The End of International Environmentalism 

Ronald Bailey’s “The End of International Environmentalism” (October) was most interesting when he noted that the worst degradation is occurring in areas and resources that are controlled by governments. His explanation is priceless: “That’s because owners protect their resources, since they directly suffer the consequences of not doing so.” 

Well said! Unfortunately, while those at the forefront of the green movement know its ideology and programs are failures, the general public is about 20 years behind. They have grown up being bombarded with green propaganda, and they are generally committed to what Bailey calls “democratic capitalism.”

What does this mean? Democracy is the untrammeled rule of the majority. Capitalism is the economic system that protects property rights. Thus at best “democratic capitalism” can only mean the grudging allowance of property ownership as long as it pays suitable ransom to the majority in power.

What is the consequence of this contradiction? “Democratic capitalism” encourages both producers and consumers to opt for government ownership of resources. I submit that democracy is “polite” compulsion, but it must ultimately get less polite and degrade to empire, totalitarianism, or anarchy. 

We have never had true capitalism in this country (or anywhere else). If people want to save the environment, this country, and the world from the inevitable slide into the ruin of the “democratic capitalists,” they should reject the failed politics of compulsion. 

Ilene L. Skeen 

New York, NY

San Francisco’s Darkest Hour 

I enjoyed Tim Cavanaugh’s review of Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror, and Deliverance in the City of Love (“San Francisco’s Darkest Hours,” October) right up until the last word. In any other publication I’d let it slide, but for reason to use anarchy as a synonym for chaos is jarring, to say the least.

Steve Fritzinger 

Fairfax, VA

Letters are welcome and should be addressed to 

reason 1747 Connecticut Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20009 fax: 202-315-3623 letters@reason.com

Now that I live next door to San Francisco I get the impression that everyone views it as a utopian Mecca. Progressivism has so thoroughly infiltrated our culture that it’s taboo to criticize the City by the Bay. But it needs criticizing. It remains a highly dysfunctional city, a filthy city, a fiscal basket case, and politically nasty. 

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.


Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.