Reason Podcast

'We Started Seeing the Country Using Terms Reason Had Been Using For Years': Podcast

Matt Welch talks about his 2008-2016 stint as the editor of Reason, why we're consistently ahead of the curve, pushing back against bailouts, and what comes next.


"In those original weeks of Ferguson," says Reason Editor at Large Matt Welch while talking about the 2014 police shooting that started nationwide protests and conversations about police violence, "we started seeing the country use terms and looking at issues that [Reason had] been using and looking at for years. So things like the militarization of police, a great Radley Balko phrase, suddenly was on the tips of everyone's tongue…. [In the] last couple of years, [we're seeing it with] civil asset forfeiture, just what an awful thing that is, or the way local cities just shake down their poorest residents in the criminal justice system as a way to fund their operations." He also points to pot legalization, marriage equality, warnings about mounting national debt, and alarm over the ways campuses handle sexual abuse as cases where Reason has been way ahead of the curve.

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 Matt Welch, who was editor of the print magazine from 2008 through 2016, about how he became a libertarian and learned about Reason, what it was like working at The Los Angeles Times opinion page, and whether he still believes in "The Libertarian Moment," a concept that he and I came up with in 2008.

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Audio production by Ian Keyser.

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