• NEW ART DIRECTOR: With this issue, Phil Groves joins REASON's staff as Art Director. Formerly art director for Environmental Quality Magazine, Groves' work has been published in International Wildlife and Human Behavior. Born in England, Groves runs his own design business in Los Angeles, and he will be working on the redesign of REASON in the coming months.
• NEW STAFFER: REASON's new Canadian correspondent, Michael Keerma, makes his first appearance in REASON this month. A graduate of the University of Toronto, Keerma is a specialist in English language and literature, and has contributed articles and fiction to a number of Canadian newspapers and magazines, including Libertarian Option.
• GAY RIGHTS: REASON's editorial in the September issue, "Defending Tolerance," discussed the possibility of success of a referendum campaign in California to stop the law signed last May removing criminal penalties for sexual activities between consenting adults in private. Organized by a group called the Coalition of Christian Citizens, the referendum effort fell short of the 312,000 signatures needed to place the issue on the ballot.
Meanwhile, in a controversial test case, an administrative board recommended on September 19 that Leonard Matlovich, a veteran of 12 years in the Air Force and three tours in Vietnam, be discharged from the Air Force because he is a homosexual. After the decision was announced Matlovich, who had challenged military regulations banning homosexuals, held up a bicentennial half-dollar and said, "It says 200 years of freedom. Not yet—it will be some day."
• LIBERTARIANISM IN THE MEDIA: The Libertarian Party convention (see "Frontlines") generated substantial media coverage for libertarianism. Many columnists wrote about the LP and many leading newspapers gave good coverage. During the week of the convention, Toni Nathan appeared on NBC's Today show and REASON editor Manuel Klausner debated Stephen Schlesinger (Arthur Schlesinger's son), an editor of Time, on the subject "How Far Should the Government Intervene in Our Lives?" on WNEW-TV (general consensus: Klausner "crucified" Schlesinger).
Columnist James Kilpatrick spent several days at the convention and in his nationally-syndicated column, "Unconventional Convention," suggested that while the libertarian position might appear "crazy," "when one considers the excesses, outrages and absurdities currently imposed upon the people in the name of civil government, one may fairly contemplate Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians and ask, Who's loony now?"
• GOOD AND BAD NEWS: We reported in REASON in July and September some of the good things that California Governor Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown, Jr. has been saying. As reported by the Los Angeles Times (Sept. 2), Brown has been developing the public image of "a fiscal conservative, somewhat in the Reagan mold, who is a tight man with the buck, an outspoken critic of inefficient bureaucracy, a dedicated foe of higher taxes and a skeptic of the conventional liberal style of facing up to big problems with high reaching costly programs." Brown has stated, "I see a significant difference between a market system where a consumer can make a choice…and a system where you're conscripting people's money through taxes…
In the midst of his surprising new image, we're sorry to observe that Brown has exhibited some basic statist views. In addition to pressing for coercive farm-labor laws, Brown is backing a constitutional amendment which would make it easier to raise bank and corporate taxes. In the name of "tax reform" Brown has secured approval of bills to eliminate the oil depletion allowance and increase taxes on preferential income, and has now secured approval of a ballot measure which would reduce to a simple majority the present two-thirds legislative vote needed to raise bank and corporate taxes.
Many libertarians in California are active in backing an initiative to require a two-thirds legislative vote to raise all taxes, as a step towards the libertarian goal of requiring a 100 percent vote to impose any tax. Perhaps the day will come when Brown too will realize the impropriety of using force to compel people to spend their money as politicians see fit.
• ROCKEFELLER PROPOSAL: Vice President Rockefeller is backing legislation to create a quasipublic corporation, the Energy Resources Finance Corp., which would funnel up to $100 billion into projects to help develop domestic energy sources. According to Rockefeller, "The time has come to consider a major new approach to the energy problem." The corporation would offer government-guaranteed bonds for sale to the public. One Washington source stated that "This corporation is intended to finance the development of new energy sources and then go out of business" and said the corporation might need to exist "about 10 years." Rockefeller pioneered similar bond financing programs as governor of New York. With all his wealth, you'd think that Rockefeller would offer to guarantee the bonds with his money instead of ours. Under the circumstances, we'd certainly be interested in considering a "major new approach" to putting Rockefeller out of business.