15 Years Ago
"So, how's it going in Iraq? No, really. As we learn to measure the U.S. engagement there in years and (let's face reality) decades, only this much seems absolutely beyond question: On a very basic level, it's virtually impossible to know whether the occupation is going well or horribly wrong. This is above and beyond the question of whether we should be there in the first place."
"The Age of Uncertainty"
"Flexibility and freedom are vastly better than the alternatives. By and large, for the new generation of parents, rigid division of gender roles is obsolete—and so is the stark dichotomy of Superwoman vs. Supermom. That's a good start."
"Burke, the patron saint of social conservatism and the scourge of the French Revolution, supported the American Revolution. He distinguished between a revolt that aimed to overthrow established rights and principles and a revolt that aimed to restore them. Many of the American founders, incidentally, made exactly the same distinction. Whatever else they may have been, they were not utopian social engineers. Whether a modern-day Burke or Jefferson would support gay marriage, I cannot begin to say; but I am confident they would, at least, have understood and carefully weighed the possibility that to preserve the liberal foundation of civil marriage, we may find it necessary to adjust its boundaries."
"Objections to These Unions"
20 Years Ago
"American radio is very capitalist, in the crude sense of the word: The industry is a busy bazaar, rife with deal making, speculation, and scrappy hustlers trying to get rich quick. It is also very socialist, in the crude sense of the word: It has long relied on the government to protect its biggest players, shore up their profits, and ensure that the competition doesn't get too unruly."
"To date, the property rights movement has not been doing very well. It is the ragged relation of conservatism, invited to dinner on major holidays but relegated to the children's table, where its advocates can be patted on the head occasionally while not interfering with the serious conversation."
James V. DeLong
"Taking Back the Fifth"
"When government tries to rig the game in advance, Mr. Clinton, it interferes with this process of trial and error. Statism is the enemy of progress. It is the adversary of all growth except its own. Government programs are poured cement; once they flow into an economy and set, the man-made stone hardens forever."
"Facts of Life"
30 Years Ago
"Despite the widespread belief that state licensing somehow ensures quality care, an estimated 80 percent of family day-care providers—those who operate out of their homes—go unlicensed. This figure is a major factor behind statistical 'proofs' of a tremendous shortage of child care. Unwilling to recognize that unapproved day care may meet parents' needs, day-care advocates conveniently leave it out when demonstrating that the supply of child care falls short of demand."
"Who's Behind the Child Care Crisis?"
"Bernard Sanders will try to persuade a national audience that leftists can make American cities livable. To prove that 'progressives' or 'rainbows'—he is phasing out his use of the 'S-word'—can run a government, he will invite people to examine his record in Burlington [Vermont]. He risks the chance that they will examine it more closely than Bernie himself has yet been willing to."
40 Years Ago
"Libertarians are, of course, determined opponents of the Leviathan State. They are also 'idealists,' believing in the power of ideas to move mountains, to make history, to transform society. Even to overthrow an entrenched coercive despotism. And yet, libertarians have displayed curiously little interest in the process by which such social transformations can and do take place. How do ideas force a change in social institutions, even those that seem to be deeply entrenched?"
"The Death of a State"