If You Like Good Hair and Sticking Up for the Little Guy, Donate to Reason Today!

It's our annual webathon and we already know you guys like to help out when liberty is on the line.


It's Day 4 of Reason's annual Webathon, and today is all about the importance of good hair and sticking up for the little guy. 

But first: I get to announce a second challenge grant! You guys came through for us on yesterday's match, turning your $25,000 into $50,000 just like that! Another generous soul has stepped up to match your money again today with a new $50,000 challenge grant. So it's once again time to double your money and support Reason, so that we can keep making all the articles, videos, podcasts, and fundraising posts you love!

We already know Reason readers are generous. How do we know? Because when we report about people who are getting screwed by dumb regulations, over-policing, unjust laws, or unaccountable authorities—whether it's immigrants, sex workers, Venezuelans, or small businessmen—you always ask us how you can help; whether it's reaching out with a little financial support, tweeting your outrage, or contacting your legislators. 

When Tennessee told Elias Zarate in 2017 that he couldn't be a barber, for example, it wasn't because he was bad at cutting hair or because he'd hurt a customer. He simply didn't have a high school diploma.

Becoming a barber in Tennessee requires 1,500 hours of study in a barber school—but just getting into one of those schools, as Zarate learned the hard way, is impossible without a high school diploma or GED. That doesn't make much sense. Cutting hair doesn't require knowledge of geometry or an understanding of To Kill A Mockingbird, of course.

"I don't feel like anything in my entire schooling from grade school through senior year had anything to do with my barbering skills," Zarate told Reason in 2018 when we first covered his story. At the time, he'd been busted for barbering without a license and fined $1,500—a fine that he had no idea how to pay off since the state was forbidding him from working and forbidding him from getting the license he'd need to work legally.

The story took off. Reason readers helped pay off Zarate's fines through a GoFundMe account. And it turned out Reason had some readers in high places.

"I read about Elias' case in early 2018, in a superb article in Reason written by Eric Boehm," says Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai. "Eric put it so well: in Tennessee, 'you can restart the heart of a pulseless, unbreathing person without a high school diploma, but you cannot cut hair.' I was convinced. But more than that, I wanted to do something."

Pai tweeted about Zarate's story, wrote columns encouraging Tennessee to change its obviously burdensome licensing regime, and personally met with Zarate's family. This wasn't part of his day job as the person who ruins the internet while drinking from a large mug; he just thought it was important to do what he could. Just like you.

"Let me tell you this: there is perhaps no person who can better articulate the libertarian message than someone who has felt the arbitrary and capricious power of the state stand between him and his livelihood, with seemingly no way out," says Pai.

It took two years, but Zarate was eventually vindicated. In August, the Tennessee Chancery Court declared that requiring barbers to have a high school diploma is "unconstitutional, unlawful, and unenforceable" and imposed a permanent injunction against the rule, thanks to a lawsuit by the Tennessee-based Beacon Center, which also set up the GoFundMe.

That's a victory for Elias and for any other Tennessean who wants to pursue a meaningful career helping people look fine as hell, even though they lack a high school diploma. Knocking over these artificial, unnecessary barriers to work means greater economic opportunities for many people—and state policy makers are increasingly noticing how important that is.

In June, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the most sweeping occupational licensing reform bill in modern U.S. history—one that loosened or abolished rules governing more than 30 different professions. Those changes mean the state Department of Health will no longer be able to threaten Floridians with hundreds of dollars in fines and up to a year in prison for the supposed "crime" of giving dietary advice without a license. That's what happened to Heather Kokesch Del Castillo in 2017, in another case that Reason covered.

Other states made big changes this year too. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed into law a measure allowing workers with an out-of-state license in more than a dozen professions to obtain Missouri's equivalent without starting from scratch—following the lead of Arizona, which last year became the first state to allow out-of-state licensees to practice their professions in the state without having to get relicensed.

In Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf signed a bill striking down the state's vague "good character" provisions that often block people with criminal records from getting permission to work. Under the new law, licensing boards will be able to block applicants who have been convicted of crimes related to the field in which they wish to work, but they won't be able to use irrelevant offenses, like drug crimes, from many years ago as justifications for denying licenses.

None of these reforms would likely have happened without a yearslong effort to call attention to the outlandish consequences of onerous licensing laws. So please take a moment today to support Reason, where we are always going to tell the stories of guys like Elias Zarate who are getting pushed around by the government. 

Thanks for your awesome questions for the special Webathon edition of The Reason Roundtable, by the way. You can watch the whole thing and then maybe donate!

UPDATE: Amazing! We have once again met our match! You stepped up with $50,000 in individual donations, which magically turned into $100,000 due to our alluring yet mysterious challenge grant donor. Because of your generosity, we're going to aim for a new stretch goal of $300,000 this year. Many, many thanks.

NEXT: Trump Has Only Himself To Blame for Losing the Election

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  1. My little guy sticks up for Katherine Mangu-Ward. She’s cute in a goofy looking sort of way.

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    3. Again, it’s Sunday morning and I have to wonder why the trolls are here rather than in church?

      Are they afraid of the COVID? Or will they finally admit they’ve replaced Christ with trump?

  2. The picture is not showing good hair.

    1. More like douche hair.

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  3. Nope. You wanted Biden, and you’ll get a Socialist (Harris) running twice as an incumbent (the Constitution lets you serve 10 years if you take over the last part of someone else’s term).

    You watched “The Science” being used for freedom and economy killing lockdowns without questioning the 40 cycle PCR or our less restrictive definition of a C19 death, both of which will be changed now that there is a Dem in the White House. This will be used to say “submission to a Government that followed The Science saved us all and we must continue to submit or be Science Deniers” once case and death counts drop due to the new definitions.

    Free minds and free markets? Nope, submission to The State that saved us all. You could have put yourselves on the record before that happened, but you lacked the balls to do so. Orange Man Bad.

    Enjoy our new Wall Street Wars and sellout to human rights abusing China – what’s a few dead non-Anglo foreigners when there is an Orange Man to remove.

    Seriously, fuck all of you with Postrel’s dick. She has more of one than anyone else left on your staff. Eat cat food. Blow random organs coming thru holes in mens’ room doors. Sell your organs on the Chinese black market. Do anything but ask me for a dime.

    Die, Reason.

    1. Remember when Reason “stuck up” for the little guy by telling him to “just bake the cake”?

  4. “Sticking Up for the Little Guy”

    Indeed, that’s exactly why I love Reason.com. Few websites have the courage to stick up for the interests of Charles Koch. His rags-to-riches tale involves rising from humble beginnings to become one of the richest people on the planet — only to see his fortune nearly collapse due to Drumpf’s disastrous economic policies.


    1. They also have done a bang up job ‘sticking up’ for the ‘rights’ of Zuck, Jack, and all the other Tech Lords.

      Funny how the ‘libertarians’ at Reason will make all sorts of Utilitarian arguments in support of more government, unless it might step on the toes of their ultimate paymasters.

  5. Some parts of this country it’s illegal to cut hair regardless of your training right now. Maybe talk about that.

    1. how fucking blue pilled do you have to be to talk about licensing reform when we are literally living under marshal law?

      1. The sheriff is near!

  6. Commies at unreason don’t get a cent from me.

    it will be fun though to watch them squirm when Trump gets his second term as President.

  7. So you are for reduced liscencing restrictions but also pro eternal lockdown that has done far more damage to more individuals than any liscencing scheme ever did.

    You are totally for the little guy unless of course a violent Marxist mob torches their business. Then your all “nothing to see here, peaceful protest. Peaceful protest!”

    Your defenses of due process bravely champion letting illegal alien murderers run free, but let there be a fact free unprovable accusation against a republican and that’s proof enough for you all to toss out any protections for the accused

    This is the type of left hypocracy you want me to support in the name of a skin suited libertarian magazine? Nah, I’ll donate to Mother Jones or Jacobin instead for that kind of coverage, at least they’re honest.

  8. Watched every minute of the Roundtable. Here are my warm takes: Nick’s empty bookcase made me anxious, Katherine’s DC office library ladder made me happy, Matt’s Bookcase made me wonder where his Neft & Cohen Baseball encyclopedias are at, and Peter’s booze bookcase made me thirsty. Love ya Reason – thanks for the consistently entertaining banter, high quality writing and top-rank punditry.

  9. Weren’t you shilling for the lockdown candidate for the last year?

  10. You think supporting and voting for a hack who has been in the Federal government for almost five decades, and his prosecutor/mistress to the powerful side kick is sticking up for the little guy?

    Yeah, I got something for your tin cup. I’ll give you back some of the same manure you’ve been spreading for the last four years.

    1. Yeah the irony is suffocating.

  11. this blue hair’s even better than the other blue hair.

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  12. “It’s our annual webathon and we already know you guys like to help out when liberty is on the line.”

    Except that liberty was on the line in this recent election (that Dems are trying to steal after framing and trying to impeach Trump for four years), and Reason has demonized the most libertarian president since Cal Coolidge.

    Thanks for nothing.

    1. Liberty has been on the line since the beginning of February 2020, and Reason has failed to take its side in every instance

  13. “when liberty is on the line”
    The infants here at Reason don’t know what liberty is.

    1. Free, as in free stuff?

  14. You want my money after shilling for socialist sleepy joe and supporting the destruction of our electoral process?

    Well you can just SUCK A DICK, DUMB SHIT!

    You don’t deserve any money, ass eating douche bags. You helped fuck over the little guy.

  15. No way! Reason needs to replace 2 or 4 writers and return to supporting freedom and Liberty even when the best vanguard for Liberty is a coarse/rude/direct speaking dufas.

    Instead reason supported the opposite of Liberty because the orange guy is rude and too direct in his comments.

    Continual sucking up to the left coast establishment has rendered reason into a eunuch that is sorta for Liberty…….

    Hard to just keep subscribing, let alone donate money.

    Currently reason is taking the space a real LIbertarian magazine could fill if they would go away.

    1. Hmm, how about a fund to relocate Reason to Kansas and turn off their Twitter accounts?

  16. Good thing MkKey is here to tell Dennis Ray when to call 911.

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