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Reason

Reason November 2017

Reason is the monthly print magazine of "free minds and free markets." It covers politics, culture, and ideas through a provocative mix of news, analysis, commentary, and reviews. Reason provides a refreshing alternative to right-wing and left-wing opinion magazines by making a principled case for liberty and individual choice in all areas of human activity.

País:
United States
Idioma:
English
Editor:
Reason Magazine
Periodicitat:
Monthly
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11 Números

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6 min.
it’s time to privatize the v.a.

THERE’S A BUILDING in Washington, D.C., that’s mostly empty space. The Pension Building, as it was known when it was commissioned by Congress in 1881, fills an entire city block. Like an M.C. Escher fever dream, columns of every size rise in stacked colonnades around a stupendously massive atrium. By the time the last of the 15 million red bricks had been stacked six years later, there were enough offices ringing the edges of the building to house 1,500 clerks serving 324,968 pensioners, mostly Civil War veterans. The building was grand by design, a memorial to the fallen as well as a place of honor for surviving Union soldiers, their widows, and their orphans. Service pensions were a big deal in Washington in the 1880s; they made up almost one-third of…

3 min.
it’s ok to edit your kids’ genes

THIS SUMMER, AMERICAN scientists reported successfully editing out a harmful gene from the genomes of human embryos. Researchers led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov— a reproductive biology specialist at the Oregon Health and Science University—used CRISPR gene editing to achieve this result. The process enables biologists to precisely cut out and replace bits of the DNA that make up the genes of microbes, plants, and animals. In this case, the researchers mended a deleterious gene variant that causes enlarged hearts and often results in sudden death early in life. Unlike earlier research in China, the Oregon team reported getting the repaired genes into every cell in 42 out of the 58 embryos they edited. In most of the cases, the process did not create new off-target mutations. Since Congress has banned the National Institutes…

3 min.
charlottesville and the perils of collectivism

PETER CVJETANOVIC STANDS in a sea of tiki torches, his mouth wide open, teeth partially bared. You can almost hear the snarling scream from the photograph. Among the hundreds of white nationalists and Confederate sympathizers who gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia, on the night of August 11, Cvjetanovic stood out. His angry visage, captured by a photographer covering the rally, became one of the most memorable images to emerge from a surreal, chaotic, tragic weekend. Days later, after the photo went viral, Cvjetanovic told a local TV reporter in his hometown of Reno, Nevada, that “I’m not the angry racist they see in that photo.” It sounds ridiculous. If he’s not an angry racist, why was he marching with neo-Confederates and neo-Nazis—apparently without pondering how many people with similarly consonant-heavy names were butchered by…

2 min.
can you go to jail for handing out pamphlets?

A PAMPHLET FROM the Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) argues that jurors have a right and a responsibility to judge the law as well as the facts, which might lead them to acquit a technically guilty defendant in the interest of justice. Although that position is controversial, especially among judges and prosecutors, the pamphlet is indisputably a form of speech protected by the First Amendment—unless you try to distribute it in front of a courthouse. Or so say prosecutors in Mecosta County, Michigan. Last summer they persuaded a jury to convict local activist Keith Wood, who was arrested in 2015 for handing out FIJA flyers near the county courthouse, of a misdemeanor. District Judge Kimberly Booher sentenced him to eight weekends in jail, $545 in fines, 120 hours of community service,…

2 min.
when prisons become nursing homes

WHEN AMERICANS THINK of federal prisons, they probably don’t picture nursing homes. But maybe they should. Thanks to the long mandatory sentences that come with many drug offenses, elderly inmates have emerged as the fastest-growing sector of the federal prison population. As of June 2017, there were nearly 35,000 federal inmates over the age of 51; 10,000 were over the age of 60. Many of these prisoners suffer the same illnesses afflicting the elderly population in free America, from heart disease to Type 2 diabetes to cancer. The difference is that elderly prisoners receive care while shackled to a bed. Many aging and sick federal prisoners die under horrid conditions—but they needn’t. In 1984, Congress empowered the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to petition for the early release of…

5 min.
government created the housing crisis. government can solve it.

FOR AN EXAMPLE of how the good intentions of big government can produce extremely bad results, one needn’t look further than the rental housing market in New York City. We have government-sponsored financing for low-cost housing. We have special housing bonds. We have publicprivate construction projects. We have government agencies to help the private sector and nonprofits produce lower-cost housing. We have inclusionary mandates. Yet rental housing in New York remains more expensive than practically anywhere else in the country and suffers from a perennial “crisis” of affordability. Earlier this year, New York revived a variation on its previously expired 421a tax abatement, first enacted in the 1970s to encourage new rental housing construction. Today’s version offers developers a tax break with a present value equal to one-half to two-thirds of the…