Letters and Reaction

The Neoliberal Revolution

In his review of Daniel Stedman Jones’ Masters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman, and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics (“The Neoliberal Revolution,” February), Scott Sumner states that privatization across the globe “was driven by pragmatic rather than ideological considerations” but fails to help readers with just what the difference is between these two. 

As someone who had a hand in putting reason on a regular publishing schedule very much for philosophical or “ideological” reasons, I would urge more clarity about these matters. What exactly are ideological versus pragmatic reasons? Is someone who has come to take principles of individual liberty seriously—like the American Founders and many libertarians—being ideological? 

Suppose I hold that no one may kill another other than in self-defense, or take another’s resources unless these are freely given, engage in sexual intercourse with someone only if it is voluntary, etc. Am I being ideological? And would it be pragmatic of me to refrain from such conduct based on my belief that it would be bad practice, flawed policy to proceed that way?

In short, since when has it become a liability to be a principled libertarian, and why so?

Tibor R. Machan

Former reason editor

Silverado, CA

Can Money Buy Happiness After All?

Regarding Ronald Bailey’s piece, “Can Money Buy Happiness After All?” (February), let’s give the final word to Beatrice Kaufman, wife of playwright George S. Kaufman. She is widely credited with having first said, in 1937, “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor. Rich is better.” Steve Williams Apple Valley, CA

Letters are welcome and should be addressed to 

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