15 Years Ago October 2003
"Elections turn on a wide array of forces, including economics, demographics, and sheer chance. Amid all of these variables, a well-executed campaign can lose, just as a troubled one can win. As soon as the outcome is clear, however, pundits credit the winners with brilliance and blame the losers for incompetence."
John J. Pitney Jr.
"If the conservative paradigm is that liberals are unpatriotic, if not downright un-American (and possibly also godless and libertine), then the liberal paradigm is that conservatives are at best uncompassionate and at worst bigots and fascists. Hannity has a point when he says that people who are outraged by Coulter's crude stereotyping of Democrats often don't hesitate to suggest that 'the Republicans want to poison the air, water, kill children and throw children on the streets.' Not to mention abuse the elderly and burn down black churches."
35 Years Ago October 1983
"How ubiquitous is the mobile phone going to become? No one can say. So much depends on its cost and how well it works in the hands of ordinary, nontechnical people. Herschel Shosteck, of HS Associates in Silver Spring, Maryland, has surveyed various people's interest in cellular phones at different prices. Shosteck finds price the key. For example, less than 10 percent of businesses, Shosteck has found, are interested in cellular at total costs of $100 a month or more per phone.…At $75 a month, Shosteck could find no measurable demand from householders, but substantial demand developed at $50."
"Hanging Up on Your Phone Company"
"For champions of waste, mismanagement, and inefficiency, the Postal Service must be a source of comfort. Despite extensive unpopularity, the Postal Service manages year after almost every year to lose money, provide lousy service, and stave off virtually all challenges to its legal monopoly status."
"Politicians pander to the old because they tend not to work and therefore have a discoverable interest as recipients of benefits from the government. There are tens of thousands of occupations in America. Those of working age who fill those jobs tend to vote in ways that narrowly promote the interest of the groups to which they belong. Farmers vote for price supports, auto workers for import quotas, doctors for restraint of trade in the medical industry, and so on. But retired farmers, auto workers, and doctors all want more benefits for retired people. In old age, they are united in greed, as they were once divided by it. The politicians sense this, which is why the oldest segment in our population will continue to exploit the rest of us; why we see the absurd spectacle of government investing more in the old than in the young."
James Dale Davidson
"Weep Not for the Wizened"
45 Years Ago October 1973
"Collectivism is based on a denial of individual choice. Such a denial can be justified only by claiming that there is no such thing as individual free choice in the first place. For this reason every collectivist ideology, from Marx to Skinner, has been based on a firm belief in determinism."
Adam V. Reed
"An Obituary for Machines of Loving Grace"
"A wise old capitalist once told me that the secret of successful investing was not to lose your money. A corollary of this sound rule would undoubtedly be not to waste your money on get-rich-quick books."
"How I Made $5 Million Speculating in Radish Futures"
50 Years Ago October 1968
"In the most fundamental sense, the concept of property is the retaining wall between a civilized society and one of savages. In pre-Nazi Germany, for example, the whole idea of property had to be damned again before Hitler and his Youth Corp[s] could succeed in taking over the nation."
"Student Power: By What Right?"
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "From the Archives".