20 Years Ago
"It is obvious that in many individual cases, 'consumerism' really is little more than a crass reflex often resulting in crippling personal debt. So why is it that, while everybody expresses the heartiest contempt for consumerist behavior, everybody in the world who can do so indulges in it, including most of its critics?"
Charles Paul Freund
"Buying Into Culture"
"Remember when cheap videocassette recorders first appeared en masse about a decade or two ago? Movie companies rushed to the courts to prevent the distribution of the machines and blank videotapes, claiming their copyrights would be infringed right and left—a concern that seemed to make a lot of sense at the time. Who, they fervently argued, would pay for a movie if they could get it for free?"
"Wild, Wild Web"
25 Years Ago
"You'd think that after 200 years of sound advice by economists, politicians would finally have figured out that free trade leads to growth, prosperity, and fortune, while protectionism leads to autarky, depression, and despair. But it seems that the Clinton administration is determined to continue the addiction to protectionism that blighted the Republican administrations of the 1980s."
Martin Morse Wooster
"Magazines: Hollow Threats"
"A lot of ingrates are whining about the fiscal policies of our new president, but not me. I've never done so well. Prior to his inaugural, I doubt if I would have been categorized as 'super-rich,' even by the widest definition. But with Mr. Clinton's new tax plan, overlaid on his campaign pledge to raise taxes only for the highest-income Americans, I easily qualify for fat-cat status. That's upward mobility in Mr. Clinton's America."
Thomas Winslow Hazlett
"For the 'C-word' throws moderns into such a tizzy that they have great difficulty thinking straight. Witness the havoc wrought when one non-doctor, nonscientist, David Reynard, appeared on Larry King Live and announced that his wife used a cellular phone, his wife contracted and died of cancer, and therefore the phone caused her cancer. How much different are we from our ancestors who blamed their ills on black cats who crossed their paths? Back then, unexplained ills were blamed on witchcraft; today the blame goes to technology."
"Fear of Phoning"
35 Years Ago
"The trend-setters in high-tech are the small, flexible, and innovative high-tech entrepreneurs. They have thrived in competition with the hidebound, bureaucratic conglomerates in the recent recessionary environment. New business start-ups have doubled in the past seven years, and the numbers of self-employeds now stand at an all-time high. Many of them fail—one-third of new businesses fail in the first year. But those that succeed generate prosperity for uncounted millions more than do the biggies such as GM and GE."
"Make Hay with High-Tech"
"One of the fine traditions of American politics is the suffering-kiddies appeal—innocent children will lose out unless we approve loan guarantees for Chrysler, increased funding for the Export-Import Bank, and subsidies for golf courses in suburban Louisville. Specious as the argument may be, one must admit its wonderful versatility. Indeed, it might be called the perfect one-size-fits-all political argument."
Robert W. Poole
"Children's TV: The Plot Thickens"
"To most people, the Reagan administration's announcement this spring that it planned to sell off the government's weather satellites came as a surprise. The story made the front pages of the New York Times and Washington Post on March 19. Both Time and Newsweek carried skeptical news accounts the week of March 21, and the redoubtable Art Buchwald weighed in with a column parody-ing the idea, suggesting that pretty soon individuals would have to pay $10 for a national forecast and $50 for tornado warnings."
45 Years Ago
"We go to press this month in the midst of turbulent developments concerning the Watergate scandal. The explosive disclosures—which are emerging on a daily basis—show a flagrant contempt for truth on the part of the highest level officials of the Nixon Administration. After months of complacency, leading Republicans—including Senator Goldwater and Vice President Agnew—have joined the rising chorus critical of Nixon's handling of the Watergate case."
"The Need for Truth"
Photo Credit: Ian Phillips