From the Archives: April 2021
Excerpts from Reason's vaults
15 years ago
"All this might be very troubling, if not for the fact that increasing geographic mobility is a myth. If anything, Americans are more likely than ever to stay put. You might think that basic fact would give the social critics and policy makers pause. But it hasn't stopped them from asserting that rampant mobility is destroying the environment, undermining the family, and increasing anomie. More important, it hasn't stopped them from proposing intrusive, coercive, and expensive measures to curb a problem that doesn't exist."
Alison Stein Wellner
"The Mobility Myth"
"America's law-and-order populace may not be ready to condemn the practice of busting up recreational pot smokers with ostentatiously armed paramilitary police squads, even when the SWAT team periodically breaks into the wrong house or accidentally shoots a kid. I mean, somebody was probably breaking the law, right?
But the dog? That loyal, slobbery, lovable, wide-eyed, fur-lined bag of unconditional love?
Dammit, he deserves better."
"Government Goons Murder Puppies!"
30 years ago
"But the struggles of the cryonics movement are not about the merits of cold storage. They're about the right to accept or reject medical treatment, including methods as unorthodox as cryonic suspension; to dispose of your remains, whether in a grave, in an urn, or in a vat of liquid nitrogen; and to hasten your death, or, as the cryonicists would have it, try to postpone it indefinitely. Thomas Donaldson and his fellow enthusiasts do not insist that others join them or applaud them—only that they leave them alone."
"Cruise missiles and similar weapons do not mean that war as we know it is obsolete. They have only limited effectiveness in the kind of war fought between Iran and Iraq during the 1980s, a war of massed infantry, artillery, and intermediate-range missiles. But they are likely to be highly significant in any future shooting war with the United States."
"These are confusing times for people who are fond of political labels. Most Americans admire Eastern European 'liberals.' They're the folks championing economic and political reform. Their principles, however, often resemble what passes for conservatism in the United States. Soviet 'conservatism,' on the other hand, is closet Stalinism."
"The Brainchild of Earnest Gentlemen"
35 years ago
"A particularly pernicious part of the Justice Department's war on liberty is its campaign against 'pornography'—which term it strategically uses to condemn everything from soft-erotica to violent S&M flicks. In this assault, the Reagan administration has chosen to undermine the most sacred right of a free people: the right to see and read what we like, unhindered by the whims of obscure regulators."
"The historical reality of the Marshall Plan does not match the popular myths. As such, serious questions about foreign aid are raised. For if the most highly acclaimed foreign-aid program of this century—if not of all Western history—was at most a limited success, then foreign aid as a concept should be critically reexamined."
"The Great Twentieth-Century Foreign-Aid Hoax"
"If you haven't been to the movies lately, you may be missing something. Slowly but surely, individualism is making a comeback in Hollywood."
"Hooray for Hollywood!"
50 years ago
"As of now, it seems, that many have only learned about the disease—hardly anyone in educational theory expresses satisfaction with the present system. But the political and economic sophistication of educational theorists and administrators is minimal, unfortunately. Instead of urging the freeing of education, many are simply demanding more money and more State intervention. The question is, will they ever seriously examine a truly radical proposal, such as that offered by free market economists and libertarian educational theorists? Or will they simply talk up their dissatisfactions, thereby affecting serious concern without paying serious attention to the problem?"
"The Schools Ain't What They Used to Be and Never Was"
"Mostly within the past half century, our society…has done a most remarkable thing. We have locked up learning in schools."