The End of International Environmentalism
Ronald Bailey's "The End of International Environmentalism" (October) was most interesting when he noted that the worst degradation is occurring in areas and resources that are controlled by governments. His explanation is priceless: "That's because owners protect their resources, since they directly suffer the consequences of not doing so."
Well said! Unfortunately, while those at the forefront of the green movement know its ideology and programs are failures, the general public is about 20 years behind. They have grown up being bombarded with green propaganda, and they are generally committed to what Bailey calls "democratic capitalism."
What does this mean? Democracy is the untrammeled rule of the majority. Capitalism is the economic system that protects property rights. Thus at best "democratic capitalism" can only mean the grudging allowance of property ownership as long as it pays suitable ransom to the majority in power.
What is the consequence of this contradiction? "Democratic capitalism" encourages both producers and consumers to opt for government ownership of resources. I submit that democracy is "polite" compulsion, but it must ultimately get less polite and degrade to empire, totalitarianism, or anarchy.
We have never had true capitalism in this country (or anywhere else). If people want to save the environment, this country, and the world from the inevitable slide into the ruin of the "democratic capitalists," they should reject the failed politics of compulsion.
Ilene L. Skeen
New York, NY
San Francisco's Darkest Hour
I enjoyed Tim Cavanaugh's review of Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror, and Deliverance in the City of Love ("San Francisco's Darkest Hours," October) right up until the last word. In any other publication I'd let it slide, but for reason to use anarchy as a synonym for chaos is jarring, to say the least.
Letters are welcome and should be addressed to
reason 1747 Connecticut Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20009 fax: 202-315-3623 firstname.lastname@example.org
Now that I live next door to San Francisco I get the impression that everyone views it as a utopian Mecca. Progressivism has so thoroughly infiltrated our culture that it's taboo to criticize the City by the Bay. But it needs criticizing. It remains a highly dysfunctional city, a filthy city, a fiscal basket case, and politically nasty.
—reason.com commenter "brandybuck" in response to "San Francisco's Darkest Hours" (October)
As Ronald Reagan once put it, "Defense is not a budget issue. You spend what you need." Ronald Reagan was also an overrated embodiment of empty and desperate Republicanism striving for a hero. What a country needs for defense always culminates in what defense contractors want. This makes war and defense a business of illusion in the cash cow game.
—reason.com commenter "Agile Cyborg" in response to "Ready to Cut Military Spending" (October)
If Michael J. Sandel is so against "markets," why is he selling What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)? Shouldn't he impart his great wisdom to "us" for free? What would he do if "we" decide this shit is idiotic and immoral for him to sell for $27?
—reason.com commenter "Hneckone" in response to "Markets vs. Morals" (October)