The letter to the editor is a literary genre unique unto itself. Unlike the editorial or the op-ed, the letter typically allows its author only a couple of short paragraphs to make a single compelling point. A good blog post might ramble from one loosely connected idea to another, but a good letter proceeds directly to its target.
Don Boudreaux is, beyond any doubt, the modern master — no, the all-time master — of this underrated branch of literature. When a radio station interviews a Galveston resident who’s just topped off her gas tank in anticipation of Hurricane Ike — and who is furious to learn that gas prices have jumped 50 cents a gallon overnight even though “Ike hadn’t hit yet” — a blogger (or an Armchair Economist) might respond with a long-winded explanation of why it’s a good thing that supply, demand, and therefore prices respond quickly to a change in expectations. Boudreaux, instead, skips right to the heart of the matter:
Your reporter should have immediatedly asked this woman: “Well, why were you topping off your tank? Ike hadn’t hit yet.”