In "The Empty Case for Big Government" (page 64), Cato Institute Executive Vice President David Boaz looks at two books that muddy "the distinctions between society and government," To Promote the General Welfare: The Case for Big Government (Oxford University Press), edited by Steven Conn, and Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent (Bloomsbury), by E.J. Dionne Jr. A native of Mayfield, Kentucky, Boaz, 58, has been with Cato since 1981. Before that, he worked as editor of New Guard magazine and executive director for the Council for a Competitive Economy. Boaz finds the backlash against austerity heartening. "I'm encouraged that big-government supporters feel threatened," he says, "even if I fear that they're worrying about nothing." Boaz is the author and editor of several books, including Libertarianism: A Primer (Free Press).
Calvin Thompson, 22, is reason's 2012 summer intern. A native of Monroe, North Carolina, and a graduate of Appalachian State University, Thompson started out as a moderate libertarian but now calls himself "an anarchist without adjectives" who digs the 19th-century writer Lysander Spooner. As a hunter, Thompson is passionate about the Second Amendment. Gun rights, he notes, are "a popular punching bag for authoritarians." During his tenure at reason, Thompson blogged at reason.com, transcribed interviews, and attempted to bring order to the library in the D.C. office.
Melanie Kruvelis is the 2012 summer Burton C. Gray Memorial Intern. Kruvelis, 19, has completed her sophomore year at the University of Michigan, where she is majoring in political science. The Ann Arbor, Michigan, native enjoyed her stint in Washington, D.C., but only because she's "a masochist." Her libertarian hero, she says, is "Ron Freaking Swanson" from the TV show Parks and Recreation. On the issues, Kruvelis gets fired up about "free speech, authority, and sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll." She will vote in November "if there's nothing better on TV."