Reason Magazine has an eclectic mix of staff, guest writers and topics. I occasionally read both the magazine and the blog. Recently they had some responses to political questions from individuals that are described as being in the in the magazine's "universe" and while the magazine is generally libertarian in outlook we are provided with a range of responses from many different outlooks; from Craig Newmark to Grover Norquist to Steven Pinker to Penn Jillette.
The questions and responses are interesting reading. As would be expected a common theme was disgust with the Bush administration.
Three responses were from well known SF writers Gregory Benford, David Brin and John Scalzi. The responses to which candidate they support were generally predictable; one for Bob Barr and two for Barack Obama. Responses to the other questions had some points worth comment.
In response to the question: 'What will you miss about the Bush administration?'; Benford replied 'Laura Bush'. The more I thought about that response the more I think Benford has touched on an interesting point. Laura Bush is known for her involvement with reading advocacy program and viewers of Book TV will be aware of her involvement with the National Book Festival. And what else has come out of two terms of the Bush administration that has had as positive an impact as the National Book Festival? From what I can tell the National Book Festival is well organized, useful, devoid of major corruption and does not trample heavily on civil liberties.
In response to the question: 'Who are you voting for in November?' Brin replied 'For not a single "liberal" reason, I am voting not only for Obama, but for the GOP to be utterly spanked and sent into exile, where, perhaps, sincere men and women may remember Barry Goldwater and resurrect some kind of healthy, libertarian Conservatism.' Well I agree that the GOP should be spanked however I am not in agreement with Brin's comment on 'some kind of healthy, libertarian Conservatism'. I just do not think it is possible. In my opinion Libertarianism and Conservatism actually have very little in common. I have heard Conservatives who have read Libertarian writings and adopted some bits of Libertarian rhetoric but my observation is that these Conservatives really do not embrace or understand much of the Libertarian vision. When you can show me a Conservative who will embrace an immediate end to the War on Drugs, total decriminalization of sex workers and allow the fine folks of Alabama to purchase sex toys at their local shops then maybe I might concede the possibility. But of course the question not addressed in all of this is the definition of Conservative. And of Libertarian. And those questions will not be addressed at this moment.
In response to the question: 'Leaving George W. Bush out of consideration, what former U.S. president would you most like to have waterboarded?' Scalzi responded: 'Dude, waterboarding is so 2006'. Generally the responses to this question were either to list the obvious ones such as Wilson or Nixon or in some cases to object to the question such as the response by Drew Carey: 'None of them. The sooner we stop coming up with lists of people to waterboard, the better.' Scalzi came up with a way to dismiss the question while at the same time having a bit of sparkle in his answer.