So what has Reason done to deserve your hard-earned, tax-deductible donation money since our last record-breaking webathon? A quick tour through our traffic leaderboard over the past 51 weeks shows the type of depth, variety, and commitment to sometimes niche defenses of individual liberty that have for more than half a century helped convert your cash into far-reaching journalism and commentary dedicated to Free Minds and Free Markets.
Before we go much further, though…WON'T YOU PLEASE DONATE TO REASON RIGHT THE HELL NOW???
OK, here are five samples plucked from our Top 10 list of past-year eyeball-catchers, along with brief elaborations of the genres from which they spring.
- "Anthony Fauci Says If We Could Do It Again, COVID-19 Restrictions Would Be 'Much, Much More Stringent,'" by Robby Soave.
For the past year and a half, Senior Editor Robby Soave has, in addition to cranking out crackerjack Reason content on tech policy and education and pop culture, been a host on Rising, the daily webcast produced by The Hill. There he has engaged in some memorable (and occasionally censored) debates with commentators from across (beyond?) the political spectrum, and conducted some libertarian cross-examination of notable newsmakers.
Such as Dr. Anthony Fauci.
"If I knew in 2020 what I know now, we would do a lot differently," Fauci told Soave. "The insidious nature of spread in the community would have been much more of an alarm, and there would have been much, much more stringent restrictions in the sense of very, very heavy encouragement of people to wear masks, physical distancing, what have you."
Revealing things happen when Reason staffers interact with the powerful. Your donations make that possible.
2. "Mom Handcuffed, Jailed for Letting 14-Year-Old Babysit Kids During COVID-19," by Lenore Skenazy.
True story: I was recently in Tel Aviv, listening to Inbal Arieli, author of Chutzpah: Why Israel Is a Hub of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, extol the virtues of her country's "free-range parenting." Such is the reach of our intrepid defender of childhood and parental freedom.
Appallingly if not quite surprisingly, the piece in question isn't the only "moms handcuffed" in the Skenazy archive. There's "Mom Handcuffed, Arrested for Oversleeping While Her Son Walked to School," from 2015, and "Mom Handcuffed, Jailed for Making 8-Year-Old Son Walk Half a Mile Home," from just last month.
Here's how the COVID-handcuffing story begins:
When COVID-19 shut down her children's daycare in May of 2020, and Melissa Henderson had to go to work, she asked her 14-year-old daughter, Linley, to babysit the four younger siblings. Linley was engaged in remote learning when her youngest brother, four-year-old Thaddeus, spied his friend outside and went over to play with him. It was about 10 or 15 minutes before Linley realized he was missing. She guessed that he must be at his friend's house, and went to fetch him.
In the meantime, the friend's mom had called the police.
Skenazy's journalism and advocacy expands the zone of familial freedom and introduces normies to government overreach. Your donations make her work possible.
3. "Texas Roofer Arrested in Florida for Helping Hurricane Victims," by Eric Boehm.
Speaking of government overreach, here we've got a classic Reason twofer: The madness of occupational licensing, and the warped policy making of disaster relief. These are the types of subject that, on their own, can feel a little bit like pushing a boulder uphill against popular sentiment and government (mal)practice. But like your snack candy of choice, the two tastes combine to produce some easily digestible libertarian insight.
Reporter Eric Boehm wrote about the case of Texas-based roofer Terence Duque, who came to offer his services in a part of Florida devastated by Hurricane Ian. And then:
Duque was arrested for "conducting business in Charlotte County without a Florida license," the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office announced on Friday. If charged as a felony, that's an offense that could carry up to five years in prison under Florida law—although it's possible that Duque could be charged with only a misdemeanor offense that carries a mere one year of jail time.…
Duque got busted for his good deed after the Charlotte County Economic Crimes Unit—which is apparently a real thing—received a call from an investigator with the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR).
When a detective with the sheriff's office tracked down Duque, the roofer reportedly said he believed he was allowed to work in Florida due to Gov. Ron DeSantis' emergency order that loosened licensing rules in the aftermath of the storm. "The investigator informed Terence that this was not the case, and that Terence would be placed under arrest, as he had already done work in violation of the statute," according to the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office.
Outrage stories like this are a gateway drug into libertarianism. Your donations help to keep us cranking 'em out.
Another great two-great-tastes-in-one—Senior Editor Jacob Sullum's market-leading meticulousness (meticulosity?) on gun-policy journalism, plus our free-floating distaste for one of the Senate's least appealing gasbags.
Year in and year out, Sullum attracts well-earned eyeballs for his coverage of core libertarian issues—guns, free speech, pharmacological freedom, criminal justice, and how to use drugs in space. Your donations not only keep him doing this valuable work, it helps develop the next generation of baby Jacob Sullums.
5. "The FBI Seized Almost $1 Million From This Family—and Never Charged Them With a Crime," by Billy Binion.
Did someone say baby? Not that Mr. Binion is that young, quite—he's going on his fourth anniversary producing bang-up criminal justice journalism for Reason. But in both his magazine/website coverage and his Twitter feed promoting thereof, Billy is a master of introducing people to policing outrages they can't quite believe is legal.
In this particular piece, Binion writes about Carl Nelson and Amy Sterner Nelson, whose lives were upended by a massive cash seizure by the FBI during its investigation of Carl for possible kickbacks—an investigation that never produced any criminal charges. "We went from living a life where we were both working full-time to provide for our four daughters to really figuring out how we were going to make it month to month," Amy told Reason. "It's completely changed my belief in fairness."
Having lured readers in with a story of an outrageous injustice, Binion then broadened their horizons:
They're not alone. There was the Indiana man whose car was seized. And the Kentucky man whose car was seized. And the Massachusetts woman whose car was seized. And the Louisiana man whose life savings were seized. And the Texas man whose life savings were seized. And the countless Californians whose money and random personal possessions were seized. Sometimes the money is returned—often only when a defendant manages to lawyer up for a civil suit. Sometimes only part of it is. Sometimes none of it is. "Civil forfeiture is quite common," says Dan Alban, an attorney at the Institute for Justice (IJ), a public interest law firm that often litigates similar cases. "The fact that the government can do this can obviously ruin lives, and it can ruin lives without anyone being convicted of a crime, without anyone even being charged with a crime."
Your donations make Billy Binion's work possible, as well as the variety of writing and commentary Reason has been delighting and infuriating readers with since 1968. Won't you please donate to Reason today?