Coffee Talk

Check out this interview with the founders of Reason magazine. It’s an interesting interview, but there are four quotes in there (actually five, I merged two) that will make left-libertarians want to tear their hair out and throw things:

The magazine took collective pride in being one of the architects of the Reagan Doctrine with those Jack Wheeler pieces.

Reason Dec. 08 cover When we took it over, reason was in a paradoxical stage of becoming more burdensome. Instead of economies of scale, there were diseconomies of scale. When you are small you can do your own address labeling, but the bigger you got, the more outside costs you have. There were more things you couldn’t do yourself. [Diseconomies of scale! Who ever heard of those? How … paradoxical!]

The social ethos of much of the libertarian movement in the late ’60s/early ’70s was SDS-like but with free market ideas, [with activists] seeing themselves as part of an outlaw radical underground movement that was under surveillance by [the] FBI. … We were interested in gentrifying the libertarian movement so there would be more suits there and less people who reminded one of the hippies. We were concerned with showing that libertarianism was serious, that it wasn’t some ragtag bullshit movement.

I remember being impressed by [Reason Foundation board member] David Koch. I mean, here was this billionaire, and this was back in the ’80s – back before we all were billionaires! – so you didn’t see many people like that. I was impressed that he made his own coffee.

12 Responses to Coffee Talk

  1. Micha Ghertner November 27, 2008 at 3:42 pm #

    Billionaires making their own coffee seems pretty cool, in a left-libertarian kind of way.

  2. Jesse Walker November 27, 2008 at 5:00 pm #

    But note the sentences immediately after the line about the Reagan Doctrine:

    I disagreed with the general thrust of those. On the other hand, I had my say on foreign policy stuff. Bob and Marty gave me a leash of decent length.

    And indeed, Bill wrote some great antiwar stuff for reason in the ’80s, even as the magazine was in its most hawkish & right-wing stage.

  3. william November 27, 2008 at 5:00 pm #

    It’s like they’re determined to be read as the heart of evil in Libertarianism.

  4. Administrator November 27, 2008 at 5:38 pm #

    Jesse — certainly true; I wasn’t meaning those four cherry-picked quotes to sum up Reason.

  5. "Nick Manley" -- the still potential Natasha November 27, 2008 at 9:14 pm #

    Does anyone else notice how they trumpet economic class as a big deal? Yay for Libertarians being billionaries — who constitute less then 10 percent of the population….

  6. Jesse Walker November 27, 2008 at 9:56 pm #

    Does anyone else notice how they trumpet economic class as a big deal?

    I didn’t, and I had to read the piece several times before it went to press. What are you talking about?

  7. Administrator November 27, 2008 at 10:29 pm #

    I assume the reference is to “this was back in the ’80s – back before we all were billionaires!” — though I had also assumed that was a joke….

  8. Jesse Walker November 27, 2008 at 11:38 pm #

    Of course it was a joke. Does Nick think Laura Main Collins literally believes that all of us are billionaires now? I don’t know Collins, but I’m pretty confident she isn’t a billionaire herself.

  9. "Nick Manley" -- the amazingly stubborn one November 28, 2008 at 11:05 pm #



    It does look like a joke. I feel sheepish now ( :

    I usually have a keener eye for humor. I must have scanned it and commented without enough reflection.

  10. "Nick Manley" -- the amazingly stubborn one November 28, 2008 at 11:08 pm #


    Don’t you live in the DC area? I was part of an admittedly stagnant attempt to organize an ALL chapter there. It’d be interesting to acquire your assistance in finding fun people in the area.

  11. "Nick Manley"-- the androgynous one November 29, 2008 at 12:09 pm #


    I jumped to conclusions. I can see that it was a joke now. I assure you that my ability to spot humor is usually much better ( :

  12. Jesse Walker November 30, 2008 at 10:44 pm #

    ‘Sokay. Might not have been as obvious when the sentence wasn’t in context.

    Anyway…I usually live in Baltimore, which is sort of in the DC area and sort of isn’t. But until this coming May I am based in Michigan.

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