Editor, Free Society

Cato Institute Editor
Location Washington, DC, United States
Application deadline 31 December 2022
Contract type Permanent
Hours Full-time
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The Cato Institute is a public policy research organization—a think tank—dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace. Its scholars and analysts conduct independent, nonpartisan research on various policy issues. Founded in 1977, Cato owes its name to Cato’s Letters, a series of essays published in 18th-century England that presented a vision of a society free from excessive government power. Those essays inspired the architects of the American Revolution. And the simple, timeless principles of that revolution—individual liberty, limited government, and free markets—turn out to be even more powerful in today’s world of global markets and unprecedented access to information than Jefferson or Madison could have imagined. Social and economic freedom is not just the best policy for a free people; it is the indispensable framework for the future. The Cato Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

The role

The Cato Institute seeks an energetic and resourceful editor to launch and helm Free Society, its new quarterly journal of ideas. Free Society will feature provocative and thoughtful long-form essays on politics, economics, public policy, and culture from a broadly libertarian perspective. Its target audience will be opinion leaders: journalists, columnists, policymakers, academics in political science, economics, and related fields—as well as educated laypeople who want to understand libertarian and adjacent viewpoints about American politics and culture.

The goal is for Free Society to “punch above its weight,” with essays that break out into the national conversation and help shape the broader political culture and American governance.

Recent years have seen a resurgence of small, but vibrant quarterlies of opinion—such as National Affairs, American Affairs, and Democracy—modeled on the influential The Public Interest (1965-2005). We see Free Society as the libertarian version of The Public Interest, which, during its four-decade run, influenced many important policy proposals and changed the general climate of opinion on others. As its editor, Irving Kristol, once put it: “with a circulation of a few thousand, you could change the world.”

The editor of Free Society will be responsible for commissioning essays from scholars, policy analysts, and pundits; working with authors to shape their ideas into insightful and highly readable essays; and promoting the journal to those within the opinion-shaping community. Not every essay in Free Society will be pathbreaking, but that is our goal.

Key roles and responsibilities

  • Generate essay ideas; commission, pitch, and edit those essays.
  • Discover and showcase exciting new voices in the libertarian tradition.
  • Shepherd each issue to completion, working closely with Cato’s production staff to ensure timely delivery of the journal.
  • Lead and execute the distribution plan for the journal, with particular attention to getting it in front of “influencers”.
  • Oversee the journal’s website.
  • Write digital campaigns, emails, and social media posts to promote the journal.
  • Serve as chief marketing officer and public face of Free Society.

Experience and skills

The ideal candidate should have:

  • 5+ years of experience, including a strong track record of writing long- and short-form libertarian commentary.
  • Demonstrated commitment to libertarian principles and thinking strategically about how to advance them.
  • Extensive editing experience in a magazine, journal, think tank, or newspaper environment.
  • Ability to work under pressure in a fast-paced environment overseeing multiple projects.
  • Bachelor’s degree in the social sciences; graduate degree preferred.

The Editor of Free Society will work a hybrid schedule, with at least two days a week at Cato headquarters (Thursdays and Fridays). A remote work schedule will be considered for exceptional candidates.