• A NICE WORD FOR N.R.: From time to time, we have noted positions taken by leading conservatives which support a "Big Brother," paternalistic approach to the role of the state. Although it is commonly assumed that conservatives are vigorous defenders of property rights and economic freedom, REASON readers are aware that frequently the conservative rhetoric of limiting the size of the state is not consistently applied.
Recently, however, prominent conservatives have been reconsidering such issues as "victimless crimes," where consensual adult conduct is made criminal even though no harm to others can be shown. In the past year, the leading conservative publication, National Review, has carried articles supporting gay rights (David Brudnoy) and decriminalizing pot (Bill Buckley). N.R.'s Washington correspondent, George Will, has called for the decriminalization of prostitution. In short, many thinking conservatives are recognizing that laws attempting to prohibit private consensual conduct are costly and ineffective, immoral and counterproductive.
Each time N.R. has drifted away from the traditional conservative line, it has lost subscribers. N.R. also lost support for its failure to strongly support Richard Nixon and even for attacking his New Economic Policy. According to Buckley, 1974 was N.R.'s "toughest year"—it sustained a deficit of over $300,000 and lost about 5,000 subscribers (bringing its circulation down to about 95,000, compared with REASON's 12,000+ paid subscribers).
It would be a lot easier for N.R. to shift towards relatively more libertarian positions if libertarians would help support N.R.—by subscribing and by writing them when they do something good. We're told that N.R. is very responsive to letters from paid subscribers. And if N.R. got enough support for taking profreedom positions, it has been suggested that N.R. might become the libertarian movement's biggest convert.
• J.F.K. ASSASSINATION: In the wake of Watergate, there has been substantial interest expressed in challenging the findings of the Warren Commission that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin. Now a former CIA technician has used a new lie-detection technique—a Psychological Stress Evaluation (PSE)—to show that Oswald was telling the truth when he denied killing Kennedy in 1963. According to George O'Toole, who worked as a CIA computer specialist, the PSE technique—used to analyze critical tapes to see if the person was under stress when he or she speaks—has not only upheld Oswald's denial, but it has also cast doubt on the truthfulness of other witnesses who testified before the Warren Commission. O'Toole's findings are contained in a new book. The Assassination Tapes and were published in the lead article in the April issue of Penthouse.
Doubts concerning the shooting of Governor George Wallace have also been raised. In an appearance on NBC's Today show on April 7, Wallace's son challenged the conclusion that Arthur Bremer was acting alone, and asserted that Bremer—who stalked Wallace for months—was part of a conspiracy.
Tough questions have also been raised about the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. As we noted in this column last month, a recent national poll found that 69 percent of Americans believe their government consistently lies to them. We're aware that it's much easier to allege a conspiracy than to prove the existence of one, but we wouldn't be particularly surprised if tangible evidence was developed showing a conspiracy in one or more of these shootings.
• EDITORS' ACTIVITIES: REASON Editor Robert W. Poole, Jr.'s article, "Criminal Justice: A Systems Analysis Approach," was published in the Winter 1975 issue of Law & Liberty, a quarterly publication of the Institute of Humane Studies (sample copy available from IHS, 1177 University Drive, Menlo Park, CA 94025).
Editor Manuel S. Klausner's editorial on disbarment of attorneys (REASON, Oct.) was excerpted in the Los Angeles Daily Journal (April 9) and, as Chairman of the Libertarian Law Council, he was invited in February to deliver an editorial reply denouncing Ford's energy tax on KNBC-TV in Los Angeles.
Senior Editor Tibor Machan's new book. Human Rights and Human Liberties, will be out from Nelson-Hall this spring. His article, "What About the Poor?" was published in The Alternative (April), and Machan recently had articles published in Theory and Decision (Dec.), New Guard (March) and several other journals.
• HELP WANTED: From time to time, openings appear on the staffs of Congressmen sympathetic to the free market. The jobs generally go to whatever qualified person shows up at the right moment.
Now, a group of libertarians working on Capitol Hill has taken a step to increase its numbers. It wants to hear from anyone with the competence and desire to work on the inside of the legislative process.
If you are interested in joining this group of nearly two dozen, and welcome hard work with pay to match, contact Dr. Arthur Carroll, c/o Senator Brock, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC 20510. Include a resume and a statement of job interest, party preference, etc. Applicants with degrees in economics and political science are sought in particular, although anyone with a demonstrated command of a certain field (e.g. transportation, health care policy) should not shy away from this chance to help free the country.