Archives: October 2023

Excerpts from Reason's vaults


10 years ago
October 2013

"When government is lying to you about the constitutional rights it routinely violates, it's time to change your habits of mind. No more blank checks. No more 'trust, but verify.' No more hoping for the best."
Matt Welch
"Be Paranoid"

20 years ago
October 2003

"The federal government, far removed from the people and subject to interest group politics and the vagaries of international events, is supposed to be the broken institution. States, competing with each other and informed by grassroots common sense, are supposed to exemplify the genius of the American experiment. But reality is more complex. State governments are stumbling, taxing, and growing. Self-proclaimed fiscal conservatives aren't paying enough attention to big-ticket items such as Medicaid or to the long-term structural changes that could at least slow government's growth. And so they remain hostage to basic laws of voter preferences and bureaucratic behavior that push taxes and budgets ever upward."
John Hood
"Why the States Are Broke"

30 years ago
October 1993

"People who make a sacred principle of the laws against border crossing misunderstand the country in which they live. This is not Germany. America is not a culture that respects law above natural liberty. It is the country of Frederick Douglass and Benjamin Franklin, law breakers who fled slavery and apprenticeship to claim their own lives. It is a cantankerous country, uncomfortable with authority, unlikely to countenance house-to-house searches for illegal nannies or tolerate police who patrol the streets demanding residency papers from random pedestrians."
Virginia Postrel
"Border War"

35 years ago
October 1988

"When we let judges zone out ideas, when we ask our governments to license our freedoms, when we insist that any of us has the understanding to draw a distinct line between the holy and the profane, we delude ourselves. Our freedom will be short-lived, and our republic will not long endure."
Chuck Asay
"Big Brother Is No Savior"

"Part-time and flex-time jobs let employees balance home and work. 'Cafeteria' plans let them pick and choose the benefits they want. Profit sharing gives them a stake in the business. Some companies even allow two people to take turns doing one job. But some politicians don't like all this innovation. They don't want flexibility. Instead, they want the government to decide what benefits we should all have and to require employers to provide them."
Virginia Postrel
"Back to Gray Flannel Suits"

45 years ago
October 1978

"Since these early departures from the original political idea, Americans have, from right and left, been denied their right to ownership. From the right, people wanted to force others to be temperate, moderate, concerned with spirituality, and so forth; so the police power was used to make others conform. From the left, people wanted to force others to be productive for the public interest, to keep clean and healthy, to bargain fairly; so the police power was invoked to force them accordingly."
Tibor Machan
"Human Rights Hypocrisy"

50 years ago
October 1973

"What will most amuse and dismay the civilized and humane citizens of 2073 will be the seriousness with which scholars, lawyers, and commentators treated the concept of 'obscenity.' One might think that our modern, secular society would no more widely accept such a patently religious concept than it would accept the idea of witches, or the devil. Yet even the sophisticates among us appear to nod knowingly when a work is called 'obscene,' as if, like Barry Goldwater and Earl Warren, they 'can't define it but know it when they see it.' Yet is there really a general, objective concept of obscenity?"
Robert Poole
"The New Censorship"