Archives: April 2022

Excerpts from Reason's vaults


15 years ago

April 2007

"If a student doesn't subscribe to the campus orthodoxy, the likely effect is not to convert her but to alienate her from intellectual life. Others learn only about a narrow range of ideas. One woman, a Ph.D. student in the social sciences at a Midwestern university, told me recently that when she started reading conservative, libertarian, or otherwise heretical blogs, 'it was a whole perspective I had never been exposed to before in anything other than caricature.'"
Cathy Young
"The Impact of Academic Bias"

"As soon as the Border Patrol built the wall in San Diego, coyotes started bringing migrants to other crossing points. Rather than stopping entries, the barrier merely shifted traffic to other parts of the border. Suddenly, border residents in Texas and Arizona saw a spike of illegal crossings. Panic ensued. So authorities built more walls, shifting the traffic into the more remote desert and mountain regions. Now, the Border Patrol estimates, about 40 percent of all migrants entering the U.S. illegally in the Southwest go through Arizona—most through the desert areas where Vasquez and I met Ramirez and his friends."
Malia Politzer
"'It's Our Job To Stop That Dream'"

25 years ago

April 1997

"The market is not a place or a person or a conspiracy. It is a process—a continuously adapting system of trial and error, experiment and feedback, freedom and responsibility. It rewards both discipline and risk taking, creativity and deferred gratification, foresight and learning from the past. The market process makes possible not only commercial activity but the countless voluntary associations that arise spontaneously when people are allowed the freedom to form their own bonds. Because it depends not on predetermined status but on contract—on choice and consent—the market is liberating. But it is not, as its critics charge, 'atomistic,' except in the sense that atoms have a tendency to form molecules, which in turn create larger structures.

The market does, however, undermine central authority. Though the organizations created within it may contain many hierarchies and authorities of their own, the market process does not establish one best way."
Virginia Postrel
"Laissez Fear"

30 years ago

April 1992

"In the broadest sense, your informational privacy has been violated when someone knows something about you that you don't want them to know. Traditionally, the 'someone' has been the government, as represented in fiction by Big Brother and in real life by J. Edgar Hoover. But in recent years, the focus of public debate has shifted to the private sector, especially large businesses and organizations. Privacy advocates voice concern about a wide range of commercial activities, including credit reporting, job screening, direct marketing, insurance and medical record keeping, debit-card purchases, and electronic toll collection.

For the most part, these activists are not talking about clearly illegal invasions of privacy, such as wire tapping or unauthorized access to computer files. They are more alarmed by the standard operating procedures of credit bureaus, direct marketers, retailers, and others who deal in computerized information. They complain that you can hardly engage in a business transaction these days without leaving electronic footprints, often without realizing it."
Jacob Sullum
"Secrets for Sale"

40 years ago

April 1982

"​​What of the legitimate questions that can be raised about claims of the impropriety of taxation or the morality of resisting it? For example, could society be provided with the necessary legal protection—courts, police, military, etc.—without taxation? Like so many 'practical' men, [then–IRS commissioner Roscoe] Egger did not bother with such abstract, philosophical questions. Had he bothered to ask, he would have invited volumes of answers, in the midst of which he might have found out that yes, indeed, solutions to financing public services—bona fide, genuine public services, not the mishmash of special-interest wishes politicians are so eager to lump in with the 'public sector'—are available. Such solutions, furthermore, do not breach fundamental principles of morality such as the injunction against theft. (For let us never forget it, taxation is theft; only politicians, bureaucrats, and their intellectual apologists like to weasel out of this harsh conclusion.)"
Tibor Machan
"Stop This Stealing!"