The Supply of Deregulation
Congratulations on your fine series of articles on aviation deregulation (Freedom in the Skies, Feb.). Especially appreciated was Peter Samuels's piece ("Over and Out") setting the record straight on deregulation. Alfred Kahn deserves a lot of credit, but so do the many who preceded him, especially in the Department of Transportation.
All through the early '70s the DOT was pretty much alone in its pro-market view. It was way ahead of the regulatory agencies, Congress, and the private sector. In the mid-'70s, Secretary Coleman was pushing for legislative proposals that "would charge the CAB to develop a system with a prime purpose of satisfying public needs rather than industry needs, to place maximum reliance on competitive market forces, and to encourage entry of new carriers—at the same time preserving the highest degree of safety." Deregulation's record of success was built on years of earlier analytical work at DOT.
Also, I'd like to reinforce the point, raised in both James Gattuso's article ("Clear the Runways") and Robert Poole's interview with Dr. Kahn ("Surprises, But Few Regrets"), that no one deregulated the infrastructure supply system—the airports and airways—along with the air carriers. The point applies to highways, as well. The two areas of rapid growth in transportation—highway travel and air travel—are constrained by ponderous government decision processes, with the consequent delays, congestion, increased costs, and jeopardized safety we all have witnessed and could have predicted. Worst of all, these problems are now the prime sources of arguments for reregulation of aviation and trucking. The Reagan administration never learned that in transportation, "the supply side" was government.
Alan E. Pisarski
Falls Church, VA
Mr. Pisarski worked in the Department of Transportation from 1970 to 1976 and served on the Reagan transportation transition team. —Eds.
Ted Galen Carpenter's review of Angelo Codevilla's While Others Build (Feb.) contained some edifying transformations indeed. After heaping scorn on the "neo-McCarthyism" underlying the observation that critics of a strong defense routinely and explicitly assert that the United States and Russia are moral equivalents, Carpenter goes on to conclude that the United States' maintenance of alliances with European nations "means that the United States, not the Soviet Union, would be more likely to launch a first strike."
Carpenter's thesis is that if the Soviet Union uses deadly weapons to invade Europe and a NATO alliance repels the attack with deadly weapons of a different sort, then NATO is guilty of a "first strike" provided the deadliness of their weaponry results from the rearrangement of nucleons (nuclear weapons) rather than the rearrangement of electrons (conventional weapons). The initiation of force, then, is not the determinant of aggression; repelling an attack is what really constitutes a "first strike." Curious logic.
Having worked on SDI since its inception, I am prompted to rebut Carpenter's speculation that SDI conceals a latent desire to initiate and survive a nuclear exchange in defense of NATO. To the contrary, SDI analyses have assumed Soviet preemptive attack, whether against the United States or against NATO. There being no other scenarios under study, Codevilla cannot fairly be criticized for failing to consider them.
What I find disturbing is Carpenter's evident ignorance of the NATO nuclear situation. Extended deterrence was recognized as an untenable doctrine decades ago, thereby motivating the development and deployment of tactical and theater nuclear weapons to permit controlled escalation and the avoidance of an all-out strategic exchange. Nothing has altered this recognition—except the regrettable INF Treaty, which will have removed one layer of the stabilizing middle option. Furthermore, the growing controversy over "burden sharing" and the viability of our role in NATO has served only to reduce any vestigial support remaining for extended deterrence. As a doctrine, it has had its day.
However, even assuming that the nuclear options left to us under the doctrine of flexible response were sufficient to provoke a full-fledged Soviet reprisal, Carpenter is mistaken in characterizing strategic defense as "destabilizing." After all, if the Soviets were aware that their reprisal was to be made less effective by such defenses, they would also be aware that it would be less likely to coerce NATO from self-defense, and therefore the costs of attacking NATO would be certain and more inhibiting. Thus, the tendency to deter Soviet aggression contributes to stability (peace), which is an unquestionable benefit.
What goes strangely unaccounted in these reckonings is the evil of aggression and legitimacy of the means taken to oppose it. It is not wrong to protect Americans from nuclear destruction by strategic defense, whether we are defending European freedom or our own. But Carpenter seems to think there are circumstances in which it is wrong both to oppose Soviet aggression and to protect Americans from their attack.
Michael J. Dunn
Ted Carpenter replies: Hank Phillips confuses moral considerations and strategic predicaments. I never implied that the United States would be as likely as the Soviet Union to engage in acts of aggression. But the relative weakness of Western Europe's conventional forces and the resulting reliance on the U.S. nuclear guarantee leaves NATO little choice except to embrace the nuclear option in case of war. Moreover, contrary to Phillips's facile assertion, one cannot regard the destructive capabilities of conventional and nuclear weapons as in any way equivalent.
Michael Dunn may believe that extended deterrence was recognized as an untenable doctrine long ago, but the word certainly hasn't reached the ears of U.S. officials who continue to base America's global strategy explicitly on that concept. Dunn also completely misinterprets the role of theater nuclear weapons in NATO's defense doctrine. His portrayal of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces as one layer of a "stabilizing middle option" rests on the bizarre notion that Soviet leaders would respond differently to an attack on Soviet territory by American Pershing II missiles based in West Germany than they would to an attack by Minuteman missiles based in North Dakota. In reality the INFs were designed to increase, not decrease, the probability of a strategic exchange between the superpowers. Indeed, such prominent NATOphiles as U.S. ambassador to Bonn Richard Burt and West German defense analyst Josef Joffe not only conceded but emphasized that point.
Finally, Dunn ignores the reality that protecting the American people from Soviet attack and defending the security of third parties are not necessarily compatible goals. An effective ABM system reduces the risk of destruction to the American homeland; extended deterrence increases that risk. That is why I support the rapid deployment of an ABM system and oppose Washington's expensive and dangerous global military commitments.
Waiting for the Flowers
Orchids to Virginia Postrel for her fine article on addicts and addiction ("Are Addicts Sickorbad?" Feb.).
I surely don't view addiction as a disease; but if it is, it would have to be classed with syphilis, in having few—extremely few—innocent victims. Anyone who becomes addicted to drugs or infected with syphilis practically always does so after knowingly taking a risk.
What do people become addicted to? The culprit isn't always a mind-altering chemical. People become hooked on things that either give them pleasure or relieve distress. We don't have to look far to see people harming themselves by using excessive amounts of something that is necessary to keep them alive…food. I don't have any figures to prove this, but I believe blubber and flab cause more people to die early than alcohol and other narcotics combined. And the overeating habit probably is harder to break. Is our government going to make laws against eating too much and punish those who sell overeaters food? Is it going to pay for programs to rehabilitate them, even when they don't want to give up the addiction?
What about crimes committed under the influence of alcohol and drugs? They should be punished just as severely as if they were done by someone who was cold sober, and those who indulge in drinking or "doping" had better remember that.
William B. Williford, D.D.S.
Property or Press?
In "Write On" (Trends, Feb.), Charles Oliver apparently agreed with the ACLU that the First Amendment bestows upon high-school students, in their roles as journalists for school newspapers, a right that all other journalists lack—the right to demand publication of their writings.
It is clear that a publisher of a privately owned newspaper or magazine has a right to decide what will and what will not be printed. For example, Mr. Oliver cannot demand that REASON publish all his articles. I am confident that REASON, in fact, rejects many articles. In doing so, it has not censored the authors or violated anyone's rights. In the Hazelwood case, the Supreme Court ruled that "a school may refuse to lend its name and resources to the dissemination of student expression." The fact that the school is a public school, and therefore the "resources" are owned by the taxpayers rather than a private individual, only complicates the issue. It does not alter the analysis. The school administration is the agent of the owner-taxpayers, and through their agent, the owner-taxpayers have as much right to edit what goes into their newspapers as any owner of a private publication.
I am not familiar with the new Massachusetts law that Mr. Oliver cites that says students can "write, publish and disseminate their views" without "limitation." If it is truly as absolutist as portrayed, it is not something those who cherish property rights should cheer.
Neal C. Stout
St. Louis, MO
I enjoyed the perceptive article by Alexandra York ("Guide to Glasnost's Best," Jan.) describing her visit to my unhappy Hungarian homeland. However, her description of the statue on the top of Gellért Hill includes an erroneous history of the statue. The Szabadság Szobor ("Freedom Statue") was not built by the Russians. It was made in 1944 by the Hungarian sculptor Zsigmond Kisfaludy-Strobl, in honor of Hungary's regent, Miklós Horthy. After the war the Russians added a small statue of a machine-gun-toting Russian soldier, affixed the communist insignia to the front of the plinth, and renamed it the Liberation Monument. Needless to say, this arcana is not included in tourist guidebooks.
Otto S. Matsch
To Thatcher's Defense
Richard Winger complains that "Mrs. Thatcher has made it a criminal offense for anyone to advocate homosexual activity" (Letters, Dec.). Certainly it is true that her administration has been conservative rather than libertarian. But the clause to which Winger is referring imposes no general embargo upon advocacy, while the activities themselves were decriminalized in Britain more than 20 years ago. It was in fact a clause in a Local Government Act, designed to prevent hard-left Labour local education monopolies, running tax-funded public schools, from imposing positive images of such activities upon their captive pupils. Such a legal ban upon indoctrination financed out of property taxes must surely appeal to libertarians as well as conservatives?
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Letters".