Greg Beato's essay about the loss of daily newspapers ("Fading Print," November) reminds me of the wealth of information sources available for any citizen to reach. Every major city usually has one local daily newspaper. They frequently face competitors in the surrounding suburbs, along with national editions of USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. We can also turn to all-news radio; to national network news; to local and independent news broadcasts; to cable news stations; and to the Internet. Immigrants support their own newspapers, radio, and television stations. And then there is our own reason magazine.
Great Neck, NY
The Myth of the Multiplier
In "The Myth of the Multiplier" (November) Veronique de Rugy notes that when it comes to the stimulus, "reported job numbers will need to [be] used with caution." That ain't the half of it!
I happen to work for a non-profit research institute that gets American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funding. On one of our grants, we've reported two jobs. Neither is a result of creation or retention. One "job" amounts to a month of work by the lead investigator. He is our most senior scientist and was not/is not in any danger of losing his position. The other "job" was similarly reported against a month's worth of time by one of our research support specialists. Our initial attempt to file this particular report resulted in a validation error, because we tried to report those single months' worth of time for jobs.
When the administration starts touting the utter and complete success of the stimulus funding, believe about a tenth of it. And know, without a doubt, that the American public is being played.
Pleasant Valley, NY
Are Property Rights Enough?
In "Are Property Rights Enough?" (November), Kerry Howley wins, hands down. Not only does she present the most compelling vision of liberty, but neither Todd Seavey nor Daniel McCarthy seems to have grasped her main argument.
For instance, Seavey posits a "cultural agenda she is pushing." But Howley values "tolerance for human variation, aversion to authoritarianism, and what the libertarian economist F.A. Hayek called 'a preparedness to let change run its course even if we cannot predict where it will lead.' " That does not sound like pushing a cultural agenda.
McCarthy writes that "the idea that only traditional attitudes, never progressive ones, can be oppressive strikes me as naive." But Howley does not speak of traditional attitudes vs. progressive ones. She speaks of oppressive attitudes vs. tolerant ones.
Coercion is coercion, whether the means through which it is enforced are militant, political, or social. Groups exert influence on the individual through disgrace, ostracism, and mob violence. A true friend of liberty should abhor, or at least question, all of the above.
Boulder Creek, CA