Science & Technology



As part of our cover package on the automobile industry bailout (page 20), Senior Editor Jacob Sullum argues that the federal handouts are, among other things, illegal. Sullum, 43, says he has never purchased an American car, although he did drive a couple of Ford station wagons decades ago, the last of which he sold to Senior Editor Brian Doherty. Sullum is currently trying to sell his house in Preston Hollow, the Dallas neighborhood where former president George W. Bush and his wife recently settled. The two incidents are not related.

Jeffrey Miron, an economist affiliated with both Harvard and the Cato Institute, examines the financial crisis and makes "The Case for Doing Nothing" on page 36. Asked how the forces of economic inaction have been faring since April, when he first delivered the lecture upon which the essay is based, Miron, 52, just barely manages to find a silver lining. "The short answer is that I'm losing, we're losing," he says. But "it does feel as though the pace of doing new things has slowed down. There doesn't seem to be significant talk of another stimulus bill, for instance."

Brendan O'Neill is the editor of spiked, an online magazine he describes as "pro-Enlightenment, pro-liberty, anti-misanthropy." In "Disturbing the Peace" (page 52), O'Neill, 35, writes about a woman who was jailed for having "excessively noisy sex" in the U.K. "Contemporary Britain has become like Orwell's nightmare in 1984, but not in the way that people think," he says. It's not the ubiquitous CCTV cameras. "If you go back and read, by far the most terrifying thing is the state's fear of interpersonal relationships. The state is always looking to intervene in and control those relationships. A shared intimacy between two people, admittedly a very loud shared intimacy, shouldn't involve the police."