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Excerpts from Reason‘s vaults

Reason Staff |


(Illustration: May 1978 issue of Reason)

5 years ago

May 2018

“President Donald Trump and some Republican lawmakers in Congress insist that the president and his aides were inappropriately snooped on by politically motivated federal intelligence officials during the 2016 election. Yet when given the opportunity to scale back the FBI’s power to secretly engage in domestic surveillance of American citizens, the president and the GOP did not take advantage of it. In fact, they did the opposite.”

Scott Shackford

“Republicans Love Federal Snooping”

15 years ago

May 2008

“But if the U.S. is to ever make progress toward budgetary sanity, the federal government must stop pretending that war-related costs are somehow separate from the budget of a department whose mission is to fight and win the nation’s wars. That won’t happen until Washington stops pretending that predictable costs are an ’emergency.’ The emergency at the Pentagon is the way it is deliberately squandering hundreds of billions of dollars a year.”

Veronique de Rugy

“The Trillion-Dollar War”

20 years ago

May 2003

“On one level, this is a victory for free speech: A radio station will not be fined for merely playing a song, and [a Federal Communications Commission] that permits far more graphic raps to be broadcast has removed itself from the embarrassing position of declaring an attack on those records is too seamy to air. On another level, though, we still have the ugly spectacle—one might even call it indecent—of a small group of bureaucrats weighing the social merit of a recording, checking it against their indecency tally sheet, and ruling on whether it’s suitable for the tender ears of Portland, Oregon. After four decades of beating back censorship, it’s hard to believe that such a process has survived.”

Jesse Walker

“Indecent Rules”

25 years ago

May 1998

“Law enforcement officials claim that allowing strong encryption will prevent them from stopping terrorists, drug dealers, and pedophiles. But criminals won’t apply for export licenses—and they won’t hand their encryption keys over to a government-friendly third party. Secure encryption can help make sure that the Fourth Amendment remains as important in the online world as it was in the days of quill pens and inkwells.”

Rick Henderson

“Clipping Encryption”

30 years ago

May 1993

“Press coverage of the Waco standoff showed how ignorance and misinformation feed the fears that drive gun control. The New York Times originally reported that David Koresh and his followers were armed with machine guns, which is why the [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms] went after them in the first place. Later the Times backed off from that assertion, acknowledging that many of the guns were legal semi-automatics, although ‘at least one’ was not. A subsequent interview with a Branch Davidian who is familiar with the collection of weapons cast doubt even on that modest claim.”

Jacob Sullum

“Waco’s Wake”

35 years ago

May 1988

“Space buffs should welcome both the breaking of NASA’s space station monopoly and the probable demise of its station project. Living and working in space will never become routine as long as it depends on one-of-a-kind, exotic, budget-busting projects. What the space frontier needs is low-cost, cost-effective, industrially produced hardware. That’s the opposite of NASA’s way—and it’s what the private sector now has to offer.”

Robert Poole

“What the Space Frontier Needs Now”

40 years ago

May 1983

“Capitalism, the commercial life that it fosters, the general freedom that accompanies it, and the prosperity that results—capitalists need apologize for none of this. The moral support for their system is that within it, the pursuit of happiness by human individuals is made possible to a far greater extent than in the other systems under which the peoples of the world have lived and do live. Indeed, capitalism’s fundamental humanitarianism, as humanitarianism should be understood, must be stressed.”

Tibor Machan

“Profits With Honor”

45 years ago

May 1978

“The future of private enterprise capitalism is also the future of a free society. There is no possibility of having a politically free society unless the major part of its economic resources are operated under a capitalistic private enterprise system.”

Milton Friedman

“Which Way for Capitalism?

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