Reason started out as a great publication within the Libertarian movement. (Well, actually, I've seen the very first issue, a mimeographed 10-cent publication hawked on college campuses by the student founder; but it didn't take long after that to evolve into a great publication within the Libertarian movement.) But sometime in the '80s it took a turn in the outreach direction. While decried by some as a "coffee-table publication" (an especially intense wave of criticism came when they kicked out the classified-ads page because they thought that the sorts of dating personals and conspiracy-theory publication ads that appeared there didn't suit their more upscale image), it remains a high-quality publication, though it's moved away from commentary within the movement towards a style that's more accessible to the outside public, and a slicker image to attract readers.
That approach has worked; a look at the letters column shows that they are being read by people at high levels of many mainstream organizations, including the government, Washington think tanks, corporations, etc. Reason continues to take a Libertarian stance, though perhaps not as radically so as some parts of the movement would like, and may be having some influence in the increasing respectability of some of these ideas.
It remains a good read, though "Libertarian movement insiders" should also subscribe to Liberty in order to get a more "intra-movement" view.
Glossy face of Libertarianism
Reason has some of the highest quality political articles I've read. Their analysis of what President Clinton should have done in the Paula Jones case, for example, was spot on, as events proved. Their long article, which you can read on their web site, that charges that President Clinton cannot think, and that he needs Hillary's assistance to make real decisions, was the most thought-provoking piece I've ever read about our President.
But it's not just President Clinton. Their articles charging that the New Urbanism was going to become the New Tyranny are classics, in my view. And we cannot forget the splendid debunking they've done about the incredible stupidity behind most rail projects.
Unfortunately, Reason has been tough to find on newsstands lately. I hope it's not in trouble, because I would hate to lose the perspective. I'll have to subscribe again; I buy it whenever I find it available.
Readers of The Nation are probably not going to like Reason. It's slick and glossy, sleek and expensively printed. The Nation is printed on ugly newsprint by people doing a distinctly mediocre job, despite their union affiliation. I suppose both publications properly symbolize their audience, but I find it amusing how well Reason symbolizes the costly corporate lifestyle. Ironically enough, the greatest supporters of Reason's viewpoints tend to be small to mid-sized businesses, not huge corporations.
The thinking person's political magazine
Reason Magazine is one of those periodicals that everyone ought to be reading whether they agree with its ideological slant or not. I'm almost tempted to say Reason is more important for those who aren't libertarians than it is for those who are.
On the surface, Reason is like any other news and commentary publication (with emphasis placed more on commentary). Each issue hits a broad range of topics from privacy to education to television. There are columns, editorials, feature articles, book reviews, and everything else one would expect. But Reason does it all with a sense of class and intellectual rigor -- as well as a good deal of humor -- that sets it apart.
It should be pointed out that the magazine's tagline is "Free Minds and Free Markets" and it sticks very much to that. This is a publication from the libertarian perspective and it does an amazing job of showing why that particular political and social viewpoint is so powerful.
Reason is at its best when it's getting to the root of social, governmental, and economic concerns. It has a way of cutting through all the ideological fronts that surround issues such as welfare, the public schools, affirmative action, and property rights, and exposing what's actually going on underneath. Statistics help in this a great deal but so does Reason's clean, logical argumentative style. This is not the breathless ranting one so often sees in publications like The Nation. Instead, it is the sort of debate those who read The Nation fear: well-supported, coherent, and, above all, logical.
But none of this is to imply that Reason is some dry, technical academic journal. It isn't. It's (usually) an easy read, the stories cover enough topics that I almost always am fascinated by at least part of it, and the prose style, while smart, is clean and has just the right level of attitude.
Reason...Says it All
As a purveyor of many publications in this genre, I am continually drawn to magazines such as Reason that present hard hitting, honest, and well thought out articles on freedom and liberty...This magazine does that without fail every time. Minimum of pictures, maximum of content, Reason is an excellent magazine for anyone interested in Liberty. While many magazines of this ilk tend to try to get to the right of the conservative party or fail outright to criticize the established parties, this magazine has no such problem...Well Balanced...Slanted towards the libertarian party but that is not all bad.
THINKING AT ITS BEST
I have been a subscriber to REASON magazine for nearly ten years. I read every page in every issue. It is the most well written, well reasoned work of journalism ever produced. If you want to understand what's happening and why it's happening in politics, culture, science, literature, technology, and just about any other important aspect of life then this is THE mag to read. You will love Virginia Postrel's keen analysis, Thomas Hazlett's wit, and Michael Lynch's rationality. These are only three of the free minds behind this captivating magazine. Read it. Think it over. Absorb it. Enjoy!
Truly the voice of Reason
With all of the garbage journalism out there, and the political money-mongering, it's refreshing to read a magazine that is chock full of good solid common sense (when common sense is at a premium).
Here's a magazine that's not afraid to call a spade a spade. There's no blue or red slant here. Reason cuts through the liberal nonsense and the conservative blather to find real answers to real problems (and most of then involve NOT spending money on the problem and putting more money in your pocket). Interviews are published with politicians on both sides of the fence; no one is spared the cutting criticism that politicians so often deserve.
If you're the kind of person that can't stand the constant insanity of congress, or the random presidential edicts, or the judicial activism so rampantly present in our slowly dying country, then this is the magazine for you. If you're tired of the federal government stomping all over your personal and economic freedoms, then Reason is for you.
The Voice of Reason
Reason has turned out to be one of the best magazines I've read in a long time. It should especially appeal to anyone with libertarian leanings, and I know you are all out there! It is clever, well-written, and informative. I've had it with magazines that insult my intelligence, so it is a pleasant change for the better.
I've noticed I even get a kick out of most of the advertisements. That is something I can honestly say is a rarity.
It is probably not for the typical liberal, big government, anti-capitalist, but personally, I think it's the capitalists that keep this country running, not the government.