From the Archives


25 YEARS AGO August/September 1992 "'Particularly at school,' a prominent Japanese journalist told me one day…'we are trained not to make a mistake, even if this means we achieve nothing spectacular.' At retirement, he said, Japanese tend to express satisfaction not by speaking of their accomplishments but by saying that they made no big mistakes. One often hears variations on this theme—the Japanese hate to make mistakes—and on the whole I found it to be true. The exception is where everybody makes the same mistake together, in which case it is not a mistake. Now, aversion to error makes people careful, and there is nothing wrong with that. Especially not in industrial manufacturing, where the idea is to make large numbers of things perfectly, and where the Japanese genius for quality control has given the rest of us a humbling reminder of the importance of getting it right the first time. But aversion to error can also suffocate knowledge, if the conditions are not just so."
"Why Is Japanese Baseball So Dull?"

"City planners want to take advantage of last spring's destruction. They don't want merely to restore the ravaged, low-income areas of South Los Angeles to pre-riot conditions. They want to make them better than before. In late May, residents of South L.A. got their first indication of what this means: The City Council adopted an ordinance aimed at reducing the number of gun shops, grocery/liquor stores, car-repair shops, and outlets selling second-hand goods."
"Twice Burned"

"Earlier this year, a Washington state woman complained when her son's vocabulary took a turn for the worse after he listened to The 2 Live Crew's As Nasty As They Wanna Be. Outraged that her community was unable to protect the respectability of her 4-year-old's language, she contacted her state representative, Democrat Richard King, demanding action. She got it."
"What's a Mother to Do?"

30 YEARS AGO August/September 1987 "It should scare the hell out of everybody when you have somebody spending somebody else's money."
"Reason Interview: T. Boone Pickens"

"What the Dorombys did was accept their government's reformist pronouncements at face value and, in the manner prescribed by the regime, launch a business that succeeded. But when their activities and statements supporting free-enterprise principles earned them the enmity of the Communist establishment, they found themselves increasingly harassed by the state—to the point, in fact, where their business could no longer function and the Dorombys were obliged to abandon their company and seek political asylum in the West."
"Fowl Play"

"In London, if you deposit a million dollars in a British bank, no cash transaction report will be sent to the British government. In Zurich, the Swiss government itself does not know whether a citizen has a Swiss bank account. In Montreal, there is no automatic reporting of dividends or interest to Canadian tax authorities. In Vienna, an investor can have a passbook savings account in bearer form. In Tokyo, a speculator can make a million-dollar capital gain and pay no taxes. But in the United States of America, supposedly the land of the free, you can do none of the above—legally, anyway. Privacy has been sacrificed to the rallying cry of 'full disclosure.'"
"Snooping Sam"

45 YEARS AGO August 1972 "It is quite possible that the advances in human biology in the remainder of the twentieth century will be remembered as the most significant scientific achievement of the animal species known as Homo sapiens."
"The New Biology"

"Hopefully, for want of a jingle a vote will be lost, for want of a vote a bill will fail, etc. Alas though, I fear this will not be the case: sooner or later the guaranteed income will be put across and we will have to suffer the injustice and the unproductive consequences of another 'great' social experiment."
"The Guaranteed Minimum"