And so you have it. The very first print edition, and really the very first full issue; as the initial “practice” issue was just that. On one hand, I err on the side of the self-critical; my high minded visions of what this entire endeavor could be standing to taunt our flawed first run. On the other hand, I could not be more proud of this simple accomplishment as I initiate the unnerving activity of exposing our work to the subscribers; a group of subscribers who have over the last three months received promise upon assurance that this would be worth their money and risk.
This issue opened with the editorial, let it now be closed with the personal. To borrow a phrase from libertarian movement history, “why the futile crusade?” What is all this for? A quick glance around, at the world as it is, those predisposed to social pessimism have plenty to which they can point. Just as we are going to print, for instance, there is a lengthy essay in Jacobin Magazine celebrating the insurgent interest in the China 1919 May Fourth student revolution among the youth of the West.
Jacobin Magazine to me represents the deepest motivation for this project. Those who have followed me over the years (people need better hobbies), understand the extent to which I have investigated, studied, and absorbed the brand and content of Jacobin (or maybe it’s me that needs a better hobby). This publication effort is an outpouring of my swelling frustration. What Jacobin has done is provided a bridge platform between the punchy and agitating world of the online socialist blogosphere and the more academic journals of the Marxists intellectuals (such as the Jacobin Foundation’s own Catalyst Journal).
We have our online articles and blogs (Mises Wire, FEE, LRC, etc), and we have our academic journals (Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, the newly relaunched Journal of Libertarian Studies, etc)– but I felt like there was a need for our own bridge, analogous to Jacobin. The essays therein would be more elegant, not seeking either to comment on the daily current events about which we are all getting tired, but neither seeking to contribute new advancements to the doctrinal edifice of the Austro-Libertarian tradition. We rather wanted to synthesize and reflect, analyze at a more meta-level, and explain and apply the ideas that we know and love.
Moreover, there is a rising generation of young Austro Libertarian scholars and students with magnificent minds; individuals who will– and must!– carry the torch in new ways and to broader audiences. One day, hopefully soon, this will be among the most important outlets for their own analysis and commentary. The journals associated with the Mises Institute will remain the most important. But something needs to be secondary does it not?
At a more personal level and at the risk of offending good people I have gotten to know over the years, I do not place much hope in libertarianism as a political movement. What we don’t need is a whole slew of political activists. That ship has sailed. In fact, part of my vision with this publication is to encourage us to think beyond politics. Dissenting, nullifying, and seceding from the Federal Government is great; but in so many ways, these tendencies need to be applied to culture, education, and one’s professional experiences as well. The concept of the “post-political,” then, is tremendously appealing.
We don’t need just another libertarian product. We are not doing a print magazine because we need to find a platform niche for the sake of producing more stale content and driving more people into party politics. Though politics is fascinating and worth comment, even analysis (would that we could find and employ a student of the political theater like Murray Rothbard!), in the end, we must rise above it. Not merely as libertarians. But as humans.
While we live in the world of the viral and catchy social media, I believe there is still room for critical commentary; for the long-form written word. I believe in the power and influence of a carefully constructed and beautiful symphony of sentences. JacobinMag has taught me this. Can you believe there are 40k subscribers to a premium socialist magazine? If there is such demand on the socialist left, can we not achieve half that?
Can you help me? Spread the word, buy your brother-in-law a gift subscription, donate to our cause (I’m serious about this– do you want to see this magazine reach its potential?). I can’t promise that we’ll win. But I can promise that you will have great content as we enter the uncertainties of a world yet unknown.
Until the summer,