"Fair of speech.…And sometimes of intention too. But at other times foul of meaning and dishonest in intent." With these words, editor D.J. Enright introduces us to the world of euphemisms in Fair of Speech (New York and Oxford, Eng.: Oxford University Press, 228 pp., $15.95). Orwellian "newspeak" marches across the pages of the chapter on political euphemisms, where governments "pacify" rather than conquer enemies and "nationalize" rather than forcefully acquire private business. Other euphemisms, whose intent is merely to cushion the truth, receive gentler treatment in chapters on sex, children, or work.
The Third World (yes, that's a convenient euphemism for the rather denigrating "poor countries") has recently taken center stage in the media with reports of famine, soaring debts, and political instability. Four recent short works illuminate different dimensions of Third World problems and prospects: US Aid to the Developing World: A Free Market Agenda, edited by Doug Bandow (Washington, D.C.: Heritage Foundation, 152 pp., $8.00 paper); Theology, Third World Development, and Economic Justice, edited by Walter Block and Donald Shaw (Vancouver, Canada: Fraser Institute, 145 pp., $5.00 paper); Are World Population Trends a Problem?, edited by Ben Wattenberg and Karl Zinsmeister (Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute, 53 pp., $6.95); and Paths to the Future: Women in Third World Development, by Brigitte Beyer, Shelley Green, and Jerry Jenkins (Sacramento, Calif.: Sequoia Institute, 70 pp., $2.00 paper). All depart from the collectivism that dominates current discussion of Third World development. Says Paths to the Future: "Unlimited development" requires "limited government" in which individuals are "accorded both primary responsibility for their own successes and the corollary rights necessary for succeeding."
And, speaking of departures from conventional wisdom and the subject of women (this time in the United States), authors David Kirp, Mark Yudof, and Marlene Strong Franks urge in Gender Justice (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 240 pp., $19.95) that in trying to further sexual equality, governments would best encourage choice rather than promote particular outcomes.
Choice is the theme of another book, Crime by Choice: An Economic Analysis, by Morgan O. Reynolds (Dallas, Tex.: Fisher Institute, 232 pp., $24.95/$8.95). Reynolds contests the view that crime is the product of society's influence on behavior and that individuals bear no responsibility for their actions.
Contesting another commonly held myth, Nicholas Wolfson challenges the belief that publicly held corporations are powerful ministates. In The Modern Corporation: Free Markets versus Regulation (New York: Free Press, Macmillan, 191 pp., $25.00), he argues against the need for strong government regulations to "protect" the public from these giants, contending that free-market competition can contain corporate activities.
Another large institution on the American landscape—the philanthropic foundation—is examined by journalist and historian Marvin N. Olasky in The Council on Foundations (Washington, D.C.: Capital Research Center, 58 pp., $3.00 paper). The Council is "the establishment of the foundation rich," says Philip N. Marcus in a preface; and Olasky probes its propensity to advance governmental rather than voluntary solutions.