Opinion

Libertarians write their own invitation to the party

Forget the G-20, the BP oil spill, the World Cup, forget even S.E. Cupp.

In the wake of l’affaire Weigel, so much is at stake for the things that matter to journalists and their enablers (read: you, gentle reader). What, for instance, is a ratfucker exactly, and is being one a good thing or a bad thing? Can journalism withstand the apparent insistence that reporters not trash-talk sources like former members of N.W.A.? Can the MSM really move into a blog-based commentary space with anything more barbed than Howard Huge or Love Is… cartoons?

And perhaps most important for all of us in the libertarian movement (you know who you are and I’ll pick you all up in my Ford Festiva on the way home): Just what the hell are our membership guidelines? In his public mea culpa (which like all examples of the genre is long on mea and short on culpa), former Washington Post blogger Dave Weigel suggested his long journey upwards began with his being fired from Reason magazine.

Full disclosure: I was editor in chief of Reason from 2000 to 2008 and hired Dave, who was eventually let go by my successor, Matt Welch. Dave suggests that the separation came about because he had strayed too far off what we sometime call the “libtard” reservation:

After the 2008 election, I drove up from Atlanta to D.C. and was greeted by my editor, Matt Welch, with surprising news. It would be better, he said, if I worked somewhere else. I’d voted for the Obama-Biden ticket (having joked, semi-seriously, that I was honor-bound to vote for a ticket with a fellow Delawarean on it) and wasn’t fully on board with the magazine’s upcoming, wonky focus on picking apart the new administration….At Reason, I’d become a little less favorable to Republicans, and I’d never been shy about the fact that I was pro-gay marriage and pro-open borders.

As Matt Welch has written, Dave certainly didn’t earn any supervisory ire by voting for Obama-Biden or even for being from Delaware (though this latter condition has never been a clear plus for anyone except maybe George Thorogood and Cesar Romney). Similarly, the implication that Reason would be bothered by a staffer’s attacks on Republicans or support for gay marriage and open borders makes about as much sense and holds as much value as fiat currency. My memory may be fading, but I’m pretty sure we ran like 50 special issues during the ’00s dedicated precisely to attacking John Boehner’s misguided attempts to ban same-sex illegal immigrant families from getting group discounts at amusement parks. Not only have we been in favor of gay marriage since starting out in 1968, we were ahead of the curve in arguing for gay divorce, too. And oh yeah, that was me calling George W. Bush “a big-government disaster“ in the Wall Street Journal.