The Local Angle: Giving Meaning to Freedom

Reason, October 1993.


Twenty-five years ago, in May of 1968, where were you? Some days, I was in Northeast Thailand, along the banks of the Mekong River, where in the evenings I would sit on the porch of the little house where I stayed, drinking a beer and watching the flashes of bombs over the mountains that lined the eastern horizon, where the Ho Chi Minh Trail lay. Some days, I was in front of a typewriter in my office in Bangkok, writing the very first research report I ever got paid for, and deciding that there was this very interesting pattern about Thai villagers: They knew more about what they needed than the experts from the government knew.

What a crazy time to begin a libertarian magazine. The Goldwater debacle was just four years past. The only Republicans who could win were the Richard Nixons of the world–the same Richard Nixon who at about the time of his election was saying, “We are all Keynesians now.” And to name the magazine REASON?! At a time when reason was next to a dirty word, the era of “turn on, tune in, drop out,” of good vibrations and karma and LSD and the Greening of America? What a foolish, impossible venture.

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