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- "Reason" redirects here. For the concept of reason generally see rationality — which Reason mostly strays away from.
Reason is a libertarian magazine published by the Reason Foundation and formerly edited by Nick "The Jacket" Gillespie, who stepped down and let Matt Welch take over in 2008. Gillespie is now the Editor in Chief of Reason.com and Reason TV. Readers of Reason refer to themselves as "Reasonoids," which is reminiscent enough of Randroid to be unintentionally funny.
Reason tends to do pretty good work on civil liberties, pariticularly in its coverage of drug raids. However, they're bankrolled by the usual suspects, including the Kochtopus and Scaife Foundations, who appreciate the fact that Reason's answers to most problems are "deregulate it" or "privatize it." Reason has a long history, starting in 1968 as a mimeographed newsletter, predating the Kochtopus by several years and was not part of the stable of groups set up by Koch in the late 1970s although it has received Koch funding since.
Despite this, the signal-to-corporate astroturf ratio is much more even than most other libertarian think tanks. When it comes to environmental issues, they eschew outright denialism and criticize Republican inaction on climate change, instead taking a position of minimization and support for (obviously) free market solutions to environmental problems (their favorite consultant on these issues tends to be Bjorn Lomborg, although they have run articles by noted denialist Patrick Michaels). Their brand of libertarianism is much closer to Megan McArdle (minus the hardcore pro-war stance) than Ludwig von Mises. On science matters, their science editor Ronald Bailey has done some good work opposing intelligent design and creationism.
The magazine was more hard-core libertarian in its early years, but by the 1980s and 1990s, under the editorial leadership of Virginia Postrel, it had swung to the right and was accused by some of embracing neoconservatism and turning its back on libertarianism. The magazine's endorsement of the first Gulf War was particularly unpopular with its traditional readership. After 9/11, Reason underwent a fairly rapid swing back to the left in opposition to Bush's warmongering and clampdown on civil liberties. The Mises Institute, however, has never quite forgiven it for its dalliance with neoconservatism long ago (never mind that the Mises Institute was palling around with social conservatives from the paleoconservative movement at the same time), so Reason is frequently a subject of disdain on the pages of Lew Rockwell's site.
After the election of Barack Obama, Reason's editorial platform returned to its pre-9/11 right-wing perspective, though libertarians insist that they are neither Republicans nor Democrats -- eschewing political affiliations and deriding the two-party system as mere "teams" playing games. This disdain for the two-party system does not, however, preclude the editorial support at Reason of certain wingnut Republican politicians (chiefly Rand Paul and a few Tea Party up-and-comers) who pay lip service to some libertarian principles while violating others.
The comments section on Reason's "Hit and Run" rivals Yahoo! News for being the worst hive of scum and villiany on the Internet, and provides plenty of evidence to conclude that Web 2.0 with its "anyone can comment on anything" model perhaps isn't such a good idea.