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Books | More proof that things are not always as bad as they seem

Issue: "Beijing Marches On," March 15, 1997

If you listened to the scaremongers who now dominate the environmental movement--as well as the thinking of the Vice President of the United States--you'd believe that the world is about to end. Global warming, acid rain, air pollution, asbestos ... everywhere one turns, another purported crisis looms.

However, in a devastating critique of today's doomsayers, economist Julian Simon shows that the planet's environmental future is growing brighter, not darker. We are, he explains in The Ultimate Resource 2, "at a moment when the world is creating new resources and cleaning up the environment at an ever-increasing rate. Our capacity to provide the good things of life for an ever-larger population is increasing as never before." He backs up these judgments in 730 pages packed with information on every environmental issue imaginable. This is a particularly important book for people whose children are being indoctrinated through environmental miseducation in the public schools.

Nowhere has technology had a greater impact on our lives than on the communications industry. Government has traditionally denied full First Amendment protection to radio and television on the dubious grounds of resource scarcity, but attorney Richard Klingler demonstrates how the changing market has eliminated this justification for federal intrusions in the electronic media. As he argues in The New Information Industry, ongoing technological "developments permit a dramatic expansion of First Amendment protections and an opportunity to reaffirm the essential elements of the First Amendment tradition." Although WORLD readers may, understandably, be wary of the effects of an untrammeled media, the risks of government control may be even greater.

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One fascinating book just hitting the shelves is Radical Son, the autobiography of David Horowitz, the president of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture. Horowitz is the son of communists. He imbibed his parents' values, attended communist summer camps, and joined the New Left during the 1960s. Horowitz describes this bizarre life in full in his book.

Eventually Horowitz broke with the left, casting his ballot for Ronald Reagan. Contributing to his political conversion were his children: "I was compelled to acknowledge the potency of the human soul." His ideological apostasy has naturally turned most of his old friends against him. But he retains the satisfaction of knowing that he did what his conscience required. As he admits: "The Marxist Idea, to which I had devoted my entire intellectual life and work, was false."

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