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Brexit Victory, new reason editor Katherine Mangu-Ward, and a communication problem for libertarians

28 Jun
Some libertarians, like Katherine Mangu-Ward, the new editor in chief at reason (speaking last week on the Kennedy show) favored “remaining” in the EU, as a form of maximizing free trade.

In a way it’s a curious position for Ms. Mangu-Ward, a non-electoral libertarian who believes “voting only encourages them,” yet thinks international governmental organizations and agreements are a good path to free trade.  It may be a minority position too – not only conservatives but libertarians like Ron Paul as well as those in England and elsewhere favor Brexit.

It also highlights a problem area for libertarians, who often appear on C-Span, in the form of lawyers and scholars affiliated with CATO etc, arguing for free trade to an audience, if judged by the callers, who don’t get the economic arguments about gains of trade and then view the libertarians as a subspecies of the pointy headed technocratic elite that populates the government and wants to tell them how to live their lives.

In on line discussions among members of the British Libertarian Alliance, opinion was something like this:

“…The death of the UK to be replaced by being a sub-state of the EU is a libertarian nightmare. By rejecting the EU we have taken a major step in the direction of libertarianism.

This was not the intention of most Leave campaigners but it means that the UK is now more… vulnerable, one might say, to libertarian campaigning. The EU is no longer there to impose its own laws from outside. Now all that we, as libertarians, have to contend with is the infrastructure and bureaucracy of British government. This is by no means an easy job but it’s a lot easier than having to cope with the EU too!

Our job of bringing about libertarian change has just because a little bit easier.

All of a sudden, there is a lot less state for us to deal with.”

I fear libertarians have a communication problem they don’t know how to deal with here.  I saw one clicktivist in a group of gay Trump supporters recently damn all libertarians for looking down on people and thinking they are smarter than everyone else.  One of Gary Johnson’s main media people, as well as a Republican delegate to the GOP nominating convention who wants to campaign for Johnson, have both expressed to me their exasperation with me when I ask if Libertarian candidates should not find a way to appeal to the concerns of Trump voters.

I’m picking on Ms. Mangu-Ward a little, as she dislikes me.  She’s also a smart woman and might have some ideas about this communications problem.

Brexit Wins: Why That’s Great News for Europe, Too

British voters have elected to leave the European Union in a national referendum. The UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage declared Friday Britain’s “independence day.” That is quite a statement given British history. A little over two and a quarter centuries ago, America had its own first Independence Day, and the British Empire was the super-state from which Americans declared independence.
Independence is not isolation.
History has come full circle; in a sense, today we are seeing the American Revolution in reverse. In many ways, the European Union is a lever of US global hegemony. By seceding from the EU in spite of threats from Washington, Britain is declaring partial independence from America.
It must be noted that independence is not isolation. This is the key distinction that is intentionally blurred by the “Better Together” rhetoric of the “Remain” camp. When they scaremonger about “leaving Europe,” it conjures images of Britain abandoning Western civilization. But “the West,” as in the US-led alliance of neo-colonial powers, is not the same thing as Western civilization. And the European Union is not the same thing as Europe. Exiting a mega-state in defiance of an imperium is not withdrawing from civilization. In fact, such an exit is propitious for civilization.
Small Is Beautiful
Political independence fosters economic interdependence.
Advocates of international unions and super-states claim that centralization promotes trade and peace: that customs unions break down trade barriers and international government prevents war. In reality, super-states encourage both protectionism and warfare. The bigger the trade bloc, the more it can cope with the economic isolation that comes with trade warfare. And the bigger the military bloc, the easier it is for bellicose countries to externalize the costs of their belligerence by dragging the rest of the bloc into its fights.
A small political unit cannot afford economic isolationism; it simply doesn’t have the domestic resources necessary. So for all of UKIP’s isolationist rhetoric, the practical result of UK independence from the European economic policy bloc would likely be freer trade and cross-border labor mobility (immigration). Political independence fosters economic interdependence. And economic interdependence increases the opportunity costs of war and the benefits of peace.
The Power of Exit
Super-states also facilitate international policy “harmonization.” What this means is that, within the super-state, the citizen has no escape from onerous laws, like the regulations that unceasingly pour out of the EU bureaucracy. But with political decentralization, subjects can “vote with their feet” for less burdensome regimes. Under this threat of “exit,” governments are incentivized to liberalize in order to compete for taxpayer feet. Today’s referendum was a victory both for Brexit and the power of exit. That’s good news for European liberty.
During its Industrial Revolution, Britain was a beacon of domestic liberty and economic progress that stimulated liberal reform on the European continent. An independent Britain in the 21st century can play that role again. In doing so, Britain would help Europe outside the EU far more than it ever could on the inside. Brexit may be a death knell for the European Union, yet ultimately a saving grace for the European people.
Dan Sanchez

Dan Sanchez

Dan Sanchez is the Digital Content Manager at FEE, developing educational and inspiring content for, including articles and courses. His articles are collected at

This article was originally published on Read the original article.

Gary Johnson’s campaign to date – The CNN Townhall

25 Jun
Libertarians seem unhappy with Gary Johnson’s Town Hall performance.  

(I have to confess I fell asleep in front of a TV from a day of overwork, planning on attending a debate watch party, and awoke with only 15 minutes of it left.  What I saw did not make me prioritize watching the rest.)

 Two trends in libertarian commentaries, like those by readers at reason, where editor at large Matt Welch summed up Gary’s performance as “nice guys finish third,” are that Gary was a bit of a choke artist – perhaps Romney is thinking of endorsing Gov. Johnson because they share the same debate coach – and that the ticket should be reversed, with Weld for President and Johnson for Vice president.

Of course, libertarians would not be happy with that either.  Johnson is probably more libertarian on issues than is Weld.  And they have been running very much as a team anyway, as one might expect given that they are both two term Governors, but Weld from a larger state.

Dr. Ross Levatter, a long time libertarian activist who worked on the 1980 Clark campaign summed up Johnson’s refusal to go negative thus: “I get that Gary Johnson wants to be positive, but if he felt compelled to say Hillary Clinton was good at something, I wish instead of ‘public servant’ he had gone with ‘commodity trader’.”

Another Clark campaign activist sent her former colleagues a long rant on Johnson:

I suppose you all watched the town hall last night. Johnson needs help.  He needs a coach – a team of coaches. He’s not good on his feet. Is anybody working with him on how to be a strong clear minded confident articulate candidate who knows how to field the questions and be clear about his program and the libertarian solutions to the problems? It would appear not. 

Weld should have been the presidential nominee. Johnson vice President. 

It was clear in the convention debates that Johnson was not the best of the candidates at articulating his approach, but the fact that he is a former elected governor made him the best choice. Hopefully he’s teachable.

Besides a coach, the campaign needs money, and I’m sure volunteers, and experts in marketing, media, public relations, etc. 

Who is working with the campaign to set these things up? Does anybody know? The campaign headquarters doesn’t even have a voicemail.

What can we be doing to make this happen? Are any of you involved? Would you please let us know?

I hope to hear back with some good feedback. Or, is it s lost cause?

The reason readers have a third commentary trend:  many mentions that even though they found Gary’s performance cringe worthy, their non-libertarian spouses all thought he sounded like a reasonable person for whom they could vote.

Open a new Think Tank on Capitol Hill?

17 Aug

A 7 bedroom, 7 bath former dormitory for Appalachian State University’s semester in Washington program is for sale for just under $2 million. will begin to impose more editorial control

8 Aug just sent out this policy change to its local writers.  Many states and localities (Karl Dickey in south Florida, Garry Reed in Dallas) have “libertarian Examiners.” It’s easy to imagine the climate of Obama censorship created by FCC regulation of the internet and The Department of Justice subpoenas and ga orders against reason magazine and its readers being involved in this.  It will be worth measuring whether politically incorrect Examiners don’t get “whitelisted” and Hillary and Obama supporters do.

Over the past several months, has gradually put more emphasis on content quality. We’ve removed content, coached a variety of writers, and we’ve reduced the number of topics we choose to cover. Now we are really excited to take the next step and increase this important focus with you!
Effective immediately, we are implementing a standard content review process. This process will include revised guidelines that we will enforce for all content published to our website.
How does this affect you?
This new policy will affect each contributor differently. By default, contributors will be set to “review,” meaning we will look at your content prior to your work publishing live to our website. We have scheduled our staff accordingly, and will strive to review each piece of content within 30 minutes, on average.
The Whitelist Team
Many of you have shown us that writing high-quality content is second nature. Those selected for this group will be notified individually and will be a part of our whitelist team. People in this select group will continue to publish directly to the website without review. This is the group we encourage everyone to achieve and we will help guide you there.
For now, new Examiners and those who have not yet demonstrated an ability to meet our guidelines will continue to have their work reviewed until they can be switched to a non-review status. We will be regularly reviewing contributors for inclusion on the whitelist.
Content marked Newsworthy (see the guidelines here) will continue to be reviewed in the same way it had been previously before being submitted to Google News. People on the whitelist team will see their stories go directly to Google news faster.
Let’s get started!
Please review the latest version of our editorial requirements. They have been simplified, clarified and will be immediately enforced:
When you finish your article, you will either have a “Publish” button (Whitelist) or a “Submit for review” option.
Content that doesn’t meet the stated guidelines will be sent back for a rework. You will be notified via email when this happens and the reasoning behind the rework will be stated in the review section of the edit article page:
Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 11.23.23 AM.png
Once you review the notes and make the necessary updates, you will have the ability to resubmit the article for review. Please do not submit tickets concerning reworks. The reasoning behind the rework will be in the Review Status section. Simply make the edits and resubmit for review as soon as you can.
We strongly believe these changes will improve the overall quality of the site and help make a more credible and respected publication. This will also be a direct reflection on how you are perceived as a writer and we are happy to partner with you on this.
We thank you for your cooperation and hopefully, you share our enthusiasm for the future.

Reason magazine and the Gag Order

13 Jul
Here’s the Popehat blogger on the gag order against reason magazine

And here is a letter (google doxxed for your convenience) from Reason Foundation president David Nott on the situation.

Ted Olson speaks to reason donors

23 Jun

Ted Olson speaks on marriage equality to reason donors and staffers at Oyamel. Audience included Congressman Jared Polis, toking Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg, recently gay Reason Foundation president David Nott, Georgetown Law professor Randy Barnett, and reason editors Todd Krainin, Nick Gillespie, Peter Suderman, Preston Cornish, Cynthia Bell, Katherine Mangu Ward, Meredith Briggs. (If you need more and better photos, Todd Krainin has them.) — at Oyamel Cocina Mexicana in Washington, D.C.

Department of Justice subpoenas Reason magazine

9 Jun

The Department of Justice yesterday subpoenaed the names of posters at reason magazine critical of Judge Katherine Forrest (pictured), the well-healed Obama-donor judge who sentenced Silk Road’s Ross Ulbricht to life in prison.

Other websites have covered Forrest and her multi-millionaire real estate transactions and her and her partner Sean Patrick’s donations to the Obama campaign.

The only comment at reason so far is this note: Please refrain from any discussion of the subject of the article at and its contents on our site.
Thanks.”   I don’t know if they were ordered not to say anything by the government or advised not to say anything by their own lawyers.  It was posted yesterday, and as I had not seen it I did email about a half dozen reason editors this afternoon asking if they had a comment.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the names and identities DOJ is seeking are of people joking about punishing Judge Forrest for taking Ulbricht’s life.  Forrest had supposedly received threats during the trial.  And I can tell you, as I have checked, that she has done a slightly better than average job of scrubbing any residential or real estate related information about herself or her common law husband, lawyer/writer Sean Patrick, from popular internet websites like WhitePages or BlockShopper, which I check regularly to see the racist real estate choices of Obama proglodytes.

(As any good libertarian Whedonite knows though:
Mr. Universe: “There is no news. There’s the truth of the signal. What l see. And, there’s the puppet theater. . . the Parliament jesters foist on the somnambulant public.”
Mal: “Well, what about this? Did this make the puppet theater?”
Mr. Universe: “No, sir. And no lawforce flags, either. I had to go into the security feed direct.”
Mal: “You can do that?”
Mr. Universe: “Can’t stop the signal, Mal. Everything goes somewhere, and I go everywhere.“)

Amazingly, though a frequent poster (and one time contributor) at reason (under my own name),  I am not one of them, for once — though I did have my own experience with the Secret Service, when they chased me around in 2008 for making a FaceBook joke comparing Michelle Obama to Marie Antoinette when President Obama took away the Opportunity Vouchers for poor students in DC while sending his own children to Sidwell Friends Academy at a cost of $39,000 annually for each daughter.  (The Secret Service began with leaving me a phone message telling me they needed me to call them back, which I thought lame, so  I ignored them.  They then showed up at my condo at 10:30 am on a weekday and could only find my neighbor, who found them a little slow. Finally they sent a male model beautiful agent to interview me, when I was out of town on vacation, who let me know how much they knew about me, from my donations to Ron Paul’s campaign to the email address I used to reply to gay dating ads — and I could give you even more details, which only make the Service look nutty and inefficient, though perhaps thorough, except that this was the same month they missed the guy from Annapolis who shot up the Holocaust museum in D.C.)  My FaceBook note included a picture of Michelle Obama in 18th century finery in a Versailles type setting, and alluded to aspects of the French Revolution, including the guillotine.  As the handsome Secret Service agent told me, they are required to investigate anything that appears to be a threat, against any member of the First Family.  As far as is known, even though Ann Dunham appears to have been a woman of easy virtue (by early 60’s standards), Judge Forrest is not a heretofore unknown half-sister of Obama, but the reason poster’s were making jokes about woodchippers.  I guess they don’t have my more refined and antique tastes in reparations.

One June 2nd, reasonTV editor Nick Gillespie participated in a 30 minute interview with Ross Ulbricht’s mother on HuffingtonPost Live (re-posted here immediately prior to this post).  reason‘s Kurt Loder (also re-posted below) had interviewed Lyn Ulbricht outside the courthouse immediately after the decision.

Lyn Ulbricht will be speaking at the libertarian festival Porcfest June 21.  (If they don’t imprison her first!)

Silk Road is an internet platform that allows total secrecy, and so had been used (as are public streets and sidewalks, FedEx, and the U.S. Postal Service) by people who engage in drug and other transactions, legal or illegal.  Mr. Ulbricht did not engage in drug transactions but simply created and owned this piece of the internet.  Since the Obama administration seems to be willing to see drugs decriminalized, albeit with a somewhat schizophrenic policy toward that end, libertarians generally think the real target here was simply the existence of a piece of the internet (and commerce) outside of government control.

Of course it is a little unclear why a subpoena is needed.  The NSA should be able to identify the posters you’d think.  The Secret Service had no problem telling me that they knew all of my email addresses.