Publisher's Notes


• LIBERTARIANISM IN THE MEDIA: There has been an increasing amount of news coverage devoted to libertarians and libertarian ideas. The laissez-faire economic views of Wall Street consultant Alan Greenspan, chairman-designate of the president's Council of Economic Advisers have been widely noted. Time called Greenspan "Supercapitalist at the CEA" (August 5) and, identifying him as a staunch advocate of Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism, Newsweek captioned an article about Greenspan "Fundamental Fountainhead" (August 5). Ms. Rand (who objects to being labeled as a libertarian) was quoted in Time concerning Greenspan's new job: "I think it's an heroic undertaking."

According to the Christian Science Monitor (August 9), some liberal senators on the Senate Banking Committee were "deeply disturbed" over Greenspan's economic views and some call him—incredibly—a fundamentalist mystic." Although Greenspan is frequently mislabeled as a "conservative," in general the coverage of his appointment has been fair and accurate. While no one can tell whether Greenspan's appointment will have any positive effects (see Murray Rothbard's "Viewpoint" in this issue), it does offer an effective forum for Greenspan to promote his theories in an official capacity—which is about as much as one can hope for these days in terms of a political appointment for a free-market economist.

REASON contributing editor Murray Rothbard was prominently featured in an excellent article in Business Week (August 3) about the free market theories of the "Austrian School" of economics. The article reported that an increasing number of economists are "taking another look" at the Austrian theories, and noted that some 60 economists and graduate students attended a week-long conference last June in New Hampshire, led by prominent Austrian School economists Murray Rothbard, Israel Kirzner and Ludwig Lachmann.

Meanwhile, California Governor Ronald Reagan, who had been a strong contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 1976 until Gerald Ford's inauguration, has indicated that, after leaving office next year, he plans to spend his time as a private citizen "traveling the mashed-potato circuit around the country, spreading the political gospel of conservatism and libertarianism." (Los Angeles Times, August 13.) Reagan has been a staunch conservative with some strong authoritarian tendencies (particularly in the area of national defense and nonvictim crimes), but he seems to be increasingly attracted by libertarian philosophy which he describes as "a belief in individual freedom and the reduction of government."

REASON contributing editor John Hospers was featured in an extensive interview in Coast magazine (September), which circulates primarily in Southern California. The interview comes at a good time to assist Hospers in his write-in campaign as the gubernatorial candidate of the Libertarian Party of California. Recording for the Blind, Inc. (215 E. 58th St., New York, NY 10022) is recording Hospers' book Libertarianism on magnetic tape, and will make the recording available without charge for the use of the blind.

The new 15th edition of Encyclopedia Britannica includes, for the first time, an entry on Ayn Rand. The article consists of two paragraphs in the Micropaedia portion of the Britannica and is accompanied by a photo of Ms. Rand.

Vital Speeches has recently published two free market talks, by Benjamin Rogge, "Will Capitalism Survive?" (July 1) and by Edith Efron, "The Free Mind and the Free Market" (July 15).

REASON executive editor Robert Poole, Jr.'s article "The Seabed Power Struggle" (July) will be reprinted in the September issue of Mining Engineering, edited by Eugene Guccione. Poole is also the author of a chapter on free market electric utilities in the Vermont Citizen's Guide to Electric Power Issues, a handbook published by the Institute for Liberty and Community (Concord, VT 05824), a libertarian-oriented policy research organization. Copies are available from the Institute at $1.00 each.

REASON contributing editor David Brudnoy, who authored an article on victimless crimes in last month's REASON, has an article on obscenity in the September issue of Playgirl.

Considering the volume of letters we have been receiving in response to REASON's Letter-of-the-Month feature and the recent growth in REASON's circulation to the 12,000-subscriber level—which makes REASON's circulation approximately half that of Nation and more than 10 percent as large as National Review and New Republic—we feel quite good about the prospects for increasing public acceptance of libertarian ideas.

• A NEW HOLIDAY: We heartily approve of Milton Friedman's proposal for a new holiday to complement national Independence Day. As proposed in Newsweek (August 5), "the new holiday would celebrate our Personal Independence Day—that day in the year when we stop working to pay the expenses of government…and start working to pay for the items we severally and individually choose in light of our own needs and desires." The new holiday would have a variable date. According to Friedman, Personal Independence Day would have been celebrated on February 4 in 1900 (when government spending was 9.5% of national income), on March 23 in 1940, on May 23 in 1970, and if the trend continues, it will occur on July 4 in 1988 (when Friedman estimates that government spending on federal, state and local levels will comprise 50.8% of national income).

Friedman would require the date of the new holiday to be declared by Congress or the President each year, which would force one or the other to inform us—as neither does now—how much government as a whole is costing us. One advantage of the variable date is that "it would enable political candidates dedicated to enhancing our individual freedom to have an easily publicized slogan: 'Return Personal Independence Day to March 31' or whatever other date can be made to appear feasible." And if individual states inaugurate their own state Personal Independence Day, Friedman asks, "Can you think of a more attractive competition among states than for them to see which can have the honor of having its holiday the earliest?"