"Breaking Mr. Maynard" (June) really hit home hard. Being in a similar situation, fighting big money, politics, and government bureaucracy, I can sympathize with Mr. Maynard.
This is America, and the only concern should be—is the Egg King safe? If independent tests show it to be safe, that is all that matters.
There are too few people of the caliber that built our country, who are willing to stand up and fight for what is right. I applaud you, Mr. Maynard.
Larry A. Landgraf
Your story about Mike Maynard's fight against big business and its bought-and-paid-for lawmakers in Congress was outrageous. As he says, "Do we live in the Soviet Union or do we live in the United States?" Is there anything your readers can do to support Maynard's case?
Robert J. Madel
Readers may write to Mike Maynard at ADSI, 2917 West Warner, Santa Ana, CA 92704. —Eds.
No, No, No, No, No
The deep well of ignorance from which you write is typical of all that I have seen so far proposing legalization of drugs ("Thugs and Drugs," Editorials, June). Great theory that has no practical application—unless, of course, you will happily watch 10-year-olds start on alcohol, pot, and an occasional snort of cocaine. Or would be delighted to share the road with someone strung out on crack. Or trust your plumbing to a plumber whose great passion is meth. Or go under the knife in the hands of a surgeon who adds to his breakfast just a little PCP. Or watch your children, if you have any, slowly fall apart and fry their brains until by their teens their futures hold nothing but more and more drugs until they die. Don't you ever think through the practical consequences of what you advocate?
San Diego, CA
Ms. Postrel's editorial is extremely well written and quite understandable. Without question, our nation is certainly facing a growing crisis in illicit drug use. While Americans do want to buy a lot of mood-altering drugs, and while our War on Drugs is indeed keeping the price of cocaine and heroin quite high, I am nonetheless opposed to the notion that our society can better deal with this crisis by decriminalizing the sale and use of illicit drugs. A neuropathogenic chemical remains a neuropathogenic chemical regardless of its legal status, doesn't it?
In other words, most central nervous system–depressant drugs—including ethyl alcohol—diminish neuron function on a short-term basis and have the potential to cause irreversible neuron damage on a long-term basis, too. Moreover, since the use of alcohol—our society's most frequently abused CNS-depressant drug—may well be responsible for nearly twice as many deaths in the United States each year as all forms of tobacco use together, do we really want to lower the price of heroin and cocaine by decriminalization and consequently see their use widen even further?
Perhaps these thoughts have no place in your magazine—the use of mood-altering chemicals may well be solely a matter of personal choice, I'll agree—but I wonder: Do humans have any responsibility for the health and well-being of infants and children (keep in mind the crippling neurological defects that occur to newborns from maternal use of teratogenic drugs)? Can any industrialized society survive for very long if its aggregate brain power is eroded year after year by the destructive use of drugs, legal or otherwise?
Cyrus J. Stow, DDS
As the director of a narcotics task force, I should like to offer some comments concerning the editorial by Virginia Postrel.
First, the call for legalizing various drugs to overcome the problems associated with the enforcement of drug laws is not new. I wish I could share the optimistic attitude of those who call for the legalization of certain drugs, but I cannot. Anyone who believes that legalizing drugs will "restore the safety of our streets and the security of our neighbors" should simply consult current statistics regarding the relationship between crime and alcohol use/abuse (leaving aside those crimes committed while the person was under the influence of illegal drugs).
At best, the only function that legalizing various drugs would serve would be to change the sorts of crimes related to the use of those drugs. We would still have to deal with those who would commit crimes while under the influence of the drugs as well as those problems associated with the user abandoning his family responsibilities. Legalizing drugs would not restore the safety of our streets—the streets were not particularly safe before drug use became widespread—but would only serve to trade one set of problems for another.
David Boaz ("Why Does Bush Win?" June) tells us that George Bush—a man who has spent his entire career strengthening the state and the power elite that uses it to live off the rest of us—is really a pretty good guy. He once mentioned tolerance in a speech. He thought it was bad politics to identify with the IRS during an election year. He supports the president's position on the INF treaty (presumably unlike all those other areas where he hasn't supported the president). Unmentioned but most important of all, Bush will also play the you-support-me-and-I'll-pretend-you're-influential game with think tanks and alleged citizens' groups. Until a thoroughgoing "peace and free-enterprise" candidate comes along, he looks like the best choice for baby boomers.
Once one has decided, as a matter of strategy, not to question fundamental state interests, there's no easy place to draw the line. Had Bob Dole won, I suspect Mr. Boaz would have been telling us that Dole has grown in office, that he's had lunch with William Niskanen, and that he's been helpful in arranging oil pipeline contracts for Kansas businessmen.
In or out of power, the Democrats are terrible. But the Republicans aren't half bad in opposition. As under Carter, they vote as a bloc against spending, deficits, and regulation. But elect them, and there's no check on the growth of government. Not with former Libertarians finking out left and right.
The best of all possible worlds might be Dukakis as president and the Republicans in control of Congress—if we didn't have a real peace and free-enterprise candidate running for president.
Former Congressman Ron Paul, the Libertarian Party's nominee, is principled, proven, and articulate. He's a Jeffersonian in a sea of statist candidates. And he's waging the most effective Libertarian campaign ever.
Perhaps his name slipped Mr. Boaz's mind. Being a baby boomer advocate is such an engrossing business.
Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
Palo Alto, CA
Rockwell is vice-chairman of the Ron Paul for President campaign. —Eds.
Speaking Out on Space
Your editorial "What the Space Frontier Needs Now" (May) is nonsense. Perhaps while you were reminiscing about the way things were in 1968 you might have taken the time to remember a few things about NASA and the Apollo program. You might have remembered why Saturn launch vehicles were scrapped, why Skylab was allowed to reenter the atmosphere and disintegrate, and why the shuttle program was conceived—money.
The people of NASA simply kept the astronautics and aeronautics activities alive as best they could with what they had. As for what they did, including the Challenger, neither you nor your hacker cronies could have done any better.
As far as the several schemes that you stand so ready to endorse: Since they're all so cheap, why not just borrow the money and get on with it? Why not just show up all those NASA numbskulls? Why is NASA's coolness an issue? How come these schemes require the government to sign up?
Based upon the evidence you present, you have demonstrated that you are either grossly uninformed or very naive; perhaps you should refrain from further space-related editorials until you have taken corrective action.
North Olmsted, OH
As Virginia Postrel aptly states in "Thalidomide Still Kills" (Editorials, May), the FDA has become obtrusive. But the FDA is merely a symptom of an important underlying disease. We need to regain our sense of personal responsibility on all fronts, not just medicine. We pour resources into litigation rather than productivity. More and more new ideas are implemented outside the United States in climates more tolerable for innovation. Fortunately it is true that "nobody sues for damages caused by not taking a drug." Imagine when nobody sues for damages caused by voluntarily participating in any new technology.
Kevin M. Haughton
Congratulations on your 20th anniversary. I have lots of disagreements with (some of) the foreign policy positions REASON has taken but think the magazine is doing a great job otherwise. It is one of the things I absolutely have to read every month.
David M. Brown
I found "We the People" the best part of the 20th anniversary issue (May). The more we understand about the generalities of freedom, the easier it will be for us to apply its theories to the specifics in hand.
Canoga Park, CA