out from anything approaching full participation in society. The media were dominated by a handful of broadcast networks, newspapers, and publishing houses. Airlines, interstate trucking, and phone service, along with most of the economy, were regulated to the hilt. Freak flags were starting to fly, but really just barely.

We didn't know it then, but what we might call The Great American Shouting Match was just getting started, between parents and kids, squares and hippies, main frames and personal computers, gray-flannel suits and blue jeans, beehivers and bra burners…the unbuttoning of everything was underway. That's mostly been a good thing, for individuals and society. It's been a messy evolution, for sure, with a lot of mistakes, dead-ends, and failures; but we are, in powerful and incalculable ways, more able to develop and speak our minds than we were a half-century ago. We're also more able to live however we want. One quick example: Around the time of Reason's founding, a majority of states prohibited unmarried women from legally purchasing birth control (that "right" would only be fully established in 1972 by a Supreme Court ruling).

Everett Collection/Newscom

One of the reasons I'm proud to work at Reason is that we've played a consistent role in advancing the rights of individuals to live however they want, as long as it's peaceful and consensual. From our earliest days, we advocated equality for women, gays, and racial and ethnic minorities even as our counterparts on the right and left remained trapped in older ways of thinking (blacks wanted to live in ghettos, women didn't really want to work outside the home, homosexuality was a mental illness, right?). The same goes for arguing for the rights of entrepreneurs to come up with new ways of doing business, even or especially when innovation challenges established interests. Yet Reason has never simply or mindlessly argued for mere iconoclasm, either. We just think that people should be more free.

That commitment to individualism—and hence tolerance and pluralism—is matched by how we strive to express ourselves: "Proof, not belligerent assertion. Logic, not legends. Coherence, not contradictions." Do we live up to those ideals 100 percent of the time? No, but in a world seemingly populated exclusively by troops of howler monkeys flinging rhetorical feces at one another, we don't argue from mere authority, tradition, or attitude. We present the best-available evidence and lay out our case for this or that point of view, policy, or position. We can respect the past and learn from it without being trapped by it (the conservative's problem) without insisting on redesigning society from scratch (the progressive's problem).

This is the golden age of distrust, of "belligerent assertion" in Lanny Friedlander's term. Nobody believes anyone anymore, and the volume on most discussions of politics and culture is turned up to 11, especially among lefties suffering from Stage 4 Trump Derangement Syndrome and right-wingers obsessed with dunking on the libs.

When you support Reason, you're not just helping us imagine, investigate, and champion a world of "Free Minds and Free Markets," you're also making a statement about how we should comport ourselves as a society. You're saying no to The Great American Shouting Match and the rank polarization and politicization of everything. You're saying yes to a future that is more free, more fair, and ultimately more fun.

Here's what different gift levels get you:

$50 Reason bumper sticker.

$100 All of the above PLUS a Reason magazine subscription (includes print or digital; digital includes access to archives of 50 years of Reason magazine). Receive invitations to Reason events in your area.

$250 All of the above PLUS a newly designed Reason T-Shirt (see image).

$500 All of the above PLUS books by Reason authors.

$1,000 All of the above PLUS a private lunch in Washington, DC with a Reason editor and an invitation to Reason Weekend 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona.

$5,000 All of the above PLUS 1 ticket to Reason Weekend for first-time attendees

$10,000 All of the above PLUS 2 tickets to Reason Weekend for first-time attendees.

Your support is vital to everything we do—and massively appreciated.

NEXT: Joshua Browder Is Building You a Robot Lawyer

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. We’re also more able to live however we want.

    Let the counterexamples roll…

    1. Go try Somalia for your daily dose of Anarchist paradise.

  2. “Proof, not belligerent assertion. Logic, not legends. Coherence, not contradictions. This is our promise; this is the reason for REASON.”

    Holy shit! Someone better tell the staff!

    1. The cold diarrhea in a dixie cup aspires to be hot shit in a champagne glass.

    2. And yet here you are reading and commenting. People seem to have no lives any more. Why don’t you head over to Alex Jones and Breitbart for a safespace.

      1. “Why don’t you head over to Alex Jones and Breitbart for a safespace.”

        There’s a name for that failure of logic. For your own benefit, look it up. You, and your friend Adolph Hitler too.

      2. It’s people like you, who never read those that they disagree with, who are the problem. And people reading have no lives? Well, that explains your intelligence level.

  3. You can also support Reason via AmazonSmile.

    1. I just buy the magazine every couple of years.

  4. Hold the phone, I thought the Reason web-a-thon WAS the great American shouting match ??
    Also my wife loves the new Reason T shirt……. Says it’ll make a great dishrag !

  5. How many $250 t-shirts has George Soros bought so far?

    1. How dare you! It’s an anti-Semitic dog whistle to say the name “George Soros” in a sentence or paragraph in which money is mentioned.


      1. Nah it’s okay to criticize Soros, but too many conservatives see the #GreatSorosConspiracy and then ignore it when Koch brothers and others spend vast sums of wealth on spreading their own version of “truth” bunch of fucking hypocrites talking about “keeping the money out” .

  6. Reason lately has really been dropping the ball on the draft. Barely any stories on the subject. And the original Reason group would be appalled at the turn the current magazine has taken on student power.

    1. On the draft? What is this the 60s? Have I been transported back to then? Will I get to see the moonshot again?

    2. When will females be forced to register now that the combat exclusion rule is gone?

      1. Nah; the dems took the house.

      2. True equality, or back to the way things used to work! Women can’t get all the perks and none of the responsibility. Men still pay most of the taxes, receive fewer handouts, do all the shit/dangerous jobs, and then are discriminated against in college admission, job hiring etc. All this bullshit needs to be reworked if women really want to be”our equals.”

  7. I used to support Reason, but not anymore.

    Reason has turned into just another progressive outlet whose “libertarianism” consists of free drugs, free sex, open borders, and a corporate agenda. The occasional good article doesn’t make up for the bulk of crappy articles.

    Not a penny from me anymore.

    1. And yet here you are… Libertarians have been for those things for decades did you just fucking wake from a 50 year coma or something?

      1. There’s a difference between accepting that some vices should be legal, vs pushing them as actual good things. De open borders, why is it fine to have a reasonable compromise on taxes, gun rights, religious freedom, etc… Yet no compromise is acceptable on any of the proggy positions?

        This is what shows the true colors of the current Reason staff.

  8. Geez, what a bunch of negative Nellies making comments this morning. Well, I’ll weigh in: Nick, you and your colleagues are doing a great job maintaining a small island of sanity in the large ocean of drool that is mainstream American political discourse. Thanks.

    (Couldn’t spring for the t-shirt, sorry, but I did kick in enough to get another year tacked onto my subscription. Which I think has a good chance to outlive me.)

    1. I’m glad we have reason. Those fucking Russian trolls and fake Libertarians can head on over and stroke each others cucks over at Breitbart and Fox News.

  9. I wish I could donate to Reason to reward the calm, rational, fact-based work of my favorite libertarian writer Shikha Dalmia. Especially the piece I link in my name, in which she draws compelling parallels between enforcing a national border and enforcing fugitive slave laws.

    Alas, now that Drumpf has completely ruined the global economy just as Paul Krugman said he would, I do not have the spare funds. Maybe next year!

    1. +1

    2. +2 [sorry for the vile names I called you before I appreciated your parody]

    3. OBL is the best.

  10. This _is_ a good time to go back to the very beginning of Reason, and if you did, I might be willing to give you some money.

  11. $250 for a t shirt? Who is being elitist here…?

    1. This T-shirt better have cool special features like turning into a suit jacket when you approach a formal event.

      1. Not enough. Needs to at least give handies for that kinda dough!

    2. It’s for a donation, not the shirt. Are you daft?

  12. Reason, all ya have to do is act a little bit like Libertarians and ya might get more donations.

    No open borders, Rule of Law under a tiny and limited government, end government involvement in marriage (including gay marriage), free trade and using negotiation tactics to get there, and drop the TDS.

  13. I was excited that “Reason Weekend” is in Phoenix, then I looked at the price.

    1. +1

  14. Neither side, esp the progtards, seem interested in ending the shouting match anytime soon, but I donated anyway. I hope this will be good for at least a couple of free drinks at the next Reason DC happy hour

  15. Not sure why I see the same couple account spewing nonsense on every single article. Their “howler monkey rhetoric” is particularly ironic commenting on this article.

    On a positive note, I wanted to say you all are doing a great job. I really enjoy your weekly podcast and the chance to read the magazine everytime it comes in the mail. Thank you Nick, Katherine, Matt & everyone for your hard work.

    1. Well it’s mostly because Reason has decided to not even try to appeal to half+ of libertarians. They’ve gone hard left-libertarian, even though probably 80%+ of the libertarians I’ve met IRL are right-libertarians. This irritates right-libertarians. Stossel is about the only one here who seems to have that tilt anymore.

      Reason should really fix this… Libertarians are a small group as is, and ignoring half or more of them is a bad call. See all the “Fuck you, you get no money from me” posts. I’d probably donate too… They don’t need to stop pitching left-libertarian stuff… Just balance it with some right-libertarian writers.

      1. +1
        I’ll also add that the shrieking emotional hyperbole and poorly reasoned arguments for their leftist positions undermine the entire principle of Reason. The frequent lies and omissions from that slant makes me view many of these authors as the same as Vox or Huffpo. I could excuse this if there was more of a balance, but Stossel (maybe Slade too?) is the only consistent right leaning libertarian writer here. They can make libertarian arguments from a left perspective, but a balance would help to substantiate the logic and avoid alienating that majority of libertarians who come to it from the right.

  16. love you guys. have zero monies. appreciate the forum for my nonsense.

  17. Excuse me, but isn’t this the same site that can never seem to make a cogent argument for open borders (which would be short and perfectly reasonable, if wrong), but just spews out pathetic sob stories about gang violence and children torn from their parents and fed to crocodiles? Piledriver advocacy is not moderate, reasoned discussion.

    1. They’re left-libertarians, they run on feelz just like regular lefties.

      1. The funny part is we could just go to Bleedingheartlibertarians to get the same arguments with a bit less emotionalism and a bit more foundation for their arguments. This site used to be more balanced

  18. Are You Tired of The Great American Shouting Match?: Please Support Reason

    This would be a more compelling argument if Reason didn’t publish Shikva Dalmia on immigration, Matt Welch on “Senate Republicans are torn between their hatred of voting on bills, their fear of poking the bear, and their love of confirming judges” among other examples. Apparently Reason believes emotionalism and insults are fine whenever it suits them and mockable whenever not: just the sort of unnecessary hypocritical antagonism they also (rightly) criticize Reps and Dems over.

    1. Nick talking about others having TDS is PRICELESS.

  19. Now why would any intelligent American _ever_ give a cent to magazine editors artificially inflating their enormous egos as fake humanitarians, by inviting as many as possible penniless immigrants, to hop over any American border and start enriching themselves from the paychecks of every working American.

  20. Here’s the thing

    Reason is still marginally better than the MSM. That’s why I get most of my generic news here. But it’s still pretty wack. It’s basically the semi libertarian version of Huff-Po. I personally would prefer a libertarian Wallstreet Journal, but I’d be more than happy with a balanced rag.

    They need to bring some right-libertarian writers on board. As long as they stay in their bubble it will always be a biased, emoting, mess of a publication. Having some Ron Paul types floating around the office would in fact make Nick/Matt/etc make even better arguments for their positions because they would have their assertions challenged.

    I won’t hold my breath, but I will hope. I think the right is resurgent because people have grown sick of leftist thinking, and I believe this applies to libertarians too. Adapt or die Reason!

  21. I really wonder what percentage of the police forces are violent serial offenders.

    The job sucks, nobody is happy to see you, you’re surrounded by the scum of society and tempted every day by the proceeds of corruption. Add a drinking or drug problem and how could we expect anything different?

    I have a friend who is a cop. Six foot five 300 lbs multiple black belts, nice guy but mean drunk. He was investigated when a loud mouth in custody ended up choked out and dead. He was demoted but is still “serving and protecting” .

  22. I will never support any entity that promotes drugs such as LSD, as Reason.com has done at least twice in the last year or so. It’s shameful that Reason is so supportive of drugs such as LSD.

    LSD is far more damaging to the individual than either cocaine or heroin. LSD is not even expelled from the body in detoxification programs, as alcohol, cocaine, heroin and aspirin are.

    The most shameful aspect of Reason’s support of LSD is that Reason is using its libertarian mantra to do so. Sure the libertarian view is that a person can do whatever they like with their own body. But that viewpoint does not automatically lead to the promotion of drugs such as LSD. If Reason wants to promote drug use, why does Reason not promote less harmful drugs such as cocaine or heroin?

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