Reason Alert E-News

Reason Alert: Iraq, Florida and Selling Your Organs

  • Drew Carey Video: Why You Should Be Able to Sell a Kidney
  • Libertarian and Independent Voters Will Decide Election
  • Five Years of War in Iraq
  • Florida Re-Vote Is Rejected, Thank Goodness
  • Legacy Admissions Hurt Poor and Middle-Class Students
  • New at and

Drew Carey Video: Why You Should Be Able to Sell a Kidney
Today, over 74,000 people are on the United Network for Organ Sharing’s national waiting list, hoping they’ll get the new kidneys they need. In 2007, over 4,300 people on that list died waiting. With the list getting longer every day, a new Drew Carey video looks at how we can help increase the number of organ donors before it’s too late. One possible solution: allow healthy adults to voluntarily sell their organs. “There’s one thing we can’t try because it’s illegal,” Drew Carey says on the video. “Stay with me…paying people to donate their kidneys. I know – it sounds really ghoulish. It sounds really icky. But they’re your kidneys. And it really helps people in need. So if you want to sell one, why not?” Former Reason magazine editor Virginia Postrel, who donated a kidney to friend Sally Satel, says we should “repeal the federal law that makes it a crime to sell organs.”
» Full Video
» Drew Carey Video on School Choice
» Drew Carey Video on Poker Bans
» Drew Carey Video on Medical Marijuana

Libertarian and Independent Voters Will Decide Election
In the Los Angeles Times, Reason magazine Editor-in-Chief Matt Welch and Editor Nick Gillespie write that “roughly 15% of the electorate can be considered libertarian. Such folks are fiscally conservative and socially liberal. They like gays and guns, low taxes and free speech. They are pro-globalization and antiwar. They are at the center of American politics. Win them over and you’ll win every national election for the next several decades. Here are some smart — and popular — policies that will appeal not only to libertarians but to other centrist voters fed up with budget-busting compassionate conservatives and nanny-state buttinsky liberals.”
» Welch and Gillespie in Politics magazine: Libertarians the Growing Force in Elections (.pdf)

Five Years of War in Iraq
It’s been five years since the U.S. invaded Iraq. Nearly 4,000 Americans are dead and almost 30,000 have been wounded. Reason magazine’s staff examines where they stood on the war in 2003 and where we go from here. A sampling: Editor Nick Gillespie: “As a country, we’re still a long way away from even starting a conversation that will yield a post-Cold War consensus on how the U.S. should act as a military power. That’s not just a bad thing, it really dishonors those who have sacrificed life and limb over the past five years.”

Reason magazine’s Michael Young, opinion editor of the Daily Star in Beirut: “Those who back an American withdrawal on the grounds that Iraq is already in a state of chaos don’t know what they’re talking about. The Moloch of uninhibited chaos and carnage would be infinitely worse, as I remember from my own experiences growing up during Lebanon’s civil war. For numerous reasons-the fate of the Iraqis after a pullout, Iran’s continuing rise as regional superpower, the future of the Kurds, the threat to regional stability-the U.S. has no choice but to stick it out in Iraq. And as the doubts creep in, Americans might want to think back to what Iraq was under Saddam Hussein, who in two decades was directly or indirectly responsible for the death of nearly 1 million people.”

Katherine Mangu-Ward: “My first journalism gig was as the pet libertarian at The Weekly Standard, the neocon home base generally credited with nudging the Bush administration into Iraq. It’s quite exciting to inaugurate a war, and we at the Standard were far from alone in feeling the thrill. Like much of the pro-war commentariat, I thought, ‘Whatever happens, it can’t get worse.’…As a libertarian, I could have and should have known better than to think government actors would get things right, since my political philosophy is grounded in the idea that government is uniquely bad at getting anything done cheaply or efficiently. War is too often a classic example of government action creating waste and confusion on a spectacular scale, good intentions or not. As it turns out, things could get worse-and they did.”

Radley Balko: “It’s worth noting that it was the crazy, wild-eyed libertarian foreign policy experts who predicted what would happen in Iraq almost to the letter. Yet for reasons that escape me, the neoconservatives who got everything so massively wrong are still taken seriously, and get huge platforms from which to denigrate opponents of the war as ‘unserious.'”

Florida Re-Vote Is Rejected, Thank Goodness
“If Florida had a Homeric epithet (think Hector, tamer of horses) it would be ‘Florida, wrecker of elections.’ To Hades with ‘the Sunshine State.’…Florida and Michigan are battlegrounds, not for principle, but for pride and victory. Politicians will be politicians, but Florida’s voters have graciously bowed out, turning down the chance to indulge in the sacred rite of voting twice in the same contest. For that, one can almost forgive them the havoc they’ve caused.” – Reason magazine’s Katherine Mangu-Ward explains why we should all be relieved that there won’t be a re-vote in Florida.

Legacy Admissions Hurt Poor and Middle-Class Students
Many of the nation’s elite colleges are now waiving tuition for poor and middle-class families. But in a column for the San Francisco Chronicle, Reason’s Shikha Dalmia says this won’t make Stanford, Harvard or Yale more diverse. Dalmia says “thanks to special preferences for children of alumni, elite universities systematically favor rich, white kids over more talented, working-class kids, especially from first-generation immigrant families…Admissions are a zero-sum game in which students vie for a finite number of seats. So every seat that a less-talented legacy gets is one less spot at Stanford available to a talented poor kid. The crucial determinant of economic diversity on campus is not how much largesse legacies expend on poor kids – but how many seats they take away from them.”