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Reasonfight, Day... I've Lost Count

If you can't get enough of watching me argue against half a dozen Reason staffers and editors at once, I'll offer a brief update. When last we met, Reason's Radley Balko was accusing me of making ad hominem arguments. Today Reason editor Matt Welch writes:

Unfunny sock puppetteerlongtime John McCain fanboy and late-breaking Saddam Hussein restorationist Jonathan Chait (hey, you asked for synonyms, Koch-brain!) responds to some responses to his blog post about Reason, apparently one of his favorite activities.

Welch also helpfully festoons his item with this:

...which apparently is supposed to represent me.

Welch forgot to mention that I am also a poor dresser, bad singer, frequent snorer, and, most damning of all, rejected college applicant for Reason's lucrative internship program. (I was young, I needed the money...) I mention this because Reason's staff may need more ammunition for their non-ad hominem responses.

Anyway, on to the substance of the dispute, which can be dispensed with quickly. I wrote:

I do think that if Reason started advocating a carbon pricing scheme that stood some plausible chance of legislative success, the Kochs -- who boast about cutting off funding for work they disagree with -- would probably respond.

Welch then proceeds to show that Ronald Bailey of Reason have advocated a carbon tax. Obviously, a carbon tax has never had any chance of passing. Therefore, it does not in any way disprove my argument that the Kochs would be concerned about Reason advocating a carbon reduction scheme that had a plausible chance of legislative success. Indeed, opposing cap and trade but favoring a different, politically implausible alternative is an important category of support for the status quo. You could argue that Bailey's advocacy of a carbon tax would hem it in to support such a plan if it did later become part of a viable legislative proposal. But I suspect that he would simply abandon it just as he did the individual mandate.

By the way, I don't think the Kochs hover over every word written for Reason, monitoring for any slight hint of a thought that could somehow hurt the Koch bottom line. I do think the Kochs are dedicated libertarians who support Reason, and that self-interest also informs their worldview, and that support for Reason is generally consistent with their self-interest.

Koch support for Reason is obviously not grounds to dismiss Reason's arguments, which are of varying quality and should be dealt with on their own terms. It's silly to read Reason as merely the expression of Koch self-interest, but it's also silly to believe that the Kochs' support for Reason has nothing whatsoever to do with their self-interest.