I don’t remember when or how I first heard about Reason, but I’m pretty sure it involved a youtube video with Drew Carey. Reason is a magazine that’s been around since the late 60s, and it’s among the top of libertarian political publications. Matt Welch is the editor in-chief of Reason magazine, and Nick Gillespie is the editor-in-chief of its website Reason.tv. They wrote a book, which was published in June, and I went to their book signing.
Of the few signings I’ve been to now, this is the only one where the author(s) didn’t just read out of the book. Instead, they discussed the ideas of the book, and then did a fairly extensive Q&A – covering not just the book, but the magazine, the website, and the libertarian ethos in general.
One of the examples they used in the book, and discussed at the signing was how Jimmy Carter deregulated brewing beer. Essentially, we have him to thank for the resurgence of microbreweries. As they signed my book, I chatted with them a bit, and mentioned that in open-source software, the concept of “free” is often discussed. When it is, they distinguish the two different meanings of free by saying “free as is freedom” versus “free as in free beer.” They both seemed to get a kick out of that, and Matt seemed to imply that he knew of the saying. Although, I suppose for all I know they could have been placating me.
I ended up enjoying the book, but I didn’t think it would be very convincing for anyone who wasn’t already in the libertarian camp. I was expecting the book to be focused on how to use libertarian politics to drive public policy and how it would make the country a better place. In the end, it was more about case studies of either how things are better where government is not involved, or how things are worse where the government is involved, or how things got better when the government removed itself from something. In essence, I think the sub-title “WHY Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong with America” would have better served the book.