20 Years Ago May 1998
"So now we find out: The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 empowers federal judges to rewrite the rules of golf, after deciding that the right to play in the elite PGA Tour is a 'public accommodation' like the chance to patronize a lunch counter or motel. It's hard to see a reason in principle why enfeebled base runners now shouldn't ask for motorized buggies to help in their attempts to steal third, or why slow pawn pushers shouldn't get double time on the tournament chess clock if they bring in a note saying they're learning disabled. College applicants already get double time on the SATs that way, after all. Every Olympics a Special Olympics!"
30 Years Ago May 1988
"The past 20 years have witnessed some profound gains for human freedom, thanks to the power of ideas and the liberating influence of new technologies. The next time a doom-and-gloom friend starts telling you how the world is going to hell in a handbasket, ask him if he'd really prefer the violent, constrained world of 1968. If so, he deserves it."
ROBERT W. POOLE JR.
"Things Are a Lot Groovier Now"
"Many people think fantastic ideas are limited to the likes of Harmonic Convergences, quartz crystals that ward off cancer, or, at worst, harebrained theories about who killed JFK. Unfortunately this is not the case. Two of the most fecund areas for cheap fiction are politics and economics. Which brings me to Marxism."
"You Say You Want a Revolution"
"When the Framers set out to 'form a more perfect union,' it is apparent they assumed that by their very nature humans are incapable of perfection and capable of doing great injustice. Were this not their vision of man, they might have spared themselves considerable controversy and debate by leaving us the Constitution's Preamble as the law of the land."
WALTER E. WILLIAMS
"A More Perfect Union"
"The year 2008 will be more different from today than we can imagine. But if I had to guess—and I do—I'd predict a future where individual political rights exist and political debate continues, but where…there is less emphasis on autonomy and more on interdependence, and where tightly knit groups provide an oasis in which individuality can flourish."
"Beyond Blade Runner"
40 Years Ago May 1978
"In 1928, less than 50 years ago, government at all levels—federal, state, and local—spent less than 10 percent of the national income. Two-thirds of that was at the state and local level. Federal spending amounted to less than 3 percent of the national income. Today, total government spending at all levels amounts to 40 percent of the national income, and two-thirds of that is at the federal level. So federal government spending has moved in less than 50 years from 3 percent to over 25 percent—total government spending from 10 percent to 40 percent. Now, I guarantee you one thing. In the next 50 years government spending cannot move from 40 percent of the national income to 160 percent. Legislatures cannot repeal the laws of arithmetic."
"Which Way for Capitalism?"
"'The Libertarian Party should function as a political conscience,' [Gary Greenberg] says. When asked what would be his first official act as Governor—if elected—he has replied that he would grant an immediate pardon to everyone imprisoned under New York State law for practicing a victimless crime."
JOE M. COBB
45 Years Ago May 1973
"The Prime Minister's conversion to socialism could well be termed Heath-in-reverse, if one cares to remember his 1970 election promises of a freer and more competitive society. The bonds which now unite the Tory Party are the same as those which have united the Labour Party for so long—envy, hatred, and malice towards riches, talent, and personal independence."
"Foreign Correspondent: England"
"Among those who reject human rights are some calling themselves anarcho-capitalist or capitalists. That self-identification makes no sense. With the rejection of human rights—and property rights—must go any adherence to capitalism, free market economics, laissez-faire or the like."
"On Rejecting Human Rights"
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "From the Archives".