• NEW POLICY ON LIST RENTALS: We advised REASON readers in this column in the May issue of our practice of renting our subscriber list to selected organizations and companies. We do this primarily to derive a source of revenue that helps keep REASON subscription rates down, and also to help our readers obtain information of events, organizations or services we think they might find of interest. We review the advertising copy of each mailer before approving the list rental, and we turn down groups whose material seems to us to be anti-freedom or otherwise offensive. Recently a mailing went out to a portion of our subscription list which included material not approved by us. This unauthorized mailing is presently being handled by our lawyer.
Because we have received some complaints from readers concerning our policy of renting our mailing list, we have reevaluated our practice, and we have now decided to offer our subscribers the option of having their names kept off lists we rent to others. Readers who prefer to have their names removed from our rental list may do so by writing us, requesting the deletion of your name, and enclosing your mailing label. Needless to say, we don't intend to purge anyone's name from our list (even if you may not agree with all of REASON's views), unless you request it. We feel our new policy to be in keeping with our commitment to voluntarism and free choice, and so long as you, our loyal reader, continue to read REASON, we certainly won't get upset if you notify us to delete your name from our rental list.
• N.B.A. WINNER: Robert Nozick's new book, Anarchy, State and Utopia, received the National Book Award in philosophy, a significant milestone for the libertarian movement. Nozick's book, which will be reviewed in REASON's special book issue this fall, has received favorable comment in such publications as the New York Review of Books, Newsweek and Forbes. Nozick was described in Forbes (March 15) as one of Harvard University's "most graceful and gifted intellects." His book contains a powerful attack on egalitarianism, taxation and paternalistic laws, and a strong defense of private property and the free-market system. We're delighted to see the impact being made by Nozick (who is a member of the Libertarian Party of Massachusetts), and we wonder if it's occurred to anyone at Harvard to suggest that John Kenneth Galbraith read Nozick's prize-winning book.
• FINANCING REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT: The U.S. Government's program to resettle Indochinese refugees included a request by President Ford for an appropriation of $507 million to pay for transportation of the estimated 150,000 refugees to staging camps in the Pacific and for their relocation and resettlement in the U.S. The most notable contribution to the debate on the subject was the May 16 proposal of Senator Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) who stunned his Senate colleagues by proposing that each member of Congress donate $1,000 to help finance refugee resettlement. Waving his $1,000 check during the debate, Helms said that instead of "massive programs financed by the taxpayers," resettlement should be financed by voluntary private contributions, starting with $1,000 each from members of Congress.
We heartily endorse Helms' proposal and commend him for his perceptive assessment of the issues. Helms told his Senate colleagues:
"It is easy to appropriate $500 million of other people's money, and to advertise ourselves to be benefactors to the people of this nation. Too often Congress seems to forget that funds in the U.S. Treasury are obtained by duress. It is time we quit fooling ourselves about the meaning of generosity. Let us now provide real leadership, with personal responsibility, and reach into our own wallets instead of into the taxpayers' wallets."
Unfortunately, Helms' proposal was soundly defeated by a vote of 75 to 5, and the Senate instead passed overwhelmingly (79-2) a $405 million appropriation bill for refugee resettlement. The only support for Helms came from Sens. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.), Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.), James A. McClure (R-Ida.) and Carl T. Curtis (R-Neb.). Let's hope more members of Congress begin to understand and adopt the Helms' approach to government generosity with taxpayers' funds.
• "NO CONFIDENCE" BALLOT: A variant of the "None of the Above" ballot choice, discussed in REASON's April 1975 issue, has been adopted in Nevada. The new measure, adopted in May, provides a chance for Nevadans to mark a vote of "no confidence" in the 1976 election.
A bill is presently pending in the California Legislature which would enable voters to reject all candidates by adding a ballot category, "None of the above is acceptable." As pointed out in our editorial in April, we reject the "lesser of two evils" approach to voting (it's preferable to leave the ballot blank than to vote for a candidate who is recognized as evil) and we enthusiastically endorse proposals such as these which help allow voters to cast a meaningful ballot when no qualified candidate is running.