Archives: November 2023

Excerpts from Reason's vaults


5 years ago
November 2018

"Last December, Kiev-based German political scientist Andreas Umland published an article on the startlingly optimistic topic of what the West should do to help along a democratic revival and prepare for a post-Putinist Russia. Umland was talking primarily about prospects for 2024, when Putin's last constitutionally permitted term ends (he will be 72 years old). Of course, many things could happen by then: A full-scale Russian war against Ukraine, which would radically alter the political landscape, remains a troubling possibility."
Cathy Young
"Dissent and Disarray in Putin's Russia"

15 years ago
November 2008

"[Barack] Obama belongs to the same party that controls Congress, and if the last 15 years have taught anything, it is to be wary of one-party government. Unified control nearly sank Bill Clinton in 1993 and 1994, and it pretty much did sink George W. Bush in 2003–2006. Obama might carry it off better in 2009–2010, but I'd be surprised. One-party rule would force the Democrats to govern from the center of their party instead of the center of the country. The natural upshot would be a leftward lurch, followed by public disgruntlement and political backlash, followed by sad talk of a second consecutive uniter who turned out to be a divider—followed, perhaps, by the realization that unifying the government divides the country."
Jonathan Rauch
"Is There Any Hope for This Man?"

30 years ago
November 1993

"Someone who breaks into a computer containing encrypted files will find only electronic gibberish stored in the machine's memory. The simple and incontrovertible fact is that all systems to protect the security of electronic data must use encryption. If you want to be sure that no one can read your electronic mail except the person you send it to, you should encrypt it. Other new technologies, including cellular phones, cordless phones, and faxes, are also vulnerable to interception. Eavesdroppers can be thwarted by encoding the information before it is transmitted. If Prince Charles and Princess Diana had encrypted their cellular-phone conversations, they would have spared themselves much embarrassment."
Lee Dembart
"Hide and Peek"

35 years ago
November 1988

"One reason it is difficult for third-party candidates to succeed is the tendency for people to think a vote for such candidates is 'wasted.' Even though they prefer some third-party ideology, some people aren't willing to 'throw their vote away.' They know Ron Paul can't win, for example, so they vote for Bush because he's better than Dukakis (or vice versa). This is illogical, since it's based on the false premise that they can make a difference in the election; but even worse, it's sleazy. People who vote this way sacrifice their principles and honor for the billion-to-one chance of being rewarded (that is, influencing the election). Not even the most corrupt Pentagon bribe-taker would compromise his integrity on such cheap odds."
Craig Collins
"Why Vote?"

40 years ago
November 1983

"Unlike the old days (before 1963), the production of new money by the Fed no longer works to lower interest rates. After a decade and a half of wild inflation and uncertainty, traders in the financial market now react differently from the classic model. They see the creation of new money not as an increase in supply that eases interest-rate pressure but as a forerunner of a new inflationary burst. So they respond to money creation by demanding higher interest rates to protect against the expected inflation."
John McClaughry
"The Monster That Ate America"

55 years ago
November 1968

"If the system is failing, it is because it is burdened with irreconcilable contradictions of immense proportions. Welfare sets the economy in reverse, with the logical result that whatever the problem, it has grown worse under the system. Instead of putting recipients back on their feet, welfare only succeeds in permanently gluing their outstretched palms into the system, erasing incentive and drowning ambition. Meanwhile, those who have not yet forsaken the pride and pleasure of earning their own living are nevertheless discouraged by taxes and the dwindling differential between their paychecks and the amount the government grants recipients for not working."
Lanny Friedlander
"Welfare: An Altruist's Nightmare"