The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Why a libertarian might favor gun control

I hold opinions, as I've expressed here, that are generally quite libertarian. But I believe in very strict gun control, probably stricter than most who do not share my libertarianism would have. How do I justify this?

The libertarian credo is that everything should be legal unless it harms another person. Guns have no purpose except to kill, and so I cannot see any reason that a normal person could have a use for a gun. I would restrict gun ownership to two groups of people: the police and the military. Both of these have a need to be able to kill as part of their official duty, and so they need guns.

Some people say, "When guns are illegal, only outlaws will have guns." Of course; by definition, because those with guns will be outlaws, and mere possession could be an excuse for their arrest and confiscation of the guns. So criminals could be deprived of their guns before they could use them to do anything harmful. Why would an honest person have anything to fear?

Again, some people say, "Guns don't kill people. People kill people." Certainly true -- I've never seen a gun go off and kill someone without someone touching it. But guns make it easier for people to kill people. If you have to use your own personal strength, or at least a knife, and you have to get to a position of physical contact with a victim, you'll have a harder time accomplishing this deed.

So this is my case for gun control, no matter how much of a libertarian I am.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Candidates for 2008

Some people have been touting Condoleezza Rice or Rudy Giuliani for President in 2008. Both would be great choices, but unfortunately the Republican Party is not going to nominate either. The Religious Right is not going to tolerate someone who won't jam down their ideas about abortion down people's throats (Giuliani) and too many of the Southerners who joined the party around the time that Strom Thurmond did will block an African-American woman (even if she stands for everything that I think is good about the Republican Party) from the nomination.

Too bad. I think either one would make a better candidate than the ones likely to be nominated. I'd once had a healthy respect for Bill Frist, a heart surgeon, not a lawyer, and definitely a person with some intelligence that even the Democrats (who have thought Eisenhower, Reagan, and the current president were dunces) could not denigrate -- but he lost all my respect in the Terri Schiavo episode. For him to go counter to everything that medical evidence dictates really showed that he'd become such a pure politician that he'd do something idiotic just to gain the votes of the right wing of the GOP. And McCain is trying to take up the left flank of the GOP, partnering with Teddy Kennedy on immigration reform as he did with Russ Feingold on campaign reform, even though his actual background is rather conservative. There aren't enough people on the left in the GOP to nominate him, as he should have realized from 2004. Only in states where non-Republicans could vote in GOP primaries did he do well. And this is a small part of the 50 states that will elect delegates to the convention.

Besides Frist and McCain, nobody else seems to even be considered as a GOP candidate for 2008. Perhaps it'll be someone nobody's talking about, the way Jimmy Carter did it on the Democratic side?

The immigration controversy

Why do people seem to act as if the only choices in dealing with illegal aliens are amnesty or deporting everyone? It seems as if requiring them to pay any penalties and to learn enough English and civics to become a citizen would not really be amnesty, which to me means forgetting all their crimes, and yet this is a minimal requirement in my mind. Some people remark about the US being a nation of immigrants, but there is a big difference between immigrants who arrived and obeyed our laws about entry (on the one hand) and people sneaking across the border, in violation of US law (on the other).

But this seems to be as impossible an issue to compromise on as abortion. Heaven knows why.