By Ryan Lindsey
(Letter from the Editor for Issue III)
I owe all of this magazine’s readers an apology. I let the tentative quarterly schedule for WAL Reader fall apart,and the original October 2019 release date for this issue has long since passed. I apologize for not publishing this issue before now. I had several personal and professional events occur that limited my time to work on this, and once most of that was cleared up, the Holidays were here. I’m not trying to make excuses, but I am trying to reassure you that the tardiness of this issue is not something that I expect to happen again (at least not to this extent).
I also owe an apology to the contributors for this issue. They wrote brilliant pieces for this issue and met their deadlines, and I feel as though I did not keep up my end of the bargain with them. Please do not let this keep you from contributing in the future – your writings are truly appreciated. Speaking of contributions and this issue, that is another reason why this is being published so much later than expected – several of the contributors from the first two issues were unable to write for this one. Additionally, I think the theme of trying to point out some of the good things about America and our government turned a lot of people off. While that is understandable (especially considering the mostly-libertarian pool that our contributors come from), it is unfortunate. I think trying to appreciate the good things that have happened and are still going on is something that most of us (especially libertarians) could be much better at. It
was difficult to get people to write for this theme, and thus I kept delaying this issue in hopes of attracting more contributions that never came.
All that being said, while this issue is significantly less in quantity than the previous issues have been, I do not think that the quality of the content has gone down – if anything, it’s improved. I am excited to have this issue finally released, and think that all the articles in here are well worth the time to read with perspectives ranging from a libertarian-socialist to a neoliberal and subjects going from religious liberty to Mr. Rogers.
One Last Apology (For Now, At Least)
There’s an article form the last issue of WAL Reader that I regret publishing, and if I could go back I would not include it. I want to make that clear here and now and explain my reasoning for this.
If you’ll recall, the theme of Issue II was “immigration”. I am still immensely proud of that issue as a whole and love the wide variety of libertarian thought on the matter that was presented. That being said, I think that the article titled “Must Libertarians Believe in Open Borders?” went to far. I knew that this was a right-leaning article (you could probably gather that from the title alone), but in hindsight, I believe that it made several claims that and assertions that are far more based on xenophobia, right-wing talking points, and a sense of Euro-centrism/supremacy than they are in thoughtful, libertarian discourse. Blatantly comparing refugees (created by Western imperialism) to “invaders” crosses a line that I am not willing to cross, even with my commitment to intellectual diversity.
I realized this regret after the shooting at the El Paso WalMart last summer. When it came out that the shooter was motivated by a hatred for Hispanics and immigrants, and inspired by language referring to immigration as an invasion, I couldn’t help but see the similarities between the shooter’s stated influences and the article I had published. I never want to be in that situation again.
While I remain dedicated to intellectual diversity and largely opposed to “cancel culture”, I equally remain dedicated to decency and anti-racism/anti-xenophobia. I don’t want it ever to be said that something I publish inspired or fostered a sense of hatred for others. I’m afraid that “Must Libertarians Believe in Open Borders?” might have done that.
The Future of WAL Reader
One of the bright sides of WAL Reader‘s unintentional sabbatical is that it provides me with an opportune time to… reset the magazine. I’ve learned a lot from organizing and writing for and publishing these last three issues: what works well and what doesn’t; what part of the process I enjoy and what parts I trudge through; what content resounds with readers and what seems to fall flat; what parts of running a magazine I am good at and what parts of it I am not.
I want to be pushing out more content on a regular basis. The nature of a quarterly magazine makes it difficult to write about current events, especially given that the news cycle refreshes so incredibly rapidly. It also makes it hard to maintain a connection with an audience, when new content is only being delivered once every few months. I want to increase the use of the magazine’s website. I would love to put something out on that site at least weekly, allowing us to reflect more on current events as they happen. I am also going to try and do better about using our social media to better connect with our readers.
The scope of WAL Reader needs to change. On a personal level, my interests have shifted greatly in the past year from political theory to religion, history, arts, and ideas. If I am going to continue running this publication (and enjoying myself while I do), I need to be able to shift the focus of the magazine to match my shift in interests. This is not to say that I’m not going to accept contributions relating to politics, or government, or economic theory – on the contrary, I welcome them! – but I will not personally be so focused on producing or recruiting content like that. I want the magazine to include more book reviews, more reflections on history, more creative pieces. I want the magazine to still be open to a wide range of libertarian thought, but I want to open it up to more ways of thinking as well.
To reflect this change in focus, the magazine’s name will be changing with the next publication. I want this magazine to be a bullhorn for voices and opinions that go beyond or against the political, social, religious, and economic orthodoxies of society at large and the libertarian movement – to be heretics. Come the next issue, WAL Reader will be ending but it will also be reborn as Heretic. (More information on this will be posted on our social media and website in in the weeks leading up to Heretic Issue I.)
I want Heretic to reflect everything that has gone well with WAL Reader but to also reflect several changes for the better. I don’t want to rush this project, but I feel certain that it will be worth the wait.