By the Way….


– Surely he jests? John Baker, editor of the trade magazine Publishers Weekly, is addressing 600 people at the annual confab of the 12-year-old Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. The conference theme is the New Age phenomenon, and Baker has harsh words for the publishing industry. Horror-fiction writer Whitley Strieber, for example, wrote a first-person account of an abduction by extraterrestrials, and his publisher packaged it as nonfiction (the bestseller Communion). "People seem eager to be misled," says Baker, but "I don't think that the rest of us should be helping them." Fair and true. But then this editor calls for a truth-in-publishing law'"after all, we have truth-in-advertising laws. Baker might ponder a version of his own admonition: People seem eager to be misled'"about the wisdom of government regulation. The rest of us shouldn't be helping them.

– Meanwhile, Editor-in-Chief of The New Republic Martin Peretz, in an editorial on why Dukakis lost (really, it's because they didn't nominate my boy, Al Gore, but we can talk about Dukakis's personality and ideology if you insist), writes: "The only way that the American economy can be sustained prosperously"'"this sounds promising; they might actually be taking prosperity seriously'""is by a wide-ranging scientific transformation of our national economy. " Oh, jeez'"a scientific transformation? Just when it seemed that liberal opinion leaders were beginning to recognize that markets are better than thickly veiled Marx.

– A note to habitual readers of REASON: Starting with this issue, we've moved the Brickbats department, which has from time immemorial appeared right before Trends, to page 58. And we've dropped the Viewpoint column as such; whoever or whatever might have appeared there will now show up among the back-of-the-book columns that start right after the feature articles.