Reason Podcast

'I Am Absolutely a Product of the Libertarian-Industrial Complex': Podcast

Katherine Mangu-Ward talks about politics, culture, and Reason's next 50 years.


It's a waste of time to vote. Disposable plastic shopping bags are a brilliantly engineered technology that should be celebrated, not taxed out of existence. Of course we should welcome our future robot overlords. Here's a great recipe for pot brownies.

Those are but a few of the memorable, provocative articles that Reason Editor in Chief Katherine Mangu-Ward has contributed to our pages over the years. Before she rose to the top of the masthead, Mangu-Ward worked for us back in 2000 as an intern. After graduating from Yale, she worked for The Weekly Standard and The New York Times before returning to Reason in 2006 as an associate editor.

Founded in 1968 by Lanny Friedlander (1947–2011), Reason is celebrating its 50th anniversary by hosting a series of in-depth conversations with past editors in chief about how the magazine has changed since its founding, what we've gotten right and wrong over the years, and what the future holds for believers in "free minds and free markets."

In this Reason Podcast, I talk with Mangu-Ward about how she became libertarian, why she likes to defend the indefensible, how she came up with the masterful "Burn After Reading" issue of Reason (which teaches you how to build a Glock in your kitchen, hire an escort, hide your Bitcoin, and more), and what she thinks the world will look like in 2068.

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Audio production by Ian Keyser.

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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 or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. My first question would be “what makes you think you’re a libertarian?”

    1. You’re talking about Gillespie, right?

  2. what she thinks the world will look like in 2068

    Round, mostly blue.

    1. Sun-ist! Try the other side. Don’t even get me started on eclipses.

    2. I think things are going to change a lot. Currently biologists are predicting that by 2032 Hihn will have spontaneously gained the ability to breed via mitosis.

      1. Not to be ‘that guy’, but I think what you’re referring to would actually be referred to as fission, budding, or fragmentation. The term breeding only refers to sexual reproduction.

        Sorry, it’s not often I actually get to utilize the expensive, useless knowledge from attaining a degree in wildlife biology. I had to take the opportunity.

        1. I think you’re right that breeding is the wrong term. But Hihn is a single celled organism, so I think mitosis still might be the right term.

          1. Ah, makes sense then. Also, judging by the proliferation of his posts on Hihnfected boards, I’d say he’s already achieved the ability to self-replicate. The future is now.

          2. I think “reproducing” is the term you are looking for. Breeding is a form of sexual reproduction. Or being the top in a gay relationship. Or coming from an upper class society if you are British.

        2. And also, you should never be afraid to be “that guy” on Reason. We’re all that guy here.

          1. Indeed. And nerd rage relating to your area of expertise is always welcome here.

      2. That’s strange, most guys end up breeding via meiosis. Speaking of our sex lives …. My real life romances tend start with some haggling and a book that lays down a philosophy of romance. The one exception was that year with a Lutheran woman. No wonder my grandmother didn’t want me to date her.

  3. … teaches you how to build a Glock in your kitchen, hire an escort, hide your Bitcoin, and more

    I really wish Reason would get on the right side of history and repudiate its gun fetishism. People who want to obtain guns without going through the proper channels (background checks, getting a license, etc.) aren’t the audience this magazine should be trying to reach. I’d prefer to see an article explaining how to hide undocumented immigrants in your house, or how to perform safe abortions in case Drumpf shuts down Planned Parenthood.

    1. Don’t worry, they’re getting there. As soon as they’re done selling out on all the clauses in the First Amendment

    2. Don’t worry all the other Koch organs have begun shilling for gun control and Nick Gillespie has written prior that he finds guns objectionable. When they finally get tired of paying J.D. Tuccille to write about his delusions of being an anarchist mafioso because he once carried an unregistered handgun in NYC the rest of the staff is already converted.

    3. Don’t forget DIY tips on 3-stepping your neighbors if the county hospital gets shut down.

    4. I just wanna say that I only found out that you are a parody recently and you are ridiculously sharp as such. I laughed a hearty laugh.

  4. A libertarian moment around 1:19 — 20 years ago it would have been unthinkable to bring pot brownies to a party instead of a bottle of wine, and an article on how to find an escort would have been scandalous.

    Also the closing remarks about how the next 50 years will be unimaginable other than having a hundred new internets. That is how I believe the practical intrusion of government will fade away.

    But an hour and a half? I could read it much faster and get more out of it. Please provide transcripts!

  5. I think there is a growing divide between Reason’s brand of corporate libertarianism…the Brookings/CATO type, and civic nationalist libertarianism – which does not locate all ‘liberty’ in economic transactions.

    The corporate libertarian type is a dead end.

    1. ‘civic nationalist’ – i.e. not anarchist, but monarchist…not conflating ‘the state’ with culture or community as individuals are free to think of those things.

      Guys like Gillespie who want open borders never seem to approach the question as to why his view should be imposed on others who have a different view, and will end up having to pay for his.

      That’s not libertarianism in the sense I accept it – it’s saying that nothing matters but economic ‘liberty’ no matter the harm in other arena’s – or the Will and Consent of the governed.

      Frankly, I think Gillespie and others here at Reason are drunk on their own Idealism. Not only do they not give a shit that other people have every right to deem ‘America’ a legit idea, they don’t give a shit that people, collectively, might not wish to lose their identity – and be forced to subsidize it.

      1. Closed border people want the government on their side and forcing millions of people, both Americans and immigrants, to not hire whom they choose, not engage in business with whom they choose, and all in the name of collective coercion.

        Open border people have no problem with property owners prohibiting trespassing, do not want the government to force you to allow trespassing, do not want to force you to hire immigrants, and do not want to force you to do business with immigrants.

        Your definitions of liberty and libertarian are serious inside out.

        1. I still do not understand how the imaginary lines representing property rights are somehow more legitimate or real than the imaginary lines representing country borders. Whatever floats your boat.

          1. They are more legitimate if the property was legitimately homesteaded. There is no libertarian justification for country borders.

            1. Hmm. That sounds more like “anarchy” than “libertarianism”, since libertarianism accepts that there must be some level of government, and government, almost by definition, requires a geographic area to govern.

            2. legitimately homesteaded

              You mean waging war on the indigenous population and then claiming a deed from the victors?

              I suppose it isn’t exactly stolen property as long as it given legitimacy by the state, thrice removed.

              1. No, that is not legitimate homesteading. And yes, that is a huge problem. Much of the land in the U.S. was never legitimately homesteaded.

                1. I’m still a little vague on this “legitimate” bit. It sounds like a half-assed justification after the fact, using criteria pulled out of the air to give it legitimacy.

                  You own your meat and labor? Yeah I get that.

                  You own a thousand acres because you sat down one day and decided to make mudpies?

                  I have a problem with that.

          2. Collective vs individual is hard to understand? You poor baby.

            1. You have to feel sorry for those poor dummies who can’t comprehend that my property is mine and all of the property that I stole from my neighbors so I could make my property useful is also mine.

      2. And your use of “people, collectively, might not wish to lose their identity” is a dead give-away that you don’t have the slightest idea what liberty means. You are just another collectivist, statist, socialist, take your pick, who demands the government abrogate individual liberty to impose your views on everybody else.

        1. ou are just another collectivist, statist, socialist, take your pick, who demands the government abrogate individual liberty to impose your views on everybody else.

          So you legitimately purchased every mile of road leading from Mexico to your doorstep right? I mean I know you’re not a collectivist socialist totalitarian who appropriates property that doesn’t belong to you.

      3. “…they don’t give a shit that people, collectively, might not wish to lose their identity…”

        Uh, you didn’t lose it. It’s over there on the floor with a bunch of other bullshit.
        How do you ‘lose an identity’ and why should I give a shit about your fantasies?

      4. What you are describing, Feanor, is not libertarianism at all. Monarchism? The liberty of others is an imposition? Other people are not your property. You have things exactly backwards.

        1. Other people are not your property.

          Yeah! Only their money is your property! How else are we going to subsidize my underage hookers and my gardener?

      5. What you’re describing sounds like fascim.

      6. You don’t lose your identity when a stranger enters your neighborhood. You lose your identity when you decide to stop remembering it. Nearly 2,000 years after the Romans took Jews out of Israel as slaves, you don’t meet many Jews who say, “Berlin is my Jerusalem.”

  6. In the conversation, did either of these globalist puds justify even ONE Shecky Dullmia article? Did that even once come up?

  7. Is the transcript missing? I don’t see it.

    1. “Is the transcript missing? I don’t see it.”
      I noticed that also, and then there’s no hint of how long the yap-fest is, either.

      1. I’m seeing the length, via SoundCloud. 1:25

  8. Mangu just pawn in great game of corporate libertarianism.

  9. Voting determines what laws will coerce you at gunpoint. Voting Libertarian does that with a large multiple of the law-changing clout packed by wimpy downstream lemming votes given to subsidized looter parties. Depending on the situation a small-but-growing-party vote packs 6 to 4000 times as much law changing clout as a vote wasted on looters subsidized by tax dollars per the Nixon Anti-Libertarian law of 1971. There is a distinction.

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