I found Nick Gillespie's article on Harry Browne and the Libertarian Party most disheartening ("Uncompromising Positions," July). I was especially offended by the author's association of Browne's campaign with the likes of Pat Paulsen and Billy Joe Clegg. I find dismissing Browne's candidacy odd since both REASON and the Libertarian Party seem to be in the same business: spreading our mutual message of limited constitutional government, individual liberty, laissez-faire economics, and peace. The difference between REASON and the Browne campaign/Libertarian Party seems to be one of accomplishment. Harry Browne and the other candidates of the Libertarian Party have already reached over 10 million people via radio, television, and print and will reach tens of millions more by the election. I believe REASON has a circulation of around 60,000. Perhaps if REASON and Nick Gillespie were half as successful as Harry Browne and the Libertarian Party in communicating our message to the masses, we would already be at our common goal.
Howard Scott Lichtman
Jo Jorgensen, Libertarian for Vice President
I believe externalities in third-party votes make it mandatory that direct comparison of presidential votes from one election to the next (a centerpiece of "Uncompromising Position") be replaced by a more meaningful analysis. For instance, we might examine Libertarian presidential votes as a percent of only those candidates excluded from that great statist infomercial, the national TV debates. With this we find very positive results. In 1972, John Hospers got one fourth of one percent of the TV excluded vote. This rose to 11 percent with Roger McBride in 1976 and 13 percent with Ed Clark in 1980. By 1984, David Bergland garnered 37 percent of the excluded vote and Ron Paul achieved 48 percent in 1988! Andre Marrou's share fell only slightly to 44 percent four years ago. By measuring the L.P.'s share of those who won't vote for the lesser of evils on TV, we find an achievement about which the L.P. can be proud.
I have been a reader of REASON for over 10 years. I have also purchased several gift subscriptions for my friends. I enjoy REASON and will continue to be a booster for your magazine.
In this spirit, I would like to remind you that the prime market for your publication is the libertarian movement. Of course, you would like to appeal far beyond this group, but you should never forget that REASON would not exist as it is without the support of libertarians. I would urge, for your sake, that you do not treat your core readers like fools in order to curry favor with those who will never become enthusiastic subscribers. Politicians (like Bob Dole) are patronizing to their core supporters while slavishly courting the respect of the center. For politicians in American elections, this makes sense–there is nowhere else for conservative activists to go. But you are not in this position. There are many excellent alternatives to REASON magazine. The positioning that is so vital for successful politicians only makes political magazines unimportant and replaceable. I hope you are not so swamped with e-mail from your subscribers and potential subscribers about your Harry Browne article that you dismiss this comment. But all the other mail you are receiving only underscores my point. These are the people who care what you say.
I subscribed to REASON many years ago not to hear how badly the L.P. and its candidates are doing but rather to hear how "free markets and free minds" are winning the day, how libertarian principles can have a positive impact on society. However, your article on the L.P. and Harry Browne, when looked at alongside your article on Steve Forbes, sounds suspiciously like an endorsement of the Republican Party and its vision of government: something that must grow, albeit more slowly than the Democratic ideal of 5 percent. Not good enough, folks.
Patrick L. McHargue
U.S. 4th House District
I am disgusted after having read your article about the Libertarian Party. I've always thought of REASON as "small l" libertarians, so I did not expect flattery–but you could have been, at the very least, accurate. Take the opening sentence: "Over the Fourth of July weekend, the Libertarian Party will invade enemy territory–Washington, D.C.–and hold its national convention." News flash: The L.P. headquarters is housed within the Watergate Complex, which is in Washington, D.C. How can one invade "enemy territory" while on one's own turf?
Also, you wrote "Browne has received next to no media attention…." Granted, the print and TV media have not been overly attentive; but Browne is currently a talk-radio phenomenon. He has reached at least 15 million people on over 150 radio shows as of mid- May. Many of these shows have been 60 minutes or more. Compare that with 15-second sound bites for Dole and Clinton. Browne must be hours ahead in radio air time. But the omission possibly of greatest note came when you talked of his having raised only $750,000–"hugely short" of his goal. You made no mention of the fact that, after waiting to be sure that Republicans would be stuck with Bob Dole, Browne has just begun fundraising efforts targeted at subscribers of his friends in the investment newsletter industry. In fact, Browne has been endorsed by five prominent investment newsletter writers, who have about 500,000 subscribers. Why didn't you mention these endorsements?
Just for fun let's say he can come up with an average donation of $100 from each of these half million investors. He would then have the $50 million he needs. Or do you think that America's rank and file investors are putting their hopes on Dole? Wake up! You did not need to write a hit piece. You could have simply printed the Harry Browne interview. No one could have complained about that. Time will tell if Browne can raise the $50 million. In the meantime, I am not supporting you any longer. It is foolish to support those who would bring our movement down. Please send me a refund for the rest of my subscription so that I may send that money to the Browne for President campaign.
San Diego, CA
Nick Gillespie's hit piece about the supposed contradiction between libertarianism and party politics looks like a deliberate attempt to discredit both the Libertarian Party and Harry Browne. In an effort to make his points, Gillespie suggests that Browne's agenda would be like the French Revolution. REASON should be ashamed for printing such nonsense. The "fatal conceit" Hayek disparaged and to which you compared Browne's program was that there is "some grand, wise, and judicious plan" by which men could "create the world anew," which is what socialism is all about. Libertarianism stresses that there is no such plan, that the best plan is no plan but freedom, that people left to their own devices make the best decisions about their own welfare, and that the creative forces unleashed by a free market will inevitably produce wealth for everyone in society. The Libertarian Party and Harry Browne believe that. Doesn't REASON?
I also think you were unnecessarily negative about Harry Browne's chances in November. Browne is popular in one very large constituency outside the Libertarian Party, the Internet. He actually leads in several totally independent Internet straw polls, and is a close second in several more. And this is without the deep pockets of a Forbes or Perot, or the incessant free media exposure Clinton and Dole enjoy.
Browne is popular on the Internet because netizens already appreciate liberty. They've watched the Internet double every year for the past seven years without any government aid or direction. They've experienced freedom and they like it.
How big is this constituency? At the end of March there were an estimated 12 million computers hooked up to the Web, and there should be 20 million by November at the current rate of growth. Figuring 1.5 voter per computer (to balance two-and three-voter families against non-U.S. and underage segments), and 50 percent of them for Browne, and 50 percent of those actually voting, that's more than 7 million votes right there. As for Browne's "ludicrous scenario," what's ludicrous about getting back to basic constitutional law, especially the 10th Amendment? What's ludicrous about vetoing bills that increase big government and then daring Congress to overturn the veto while millions of its constituents watch? What's ludicrous about carrying out the will of the people who voted him into office? Unusual, yes, but ludicrous? Yes, Harry Browne is a long shot right now, but there are still almost five months to November and anything could happen, especially after the debates.
Regarding Mr. Gillespie's piece on Harry Browne and the Libertarian Party, his contention that the U.S. government will "piecemeal" itself to a libertarian society is surprisingly naive and based on flawed logic. By his contention that since government beefed up on a piecemeal basis it can just as naturally beef down, he must think big government is like the man who gradually ate his way to obesity and acknowledges his excesses and the fact that he must lose weight. A more correct analogy to big government is to compare it to the AIDS virus: a parasite that gains strength as it saps more and more of the vitality of its host.
The mainstream political parties will never voluntarily give up any material portions of government power no matter how fervently Mr. Gillespie "hopes" the process "works in reverse." They continue to push collectivist economic initiatives like family leave, and increasing the minimum wage, and seize on opportunities to consolidate more power through agendas like the anti-terrorism bill.
I find it disheartening that a magazine purporting to support "free minds and free markets" would cast the only political movement dedicated to those same principles in such a negative light. I regret that you've been seduced by the mainstream political parties and thereby have abrogated your own ideals.
I just received an e-mail press release from David Nolan and Harry Browne berating REASON for having the temerity to point out the obvious, i.e., that once again the L.P. hasn't a snowball's chance in hell of winning major political office in 1996. I was particularly offended to have Browne, who explained 25 years ago why playing election politics was a waste of time and effort, present himself as offended when his own reasoning is used against him.
I have subscribed to REASON for about 15 years. Have I always agreed with your positions? Of course not! Could you be a better magazine? Sure! However, I learned a long time ago not to criticize someone's work unless I was willing to step into their shoes. I find REASON enjoyable and informative; if Harry Browne and Co. feel it isn't serving the interests of libertarians, why don't they start another magazine and run REASON out of business? To me, that's the free market solution, not wasting my time sending me polemics about how REASON has done them wrong.
Ideological movements in American history do not usually triumph by overt victories. The Socialist Party never won an election, but we have nearly everything they wished for in place today. We libertarians (note the small l) will win eventually because we have reality on our side, but this doesn't mean that a Libertarian candidate will occupy the White House anymore than that the fall of Communism required U.S. troops to capture Moscow. You can lose all the battles and still win the war. I plan to vote for the L.P. candidate, but that doesn't mean I expect him or her to actually win office. As for REASON, please keep fighting the good fight. There's room for everyone on this battlefield.
Nick Gillespie replies: Judging from the volume of mail it generated–well over 100 responses, including personal letters to me–"Uncompromising Position" struck a nerve with readers. The response was mixed, but there is no question that the story "disheartened," "appalled," and "disgusted" a fair number of readers (and a fair number of people who admitted they had not and would not read the piece out of principle!). I, in turn, have been somewhat disheartened by responses that misinterpret, misconstrue, or simply miss the gist of my story.
Essentially, I made the following observations: 1) Harry Browne is not going to become president of the United States. 2) His insistence that he can win the election hurts his ability to communicate libertarian ideas because voters are more likely to write him off as out of touch with reality. 3) The Libertarian Party has not developed into a broad-based popular party, and there are reasons for that. 4) Because libertarians tend to think in terms of systematic consistency, and politics (as opposed to philosophy) is characterized by compromise and half-measures, there is inherent tension in libertarian proposals for political reform. 5) Libertarians will have to convince people on an issue-by-issue basis that their ideas are valid and worth adopting.
Some of these points are arguable, and some are perhaps disagreeable, but they are hardly "slanderous," as Tomas R. Estrada-Palma asserts without support. And, contrary to Dan Litwin, the story is factually accurate. Commenting on my story's opening image of the L.P. "invading" Washington, D.C., for the party's convention, Litwin writes, "The L.P. headquarters is…in Washington, D.C. How can one invade 'enemy territory' while on one's own turf?" I am relieved to know that the use of metaphorical language is the extent of my empirical blunders. Mr. Litwin might have also noted that Harry Browne has never been known to struggle between Scylla and Charybdis (indeed, the candidate may well have never even been to the Mediterranean).
One of the distressing characteristics shared by many of the most negative letters is an unwillingness or inability to read carefully or with any appreciation for context. For instance, Howard Scott Lichtman charges that I lump Browne in with such political sideshow geeks as Pat Paulsen and the Rev. Billy Joe Clegg. Even a casual perusal of my story would reveal that I cited The New York Times Magazine's classification of serious alternative candidates with foolish ones to illustrate how difficult it is for the former to get respectful media attention. (In their widely circulated responses to the article, Harry Browne and L.P. founder David Nolan make numerous similar basic reading mistakes. Incidentally, Messrs. Browne and Nolan both declined numerous requests to write letters to the editor.)
Similarly, I find it unconvincing to assert that REASON–because it is a libertarian magazine–is the wrong forum in which to discuss the fortunes, strategies, and failings of the Libertarian Party. In his evenhanded letter, Philip Blumel reminds REASON not to treat its "core readers like fools in order to curry favor with those who will never become enthusiastic subscribers." Patrick L. McHargue writes that he reads REASON specifically "not to hear how badly the L.P. and its candidates are doing, but rather to hear how 'free minds and free markets' are winning the day."
One of the sub-themes of the story was that the "libertarian movement is engaged with the mainstream–at long last!" But more important, it seems to me that REASON–as by far the largest libertarian publication in print–would be treating its readers precisely like fools if it failed to engage in critical commentary regarding the libertarian movement, which is in no way limited to the Libertarian Party or its 14,000 members. My article was hardly intended to "curry favor" with vaguely defined non-subscribers; it was an attempt to assess the Browne campaign, a topic of scant interest to non-libertarians. That anything other than bland, empty praise of the L.P. and its candidates should be seen as unconscionable dissent–or the result of being "seduced by the mainstream political parties"–speaks to the party's immaturity. I find it ironic that libertarians of all people would insist on such intellectual orthodoxy.
Henry R. Newmark's letter underscores the conundrum of libertarian politics (as opposed to philosophy) that I comment on in my story. He notes (as I did), that "mainstream political parties will never voluntarily give up power," but then carves out an exception for the L.P. What I suggested was that libertarian ideas will be adopted and implemented on a piecemeal basis. It is ridiculous and historically insupportable to think that overnight, in one fell swoop, any group can completely change the political direction of the country through electoral means.
This is not because, as Patrick L. McHargue insinuates, REASON endorses the Republican Party's "vision of government [as] something that must grow, albeit more slowly than the Democratic ideal of 5 percent"–I challenge Mr. McHargue to turn up anything in REASON (including Virginia Postrel's editorial on Steve Forbes) that comes close to such a suggestion. Rather, drawing on the observations of F.A. Hayek regarding the rise of central planning in England and the United States, I put forth the notion that less- than-comprehensive changes in social institutions can eventually, if slowly, lead to a more- libertarian society.
Mr. Crawford, by the way, misreads my reference to Hayek's "fatal conceit." I didn't say that Browne's agenda was the same as the French Revolution in its particulars. During his interview with REASON, Browne himself admitted that he could think of no point in history when a government voluntarily (i.e., following an election) rolled itself back in the way he's proposing. The logical inference from this is that we need something akin to the French Revolution, something that essentially wipes the slate clean and starts over (in fact, Browne often talks about getting back to the Edenic paradise he supposes late 18th-century America to have been). My point was to highlight another tension inherent in libertarian political programs: On the one hand, we call for a huge scaling back, if not an outright dissolution, of government functions; on the other, we understand that governments and social institutions are not easily changed, redesigned, or dismantled. Hayek, in The Road to Serfdom and elsewhere, stressed the need for top-down change in political institutions as the means to change people's attitudes about government and state authority. It is worth pausing over the irony that a libertarian order characterized by decentralized political and economic power may well require a strong-arm leader to come into being. As for Browne's "ludicrous scenario," it does strike me as absurd that Browne could openly acknowledge that there are systemic reasons for the status quo and then assert that he alone can turn Leviathan into a playful dolphin.
Still, far from writing a "hit piece" (as Dan Litwin and Dick Crawford allege), I hardly glossed over Browne's positives, even going so far as to call him "quite possibly the strongest candidate the L.P. has yet to consider" and announcing my (continuing) intention to vote for him in the fall. By the same token, it seems ridiculous to me to entertain the fantasy that Browne can or will win. This is not necessarily a bad thing: As Bill Howell notes, the Socialist Party accomplished a great deal with virtually no luck at the polls.
Howard Scott Lichtman pegs Browne's radio audience at over 10 million (Dan Litwin puts it over 15 million); these numbers are perhaps less impressive than they seem at first blush and should not be taken as a sign of support for Browne's agenda. Consider that in May (the latest month for which I have the figures), the total circulation of press mentions of REASON or the Reason Foundation topped 18.2 million; in the same month, REASON people made over a dozen radio and television appearances, reaching a potential audience of who knows how many millions. While such a presence is all to the good–and Browne is, as I noted, a "seasoned, articulate pundit" and "persuasive polemicist"–it is hardly sufficient to win substantial numbers of votes. Dick Crawford's invocation of Browne's showing in Internet polls is similarly misguided. None of the Internet polls represents random samples; most of them allow respondents to vote as often as they want. Dan Litwin's fundraising calculations add up on paper–although they make wildly unrealistic assumptions about reader response–and I sincerely hope that Harry Browne reaches his goal. All I reported was the fact–as verified by his campaign–that at press time, Browne had raised about 1.5 percent of that sum.
Stan Liebowitz and Stephen Margolis should be applauded for their discussion of QWERTY ("Typing Errors," June). They are right that QWERTY does not strengthen an argument for government intervention. However, QWERTY raises philosophical issues that can't be resolved simply by retelling the history of this (or any) particular innovation. QWERTY is best understood as an argument against a strand of economic thinking which comes very close to making the Panglossian argument that markets lead us to "the best of all possible worlds." To say that keyboard technology is as efficient as it could possibly be at this point in history is tautological and meaningless. Economics by itself simply doesn't have much to offer to the conversations that take place at this level. It might be that conversations at that level are themselves meaningless, but saying this requires a philosophical reach outside of economics.
This is relevant on a political level, because classical liberals who rely too heavily on economics for their thinking often end up making Panglossian arguments. If they wish to be persuasive, classical liberals must have something to say about human beings as human beings and not simply as rational utility-maximizers.
New York, NY
I found Liebowitz and Margolis's article intriguing. It does indeed seem unfortunate that so many scholars and writers are locked in to the clearly inferior example of the QWERTY keyboard and seem so utterly dependent upon the erroneous path laid before them by, for one, Dvorak.
In light of that little irony, perhaps Liebowitz and Margolis should refine their argument to say that, though the market can at times lead to the adoption of very goofy, bad, or inefficient networks, such poor decisions can be overcome by smart entrepreneurs, though the rejection of a bad network and the adoption of a good network is not a foregone conclusion. They might add that government is less likely than free entrepreneurs to adopt the best networks.
I was disappointed to not find a discussion by Liebowitz and Margolis about the free-rider problem associated with network externalities. If a different keyboard design really were more efficient than the one I'm now using, it would be much more expensive for the first firms to switch over to the new design than later firms; firms would be tempted to free- ride on the efforts of the first firms to switch. Of course, libertarians view problems of externalities as problems to be solved by entrepreneurs, not the state.
Liebowitz and Margolis's article is as flawed as the QWERTY keyboard. I would suggest that they get out from under their papers, books, and research studies to try a Dvorak keyboard to get at the truth. In the studies they cite, where two groups competed against each other on the two machines, they failed to observe that the participants previously all had been QWERTY typists. This leads to an obvious disadvantage for the Dvorak groups, who had to overcome their QWERTY habits while attempting to adapt to the new keyboard layout. The only acceptable study would be one in which all the participants had never typed before. The result would be quite clear: The Dvorak is far superior.
Deerfield Beach, FL
Since the gist of their article is attacking the erroneous repetition of untested myths, it's ironic that Stan Liebowitz and Stephen E. Margolis perpetuate the fallacy that the Macintosh's graphical interface was taken from Xerox. The idea of a graphical interface dates back, at least, to Jef Raskin's Ph.D. thesis, "A Hardware-Independent Computer Drawing System Using List-Structured Modeling: The Quick-Draw Graphics System." Curiously, Raskin was the project leader for the Macintosh, the Mac's graphics engine is called QuickDraw, and the Mac project started long before Steve Jobs's mythological visit to Xerox PARC.
Quoting from a recent message to the "MacWay" mailing list by Bruce Horn (an engineer who joined the Macintosh project in 1981 after eight years at Xerox): "I've been watching the debate for more than a decade now about where the Macintosh User Interface came from. Most people assume that it was taken directly from Xerox, after Steve Jobs went to visit. This 'fact' is reported over and over, by people who don't know any better (and also by people who should!). This just isn't true–there are some similarities between the Apple interface and the various interfaces on Xerox systems, but the differences are substantial."
While I agree that Dvorak's slow acceptance may not be a good example of why markets can't be trusted, Liebowitz and Margolis first slander Typewriting Behavior, the 1936 book by Dvorak et al. presenting the keyboard's design, as "a late-night television infomercial rather than scientific work." The 500-plus page book stuffed with charts and design details is, in the preface, clearly identified as part of "a series of commercial education [books] to result from" their studies, for which they gratefully acknowledge funding from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (not the "Carnegie Commission"). Liebowitz and Margolis claim that they "discovered" this support, as if it were somehow hidden from public view. Hidden in the preface of the book?
They claim the 1944 Navy study was difficult to find, and the author's names were concealed. My publisher has had copies of the report available for 15 years. It clearly shows it was "Prepared by Training Section, Departmental Services Division of Shore Establishments and Civilian Personnel, Washington, D.C."–not an atypical attribution for a government study.
Liebowitz and Margolis's coup de grace, though, is the General Services Administration's 1956 study by Earl Strong. They conclude that because there has been "no attempt to discredit the GSA study," academics and journalists are not living up to their high standards when writing about the Dvorak. Liebowitz and Margolis didn't do their homework: Dvorak supporters would simply say, "been there, done that." Example: My 1986 book, which Liebowitz and Margolis could probably have found in their university libraries, spent several pages pointing out gross bias behind the GSA study. Harvard's Richard Land said the GSA test was "poorly designed," that "the conclusions are overstated," and that the data actually showed "great promise" for further improvement by the Dvorak typists which Strong ignored. When other researchers wanted to see the raw data so they could draw their own conclusions, they found that Strong had destroyed it all! This is an example of the high standards Liebowitz and Margolis aspire to? Further, Strong was clearly biased: In 1949, he wrote, "I am out to exploit [the present keyboard] to its very utmost in opposition to the change to new keyboards," and there is evidence of a personal animosity between Strong and Dvorak.
I agree with Liebowitz and Margolis on another thing: There is a need for good, unbiased studies on Dvorak. The best raw data I have access to at present is from Keytime, a Seattle-based company which uses keyboard instructional technologies they developed in house. In the past nine years, they have trained several hundred typists on Dvorak and several thousand on QWERTY, using the exact same equipment and teaching methodologies. They have "repeatedly found" that after 15 hours of training and practice time, existing QWERTY hunt-and-peck typists can touch type at an average 20 words per minute. After 15 hours of training and practice on Dvorak, similarly able (QWERTY) typists consistently average 25 to 30 words per minute touch-typing on Dvorak. Further, Keytime reports that the Dvorak typists continue to improve at a higher rate. Liebowitz and Margolis conclude that "the story of Dvorak's superiority is a myth or, perhaps more properly, a hoax." Concluding that there is some sort of conspiracy afoot among the obviously grassroots 60-year support for the Dvorak is paranoia, not academic theory.
Messrs. Liebowitz and Margolis reply: Regarding Mr. Forbes's point, it has never been our position that the QWERTY keyboard was the best of all possible keyboards. Further, economics does not generally make such claims. We would argue, however, that economics does demonstrate that competition leads to the least-cost methods of achieving a particular goal. A Toyota Corolla might not be the best car that can be imagined, or even produced, but for the money, it does its job about as well as anything that we can currently produce. Otherwise some smart entrepreneur would put those inefficient auto companies out of business. It is not Panglossian to say that competition leads to efficiency, since efficiency is not sufficient to achieve the best of all possible worlds. We are perfectly willing to acknowledge this limitation of economics. To Mr. Argiro we would note that the mathematical simulations of typing, which show no advantage for Dvorak, do not have the drawback that he cites. Also, Dvorak did claim that QWERTY typists would also benefit from his technique. His own Navy study compared retrained QWERTY typists, appropriately mimicking the decision that faced actual typists (who already knew QWERTY). Nevertheless, we agree that it would be interesting to have a controlled experiment starting with new typists. Unlike Mr. Argiro, however, we cannot claim with certainty what the results will show, although we believe that he will be proved wrong.
Regarding Mr. Armstrong, the myth of Dvorak superiority is promulgated precisely because it is a wonderful example of an alleged market failure. Also, academic theories (and theorists) do not compete in a free and open for-profit marketplace. If they did, a lot of them might well never come to exist. More seriously, it is an important part of our argument that entrepreneurs are the key players guiding markets toward efficient paths, and we regret it if our article did not make this point forcefully enough. While we acknowledge free-riding as a possibility for some network externalities, we do not regard it as a central issue for the typewriter story. Large corporations with typing pools could fairly easily have internalized sufficient gains from switching to a better keyboard to make the switch worthwhile, if the advantages of Dvorak were anything like those that Dvorak claimed. Mr. Hutchings introduces an old debate that usually asks whether Apple is guilty of some misappropriation. We certainly make no accusation of that sort. But it is abundantly clear that Xerox had done much work on the idea of using a mouse with menuing systems well before Apple (even if others not at Xerox were working on the same ideas, and even if they later worked at Apple) and that Apple was influenced by what Xerox did. This doesn't mean that Apple did not improve on the ideas, or that Apple didn't invest much of its own energy trying to optimize its interface. But the major ideas that separated graphical from text interfaces were born at Xerox, not Apple.
We were disappointed, as Mr. Cassingham must be, that his 1986 book cannot be found in our university libraries. Nor is it to be found in the on-line catalogs at Harvard, the University of Michigan, Duke, or the University of Texas at Austin, all of which are thought to have substantial collections. (Readers can easily verify this for themselves.) We therefore cannot comment on Mr. Cassingham's writings.
We did contact his publisher (Freelance Communications, Pasadena) and discovered that they offer only three titles, all of them by Mr. Cassingham. Thus it seems somewhat disingenuous for Mr. Cassingham to refer to his publisher in the third person. This type of exaggeration by Dvorak advocates helps fuel our doubts regarding their claims. Mr. Cassingham's possession of the Navy study is no evidence of its general availability. In any case, Mr. Cassingham's claims are off the mark. Even if it were easy to find a copy of the Navy study, our claim that Dvorak's role is hidden from view is hardly changed by noting that the title page says the study was prepared by the Training Services Division of the Navy. By way of comparison, Strong does not hide his role in the GSA study. Our academic writing, by the way, cites the Navy study in full, crediting the Training Services Division.
The book to which Dvorak was willing to have his name attached does read like an infomercial to us, as we think it would to any unbiased reader. By itself, this hardly proves that it is wrong, since infomercials might well be selling worthwhile products. Boosterism, even for worthwhile products, however, cannot be a substitute for scientific objectivity. Charts and tables by themselves are not scientific unless they report results that are produced in accordance with generally accepted scientific methods. This means, among other things, proper controls, which was not the case in the Dvorak book (Dvorak hardly claimed otherwise). We are certain that the Psychic Friends Network could offer charts and tables as testimonials to its value. The "results" mentioned by Messrs. Cassingham and Argiro ignore this important point. For example, the Keytime data reported by Mr. Cassingham, although admittedly unknown to us, smack of typist self-selection and thus lack of controls, since Mr. Cassingham reports far more QWERTY typists than Dvorak typists.
Finally, we are aware that some Dvorak boosters claim that Strong was biased. We cannot prove otherwise. But serious ergonomic studies, and other studies comparing QWERTY and Dvorak (even those put forward by Yamada, a Dvorak advocate) tend to match the results of Strong, and not the Navy studies. It is the preponderance of evidence, together with the reasonableness of the reported method, that causes us to believe Strong's results. We have seen no convincing evidence that Strong's results were biased, but we are willing to entertain any contrary evidence that is other than just hearsay.