The Case for Doing Nothing

At last, something sensible about the latest "crisis" in Jeffrey Miron's "The Case for Doing Nothing" (August/September). To anyone whose rationality has not been compromised by partisanship, it has been clear from the beginning that the problems in the financial markets are the result of policy and regulatory failure, and not the behavior of the market's participants, who after all are only responding to the perverse incentives created by government.

My fear is that we are ratcheting our way to bigger and bigger crises as we continue to supplant genuine insurance with government guarantees, which remove the markets' natural discipline. Attempts to replace the discipline of the market by encasing us all in tighter and tighter webs of requirements and prohibitions will inevitably fail one way or another. If the regulations are effective, they will squeeze the life out of the economy.

The more likely scenario, of course, is that the regulations will once again be circumvented, and the taxpayers will be on the hook again. I hope we as a nation come to our senses before reality forces us to acknowledge that even the U.S. government is not too big to fail.

Eric Moon
Honolulu, HI

The Shifting Frontiers of Animal Rights

At first read, Tim Cavanaugh's "The Shifting Frontiers of Animal Rights" (August/September) seemed to be intelligent and raised some interesting ideas.

But Cavanaugh's comment about our Western lowland gorilla Donge—he claims we put her down without "due process" —is terribly inaccurate and grossly unfair. The very difficult decision to euthanize Donge came after she had undergone seven surgeries over a period of four years to try to treat her abdominal problems. Our dedicated veterinarians and keepers had lovingly cared for her as they would a member of their own family. We had consulted with and had the assistance of medical experts from the community. There were many, many tears on the day that they made the decision that there was nothing more they could do to help her when she could no longer eat or take any medication that would alleviate her suffering. There was absolutely nothing more that could have been done for her.

Laurie Herron
Calgary Zoo
Calgary, Alberta

I generally agree with the points of view expressed in reason articles, but I must make an exception for Tim Cavanaugh's comments about Michael Vick. The acts of torturing and killing dogs are not just "considered" shocking to the conscience. They are shocking. They are also vile, disgusting, cruel, and without any redeeming rationale. Dog fighting as a "sport" is rightfully illegal, but Vick's behavior went well beyond that. What would he have to do to merit incarceration? Sell tickets to a live "gouging out the eyes of live dogs while slowly cutting them apart with chainsaws" show? Sorry, I think he went right where he belongs, but not for long enough.

Mark Stamm
Potomac, MD