Reason (magazine)

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Reason Magazine Cover.jpg
October 2012 issue of Reason
Editor-in-Chief Matt Welch
Categories general interest, public policy
Frequency 11 issues annually
Circulation 50,000
First issue 1968
Company Reason Foundation
Country United States
Language English
ISSN 0048-6906

Reason is an American libertarian monthly magazine published by the Reason Foundation.[1] The magazine has a circulation of around 50,000[2] and was named one of the 50 best magazines in 2003 and 2004 by the Chicago Tribune.[3][4]


Reason was founded in 1968 by Lanny Friedlander (1947–2011)[2][5] as a more-or-less monthly mimeographed publication. In 1970 it was purchased by Robert W. Poole, Jr., Manuel S. Klausner, and Tibor R. Machan, who set it on a more regular publishing schedule.[5] As the monthly print magazine of "free minds and free markets", it covers politics, culture, and ideas with a mix of news, analysis, commentary, and reviews.

During the 1970s, the magazine's contributors included Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, Thomas Szasz and Thomas Sowell.[6]

In January 1976, teasing a special issue focused on historical revisionism due out the following month, Reason carried an interview with James J. Martin, where he stated "I don’t believe that the evidence of a planned extermination of the entire Jewish population of Europe is holding up". He also paraphrased Paul Rassinier as saying "the German concentration camps weren't health centers, but they appear to have been far smaller and much less lethal than the Russian ones".[7] In the February issue, Gary North referred to The Holocaust as "the Establishment's favorite horror story" and claimed that Rassinier's books "have seriously challenged" the view of the Holocaust.[8] Austin J. App also contributed an article which criticised the expulsion of the Sudeten Germans as "one of the worst mass atrocities in history."[9] In response, Reason received several letters condemning Martin and North's articles, but also some letters expressing admiration for the issue.[10]

In July 2014, Mark Ames, as part of a series of articles strongly critical of Reason, highlighted the magazine's February 1976 "historical revisionism" issue.[10] Ames also showed the issue to Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt, who described the issue's contributors as "the Who’s Who of early American Holocaust deniers."[10] One commentator on the subject argued that though the February 1976 issue contained Holocaust denial material, "the general theme, however, of the issue was WWII revisionism, focused on shifting the responsibility for the outbreak of war and the issue of war crimes from the Axis to the Allies".[11] In response, editor-in-chief Nick Gillespie addressed Ames' article, writing "Much of the material from the issue doesn’t hold up, which is hardly surprising... there is a generally adolescent glee in being iconoclastic that I find both uninteresting and unconvincing. However, to characterize the issue as a “holocaust denial ‘special issue,’” as Ames does, is an example of how quickly he can lose his always-already weak grasp on reality."[12]

In 1978, Poole, Klausner, and Machen created the associated Reason Foundation, in order to expand the magazine's ideas into policy research.[5]

In 1980, Reason criticised the Food and Drug Administration for not allowing "human body glue" (Cyanoacrylate tissue adhesive) to be used in the US used for medicinal purposes.[13]

Current incarnation[edit]

Matt Welch has been the magazine's editor in chief since 2008. Katherine Mangu-Ward is the managing editor. Other Reason editors include Jacob Sullum, Jesse Walker, Brian Doherty, Peter Suderman, and Damon Root; Contributors include Ronald Bailey, Greg Beato, Cathy Young, and cartoonist Peter Bagge. Former editors in chief are Nick Gillespie, Marty Zupan, and Virginia Postrel.

Erik Spiekermann, the designer of the Meta typeface, headed a redesign of Reason in 2001, aiming for a look that is "cleaner, more modern, making use of the Meta typeface throughout".

In June 2004, subscribers to Reason magazine received a personalized issue that had their name, and a satellite photo of their home or workplace on the cover. The concept was to demonstrate the power of public databases, as well as the customized printing capabilities of Xeikon's printer, according to then editor-in-chief Nick Gillespie.[14] The move was seen by David Carr of the New York Times as "the ultimate in customized publishing", as well as "a remarkable demonstration of the growing number of ways databases can be harnessed."[15]

In 2008, Reason's web site,[16] was named a Webby Award Honoree in the magazine category.[17]

In 2011, Gillespie and Welch published The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America.[18]

Hit & Run[edit]

Hit & Run is Reason's group blog. It is maintained and written by the staff of the magazine. It was started in 2002. Then-editor Gillespie and then-Web editor Tim Cavanaugh, both veterans of, modeled the blog in some ways after that website: they brought along several other writers to contribute, fostered a style in the blog matching that former website's sarcastic attitude, and even the name "Hit & Run" was taken from what had been a weekly news roundup column on Reason editors referred to this co-opting of the former website as the "Suck-ification of Reason."[19]

In 2005, Hit & Run was named as one of the best political blogs by Playboy.[20]

Reason TV[edit]

Reason TV is a website affiliated with Reason magazine that produces short-form documentaries and video editorials. Nick Gillespie is editor-in-chief. The site produced a series of videos called The Drew Carey Project hosted by comedian Drew Carey.[21] teamed with Carey again in 2009 to produce "Reason Saves Cleveland," in which Carey suggested free market solutions to his hometown's problems.[22]

Heroes of Freedom[edit]

In December 2003, Reason listed 35 individuals who were recognized as helping advance the cause of freedom through their actions, either intentionally or unintentionally.[23]

Those receiving recognition included:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Reason Foundation - About the Reason Foundation". Retrieved 2012-07-15. 
  2. ^ a b "The New York Times . Lanny Friedlander, Founder of Reason Magazine, Dies at 63". NYT. Retrieved 2012-10-15. 
  3. ^ "The 50 Best Magazines". Chicago Tribune. June 12, 2003. 
  4. ^ "50 best magazines". Chicago Tribune. June 17, 2004. 
  5. ^ a b c Burns, Jennifer (2009). Goddess of the market: Ayn Rand and the American Right. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. p. 328. ISBN 978-0-19-532487-7. 
  6. ^ Williams, Walter E. (June 18, 1983). "Bringing Reason to the People". The Afro-American. p. 5. 
  7. ^ "Introducing Revisionism: An Interview With James J. Martin". Reason. January 1976. 
  8. ^ North, Gary (February 1976). "World War II Revisionism and Vietnam". Reason: 39. 
  9. ^ App, Austin J (February 1976). "The Sudeten-German Tragedy". Reason: 28–33. 
  10. ^ a b c Ames, Mark (July 24, 2014). "As Reason’s editor defends its racist history, here’s a copy of its holocaust denial “special issue”". PandoDaily. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  11. ^ Seal, Andy (July 26, 2014). "Roundtable: US Foreign Policy and the Left (Chapter 9)". S-USIH. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  12. ^ "Did Reason Really Publish a "Holocaust Denial 'Special Issue'" in 1976? Of Course Not.". Hit & Run. 2014-07-26. Retrieved 2014-09-26. 
  13. ^ de Toledano, Ralph (July 7, 1981). "Foot-dragging by the FDA". Ludington Daily News. p. 4. Take, for example, the case of "human body glue"...More than a year ago, Reason magazine did an exhaustive study on this chemical and on FDA's stubborn insistence on banning its use in the United States 
  14. ^ Carr, David (April 5, 2004). "Putting 40,000 Readers, One by One, on a Cover". New York Times. Retrieved October 20, 2010. 
  15. ^ Carr, David. "Putting 40,000 Readers, One by One, on a Cover". The New York Times. April 5, 2004
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Webby Honorees". Retrieved 2009-06-18. 
  18. ^ "The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America". accessdate= July 28, 2011. 
  19. ^ Cotts, Cynthia (January 21, 2003). "A Marriage Made Online: How 'Reason' Came to 'Suck'". The Village Voice. 
  20. ^ "Top 10 Political Blogs". Playboy. November 2006. 
  21. ^ "About". Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Reason Foundation on Reason Saves Cleveland". Retrieved October 20, 2010. 
  23. ^ Reason 35 Heroes of Freedom

External links[edit]