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

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“Nothing [comes] close to being as boring as television.…The few hours a week I waste seeking entertainment are usually spent on YouTube. On tonight’s menu was a Reason TV video (‘The War on Fast Food’), a collection of failure videos…a PeeWee Herman look alike in a suit critiquing a Domino’s pizza, an anonymous individual performing a dangerous chemistry experiment in his garage, a talking parrot, and…a lecture by a British professor outlining the development of the English language. My fellow humans, the rest of you out there, I can’t thank you enough for just being yourselves.”

reason.com commenter “the origin of the feces” in response to “How YouTube Saved TV” (February)

“Does Obama make a claim because it is a fact, or is a claim factual because Obama makes it?”

reason.com commenter “Hugh Akston” in response to “The ‘Truth’ Hurts” (February)

“About 40 percent of eligible voters chose not to vote for President. If we carry [the] ‘elections are like markets’ premise forward we see that a plurality of the market did not like any of the ‘products’ available. What does that say about the two main ‘products’ available?” 

reason.com commenter “some guy” in response to “Ron Paul’s Last Stand” (February)