Archives: May 2022

Excerpts from Reason's vaults


15 years ago

May 2007

"What do these four 'public health' problems—smoking, playing violent video games, overeating, and gambling—have in common? They're all things that some people enjoy and other people condemn, attributing to them various bad effects. Sometimes these effects are medical, but they may also be psychological, behavioral, social, or financial. Calling the habits that supposedly lead to these consequences 'public health' problems, 'epidemics' that need to be controlled, equates choices with diseases, disguises moralizing as science, and casts meddling as medicine. It elevates a collectivist calculus of social welfare above the interests of individuals, who become subject to increasingly intrusive interventions aimed at making them as healthy as they can be, without regard to their own preferences."
Jacob Sullum
"An Epidemic of Meddling"

20 years ago

May 2002

"Human beings not only consume resources but make new resources with their fertile minds. People do not simply use up resources the way a herd of zebra would; they create new recipes to use resources in ever more effective ways. Coal, tin, fresh water, forests, and so forth may all be limited, but the ideas for extending and improving their uses are not."
Ronald Bailey
"Green With Ideology"

"The abuses of psychiatry are rooted in the fact that the doctor-patient relationship is frequently not one of service provider to customer but all too often a hegemonic one, with the doctor forcing treatments on the patient. Although no one keeps set figures on this, by cobbling together available sources it is safe to say that even today well more than half a million Americans a year are under the care (and control) of a psychiatrist by law rather than by personal choice. As [Robert] Whitaker is not the first to note (see the writings of Michel Foucault or of Reason Contributing Editor Thomas Szasz), the history of psychiatry fits more comfortably in the history of penology than of medicine."
Brian Doherty

25 years ago

May 1997

"In a moment of ideological frankness, Assistant Secretary of Education David Longanecker blurted out this allegedly nonpolitical policy's goal: bribing Generation X and its successors to back big government. 'We want to make a very strong statement,' Longanecker said following the State of the Union Address, 'that it is worth it to this country to invest in these middle-class students. We believe it will help them re-engage in civic life and make them believe that government does something for them too.'"
Virginia Postrel
"No Class"

30 years ago

May 1992

"The only way to have better schools is to get better teachers. We will never improve schooling, no matter how many reports by commissions, panels, and committees prescribe whatever changes in how the schools are structured or how reading or math is taught, until we improve teacher education. What we have today are teacher-producing factories that process material from the bottom of the heap and turn out models that perform, but not well enough. What we need is to sacrifice quantity for quality, in both the institutions that educate teachers and their graduates. The institutions should be essentially academic, and their graduates should be judged by how much they know, not just how much they care."
Rita Kramer
"School Daze"

40 years ago

May 1982

"In private operation, the subways would face strong competition from surface transport and possibly, in parts of the city, from parallel subway routes run by rival operators. Private owners would thus—and rightly—face great pressure to respond to travelers' wishes, to adapt, and to restrain costs. Compared with the MTA, they would have an enormous advantage in dealing with employees and unions because of their very financial vulnerability. They would of financial necessity run a far more consumer-oriented and economical, though not necessarily a cheaper, service."
Peter Samuel
"Unload the Subways"

45 years ago

May 1977

"Gun control is irrelevant to the real determinant of violence—which is not the availability of firearms but the inclination toward use of weapons in interpersonal relations. Contrast the phenomenally high homicide rate in Mexico, where very unsophisticated weapons predominate, to the phenomenally low homicide rate in Switzerland, where every man of military age owns a fully automatic rifle."
Don Kates
"Gun Control Doesn't Work"