15 years ago
"[Wikipedia founder Jimmy] Wales is optimistic about the internet too. 'There's a certain kind of dire anti-market person,' he says, 'who assumes that no matter what happens, it's all driving toward one monopoly—the ominous view that all of these companies are going to consolidate into the Matrix.' His own view is that radical decentralization will win out, to good effect: 'If everybody has a gigabit [broadband internet connection] to their home as their basic $40-a-month connection, anybody can write Wikipedia.'"
"Wikipedia and Beyond"
25 years ago
"While not exactly new, this trend has been intensifying over the past two decades or so, lurching from isolated scares about poisoned Halloween candy in the 1970s and child abduction in the 1980s to a generalized calculus that places perceived harm to children at the center of seemingly every discussion. The tendency is ubiquitous enough to be fair game for parody. On The Simpsons, for instance, one character routinely asks at any public gathering, 'What about the children?' It is not coincidental that the rise of such attitudes to cultural dominance occurred as the baby boom generation—that gargantuan cohort born between 1946 and 1964—shifted into parenting mode and started to grapple with the most unfamiliar role of authority figure. While it is unclear what effect this may have on the kids themselves—Will they respond to doomsday scenarios by shrinking from the world or by becoming what-the-fuck nihilists?—one result has been a gradual shifting of the costs of raising children onto wider and wider swatches of society, and not merely in dollars: If kids have access to TV, for instance, then all programs must be made child-safe."
"Child-Proofing the World"
30 years ago
"Anyone who has ever been a student, parent, or teacher knows that some teachers are extraordinary, some mediocre, and some abysmal. But in defense of union egalitarianism, the NEA attacks every public policy that would reward good teachers or screen out bad ones. On an individual basis, it fights just as hard for an incompetent teacher as for an exemplary one—harder if the bad teacher has seniority. Treating employees as interchangeable is not only degrading to good workers and infuriating to good managers, it is an invitation to hire permanent replacements. If the only difference is the union label, you might as well pay less."
35 years ago
"The great hopes that had been placed in Russia and China by the collectivists and socialists turned into ashes. It is very hard today for the pilgrims who seek the new future to find much sustenance in places like Russia and China—indeed, the only hope in those countries comes from China's recent moves toward the free market. The pilgrims today are driven to going to Nicaragua and Cuba. Similarly, the hopes that were placed in Fabian socialism and the welfare state in Britain or the New Deal in the United States were disappointed. One major government program after another started with the very best aims and with noble objectives and turned out not to deliver the goods."
"Where Are We on the Road to Liberty?"
40 years ago
"It's important that we not let the advent of $1.00 gasoline go unremarked. Little more than a year ago, with gas at about $1.35, pundits were griping that by removing price controls on oil, Ronald Reagan was delivering us into the hands of rapacious oil barons who would soon be ripping us off to the tune of $1.50 or $2.00 a gallon. Yet it never happened. Why not? Because the market works, that's why. The tripling of oil prices from 1978 to 1981 led millions of individuals and corporations to change their behavior. People chose small cars, even though gas guzzlers were still available. They insulated their homes, to keep heat and bills from going through the roof. Truckers put air deflectors on their rigs to reduce drag, and factories put in cogeneration plants. As a result, in just those three years, per capita energy use dropped by 20 percent."
Robert W. Poole Jr.