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From the Archives: May 2021

Excerpts from Reason's vaults

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15 years ago

May 2006

"A grassroots movement for gambling does exist in America, and it has existed for hundreds of years. Its members may not paint signs and organize rallies, but every day, week in and week out, year after year, they perform the most significant political act of all: They vote with their wallets."
Greg Beato
"Sin Cities on a Hill"

"Although it has been adjudicated only in relation to prison and probation programs, [Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)] coercion by state agencies and representatives extends well beyond these populations. Government-licensed professional organizations—including pilots, attorneys, and health professionals—public assistance programs, and family courts all regularly assign Americans to 12-step programs. Most people recognize that imposing Christianity is un-American, even if those who adopt Christianity have fewer drug and alcohol problems. Yet many people readily accept the government's imposition of AA and 12-step treatment."
Stanton Peele
"Drunk With Power"

"The root of baseball's economic problems lies in the restraints on what might otherwise be a free market. The league, as a whole, fails to realize that absent controls on team movement and rules against forfeiture of games, a revenue-sharing system would naturally evolve in one form or another. The key to transforming New York's pastime back into America's is to drastically reduce the powers vested in the central office. Maybe next year."
Dan Lewis
"It Happens Every Spring"

30 years ago

May 1991

"Everyone agrees with [Shelby] Foote that the Civil War defined America, but they disagree about what that definition means and whether it is for good or ill. Depending on whom we consult, the Civil War was either a noble struggle to complete the unfinished work of the Founding Fathers and to enhance equality as the central idea of American politics or a desperate struggle to check the expansion and centralization of power in the federal government. Hence the controversy over the central figure of the Civil War: Abraham Lincoln."
Steven Hayward
"The Children of Abraham"

"The hairline cracks long evident at the edges of the U.S. postal monopoly have been opened wide by February's seismic postal rate hike. Within the next few years, sizable chunks of postal business could start breaking off into the private sector."
Carolyn Lochhead
"The Superior Mail"

40 years ago

May 1981

"In 1970, when Congress and the Nixon administration agreed to continue passenger rail travel in the face of growing public preference for auto, bus, and plane, a modest $40 million was put up to get Amtrak rolling. In 1981 Amtrak is still rolling, and the taxpayers now are laying down nearly $900 million a year for it. Amtrak officials enthusiastically predict that the system will soon achieve 'a permanent and ever more crucial role in our national transportation system.'"
Jeffrey Shedd
"Congress's Toy Trains"

"Mr. Hotdog Vendor had watched his customers' verbal assault on the inspector in speechless amazement, and when he saw his tormentor retreat, his eyes watered in happy relief and gratitude. 'You save me,' he repeated several times. He insisted on free lunches all around. A nice ending to a bit of spontaneous libertarian direct action?"
Peter Samuel
"Dog Days for the Small Entrepreneur"

"Much government interference in the marketplace is inspired by business requests. Producers frequently seek tariffs, subsidies, licensing requirements, and so on to shore up their markets, boost their prices, or enhance their finances. If those who have been verbally stoning Chrysler were asked who is without sin in this regard, few could raise their hands."
Russell Shannon
"Are Businesses Really Opposed to Big Government?"

45 years ago

May 1976

"Finally, freedom for the prostitute means not just freedom for those who ply the profession, who choose the lifestyle; it means more freedom for all the members of society: freedom from hypocrisy; freedom for individuals to join the profession they choose, to spend their time as they choose; sexual freedom for all, and perhaps most important, freedom from yet another set of irrational and hypocritical laws criminalizing an act without victims."
Timothy Condon
"What To Do About Prostitution"

NEXT: Brickbat: Nice Work if You Can Get It

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  1. For the article from 1981. That hotdog vendor today would be assaulted by the customers because a Gov beauracrat told them to.

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  2. Reason should find the author of the 1981 Amtrak article, Jeffrey Shedd, wherever he is, and commission him to update it. Then it should be required reading for the President, every member of Congress and the Transportation Secretary.

    I would especially love to see updated metrics contained in the two tables in the article. Reason, how about it?

    https://reason.com/1981/05/01/amtrak/

    1. Here’s an update from an April railfan newsletter:
      Amtrak will get $1.7 billion from the latest chicom-19 relief plan. From Biden’s infrastructure plan, Amtrak CFEO Bill Flynn wants most of the $80 billion that is earmarked for passenger and freight railroads, and two Democrat congressmen have introduced a bill that would provide $5.4 billion annually to Amtrak, with 40% to the Northeast Corridor services.
      Choo-choo, all aboard the gravy train!

  3. “Most people recognize that imposing Christianity is un-American, even if those who adopt Christianity have fewer drug and alcohol problems.”

    Clearly, the author has never been around Catholics.

  4. Civil War was either a noble struggle to complete the unfinished work of the Founding Fathers and to enhance equality as the central idea of American politics

    Equality was never the central idea of American politics. Liberty was. The slaves had no liberty and the Civil War was an (in part) an attempt to deliver them the liberty that was guaranteed to them under the US constitution. It never said anything about making them (or anyone else) “equal”. The only references to “equality” is in treatment “before the law”. And all that meant is that Hunter Biden is supposed to be subject to the same rules and laws I am.

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