Editor's Notes


– MOON TREATY UPDATE. The UN General Assembly unanimously approved the infamous Moon Treaty in December, opening the way for signatures by member governments. The next move, therefore, is up to the Carter administration, which has ordered an inter-agency review before deciding whether to present the treaty to the Senate for ratification. Letters to President Carter (perhaps enclosing a copy of our January editorial) would be "very helpful," according to a State Department source. Carolyn Henson of the L-5 Society estimates that there's a "90 percent chance of beating the treaty."

– SOCIALIST ANECDOTES. One of our contributors, Christie Davies, has been asked by England's Adam Smith Institute to edit a book of stories and anecdotes which "expose the nature of socialist regimes and economies, and yet which offer the reader some amusement about the absurdity of it all, as well as political enlightenment." Contributors of anecdotes will be acknowledged in the book (unless requesting anonymity). Send your stories to Christie Davies, Department of Sociology, University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading, England RG6 2AA.

– FORESIGHT. In an article in the April 22, 1968, issue of Barron's Senior Editor Tibor Machan told of his encounter with the Federal Communications Commission on the question of placing counter ads on TV where products of a controversial nature are concerned. In 1967 the FCC had ruled, in response to the urgings of John Banzhaf III, that broadcasters must give time to anti-smoking advertisers, because cigarette ads are of a controversial nature. Machan, then a graduate student at UC Santa Barbara, decided to test the ruling and approached KEYT, Santa Barbara's ABC-TV network outlet, to ask for time to reply to advertisements by the Treasury Department for US savings bonds. Machan maintained that these advertisements were of a highly controversial nature since (1) the bonds were a bad investment, (2) the money from them helped support the war effort in Vietnam, and (3) the ads were run at the expense of the US taxpayer. KEYT promptly dismissed the request. Machan took the request to the FCC, was again turned down, then took it to the FCC's appeal board, which again turned him down.

Some 10 years later, on December 24, 1979, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Federal Trade Commission "is examining a complaint that the Treasury Department engaged in deceptive and unfair advertising regarding the sale of savings bonds." This time, apropos burgeoning interest-group politics, the complaint was not launched by an individual but by a coalition of interest groups, namely, the Gray Panthers and the Mexican American Political Association. The groups aren't simply concerned with past misdeeds by the Treasury Department. As The Times notes, "they want the Treasury to point out that the so-called energy bonds, which will be issued starting in January at 7% interest, are really just savings bonds under another name since the proceeds will go for general revenue purposes."

Adding to the clamor about savings bonds is a US congressman. Rep. Ron Paul. In a recent Washington Report, Paul had this to say: "US savings bonds are mostly sold to working people who can ill-afford to lose any of their hard-earned dollars. Savings bonds are nothing less than a Treasury confidence game, and selling them to Americans is a crime."

– REASON ESSAYS. The first three of the Reason Foundation's new series of reprints are now available, at $2.00 per copy. Included are Rationality versus Dehumanization, by Prof. Edward A. Hacker of Northeastern University, Boston; Natural Law: Some Considerations, by Prof. Bruce Goldberg of the University of Maryland, College Park; and Libertarians versus Egalitarians, by Prof. Antony Flew of the University of Reading, England. The essays were published previously but were not widely available. In the Reason Essays series they are reprinted as attractive, independent pamphlets with an introduction by Tibor R. Machan, the Foundation's educational programs director. To order, write to the Reason Foundation and enclose check or money order (California residents add 6% sales tax).