"I hope I never grow to be as mean-spirited as Tim Cavanaugh," one reader wrote after enduring a recent Cavanaugh article in the Online Journalism Review ( In this month's Rant, the San Francisco writer argues that the age of suicide hijackers, anthrax attacks, and carpet-bombing of Stone Age central Asian countries is not, as many pious commentators have claimed, inevitably making the world a more caring and sincere place. (See "Ironic Engagement," page 31.) Cavanaugh was the editor of the late, lamented satiric Web site, and has written widely for newspapers and magazines, including the San Francisco Chronicle, Wired, and Business 2.0.

History has long classified World War I as the senseless consequence of entangled alliances. reason Contributing Editor Brink Lindsey refines that notion in "The Decline and Fall of the First Global Economy." (See page 42.) Lindsey, director of the Cato Institute's Center for Trade Policy Studies, focuses on how the rise of collectivist ideas fed the nationalism and militarism that motivated those alliances. As important, he sees "the last, pathetic remnant of that collectivism in today's Luddite left"–and in its woeful misreading of globalization's past. His book, Against the Dead Hand: The Uncertain Struggle for Global Capitalism, will be published by John Wiley & Sons in December.

No one better understands the erosion of radio's eccentric charms than reason Associate Editor Jesse Walker, author of Rebels on the Air: An Alternative History of Radio in America (NYU Press). An excerpt from the book, which began life as a 1995 reason article, begins on page 67. (See "Free Your Radio.") A former college and community radio DJ, Walker is quick to diagnose what's lacking on the airwaves today: "Most stations can't imagine what the Velvet Underground might have in common with Hank Williams Jr., and would never dream of playing them in the same set." Walker also subjects historian Ronald Radosh's controversial memoir, Commies, to a withering cross-examination. (See "Lobotomies, Socialist and Capitalist," page 77.)