A DEADLY PANDEMIC originates in Asia and sweeps around the globe, killing more than 100,000 Americans. A successful manned space mission briefly unites a nation with a sense of wonder. Police and National Guardsmen face off against protesters demanding racial justice and suppress riots in city streets. The military is tied up in unwinnable foreign entanglements, a culture war rages, and electoral politics is a dumpster fire.

It is 1969.

Reason magazine is a baby, just over a year old, and editor Lanny Friedlander is wrapping up the November issue. It is a small operation, so he has also written most of the contents.

The question he poses on the cover is “The Cops: Heroes or Villains?” He sketches the landscape: “After each recent mass police action that shed blood—People’s Park, Chicago, Harvard, Columbia—debate begins anew. ‘Liberals,’ ‘conservatives,’ ‘radicals,’ ‘lawnorder Democrats’ argue endlessly: were or were

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