15 Years Ago
"The most disturbing speaker at Tuesday's hearing was the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Kevin Martin. 'You can always turn the television off and, of course, block the channels you don't want,' he observed. 'But why should you have to?'"
"I Still Want My @#$%&! MTV!"
"Last year's devastating tsunami provoked a lot of soul searching about the ways of God to man. Hurricane Katrina, by contrast, didn't spark much religious or metaphysical discussion, aside from a few folks on the loony right who thought the hurricane was a form of divine retribution. Instead, the commentariat turned its attention to human culprits: Bush, local authorities, American racism, the shiftless poor, big government, small government, Ronald Reagan. Somewhere, someone probably pinned the blame on Martha Stewart."
"No, This Is the Story of the Hurricane"
30 Years Ago
"In this century we have overreacted to the dangers of cocaine with a futile attempt to ban it from the world. This campaign stains the earth with blood and corrupts the fragile institutions of democracy. Worst of all, it diverts our attention from the real causes of the misery and conflict that surround us. Cocaine is not a significant source of crime, violence, addiction, heart disease, brain damage, unhealthy babies, student apathy, low productivity, or terrorism in the Third World."
"But unless the Court declares that obscenity is constitutionally protected, we will continue to have unresolvable arguments over what is and is not obscene. And small-minded prosecutors will continue to try to make a name for themselves by suing big out-of-state corporations."
40 Years Ago
"It all boils down to this: In all the talk about freedom to leave or to enter, are we really interested in freedom, justice, and humanity, or are we only interested in scoring Brownie points in the Cold War game? If the former, we should not merely be content to condemn Russia or Cuba for not letting their people go; we should hail any occasion when some of their people do go, and we should welcome all of them to our shores with good fellowship and open arms. If we truly wish to be the land of the free, we must return to the traditional American policy before World War I of welcoming immigrants, of lifting our lamp by the golden door. America was built by immigrants, and we lost a good deal of our soul when the lamp nearly went out after World War I and immigration was sharply restricted by a combination of racism and labor union restrictionism. Let us return to our own noble heritage and be the beacon-light of freedom once more."
"From Cuban to American Socialism"
45 Years Ago
"If you're worried that the world may be destroyed before you have a chance to change anything, I offer you in closing words of consolation from Adam Smith. Writing in 1776 when the outlook for capitalism was certainly no better than it is today—it had not even been fully tried—he said that: 'The uniform constant and uninterrupted effort of every man to better his condition, the principle from which public and national, as well as private opulence is originally derived, is frequently powerful enough to maintain the natural progress of things toward improvement in spite of both the extravagance of government and the greatest errors of administration. Like the unknown principle of animal life it frequently restores health and vigor to constitution, in spite, not only of the disease, but of the absurd prescriptions of the doctor.'"
"Who Will Defend Capitalism?"