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Archives: June 2023

10 years ago
June 2013

“Just as Americans do not know when the government uses secret subpoenas to look at their telephone, internet, and financial records, they do not know when the government secretly listens to their conversations or reads their email exchanges with people in other countries. Thanks to legislation that [Barack] Obama supported as a senator, the government can conduct such surveillance without a specific warrant as long as its official target is located outside the United States and the collection of foreign intelligence is ‘a significant purpose’ of the snooping.”
Jacob Sullum
“Obama’s Cloak of Invisibility”

15 years ago
June 2008

“It’s difficult for 21st century Americans to imagine things any other way. The United States appears stuck with an imperial presidency, an office that concentrates enormous power in the hands of whichever professional politician manages to claw his way to the top. Americans appear deeply ambivalent about the results, alternately cursing the king and pining for Camelot. But executive power will continue to grow, and threats to civil liberties increase, until citizens reconsider the incentives we have given to a post that started out so humble.”
Gene Healy
“The Cult of the Presidency”

25 years ago
June 1998

“The advantage the state takes from blaming social forces for individual mistakes or crimes goes beyond the sort of colorful violence that makes the newspapers. All sorts of social problems for which politicians scramble to find solutions, from single-parent households to drug abuse to long-term welfare dependence, result from the cumulative effects of bad decisions made by individuals—decisions that are never made by everyone in the same social milieu. Avoiding pregnancy, educating oneself, and becoming self-sufficient are within the power of most individuals, no matter the social forces surrounding them. Anger at the world shifts attention from where real change is both needed and possible—in the choices individuals make—and leads instead to further airy plans for state action—even though many of the ‘negative social forces’ in America, from terrible public schools to drug-war-torn streets, are of the state’s own making.”
Brian Doherty
“Blame Society First”

30 years ago
June 1993

“Most discussions of re-regulating the airlines start by hiding the realities of what air travel used to be like. Regulation set a floor on prices—not a ceiling, as you might think listening to regulation advocates today. The airlines competed, but not on price. They offered frequent flights on new planes with sexy stewardesses. Big city businessmen with expense accounts flew around on mostly empty jets, and their employers paid plenty for that privilege. There were no squirming children because families couldn’t afford the fares.”
Virginia Postrel
“Friendly Skies”

40 years ago
June 1983

“Weather forecasting, clearly, is not something that only government can do. Even the part of it that may look like a natural monopoly—data collection—can be carried out by private enterprise. As a valuable resource, weather data ought to be bought and sold; that’s the only way we can be sure that enough of it—and the right kind—will actually be produced and that the necessary resources will be invested.”
Patrick Cox
“Fair Weather”

45 years ago
June 1978

“If taxes are to be used as a weapon against government, a tax revolt or rebellion is the only method with any chance of success. As long as the war between government and taxpayer remains secret and individual, no politician or bureaucrat will feel threatened. The only policy change will be to intensify and strengthen the efforts of the tax collector.”
Mark Tier
“Taxes Are Revolting: Why Aren’t You?”

50 years ago
June 1973

“The intellectual prejudice which many have against the free enterprise system has led to a disposition to believe in a virtual omniscience of government officials and a preference to seek governmental solutions to pressing social and economic problems. This prevalent syndrome should be shaken by recent events. Let us hope that the ugly Watergate scandal and the disclosures accompanying the Pentagon Papers trial may cause the American public to shed its gullibility, its blind faith in government and the electoral process. The need now is for the nation to see the truth about the fallibility of those that work within the government, and to perceive the limitations of the institution of government.”
Manuel Klausner
“The Need for Truth”