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.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Pledge of Allegiance controversy

One of the most internal-conflict-generating issues to me is the controversy on the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. On the one hand, I have no problem saying the Pledge with those words. They do not conflict in any way with my own religious beliefs. On the other hand, it certainly seems that the atheists' fight to avoid saying the words is the same as my fight in the 7th grade to avoid singing Christmas carols, with their explicitly Christian words, and thus my instinct is to support them.

But the atheists' position in many of their legal fights has been grossly intolerant of those who, like myself, firmly do believe in a God, including some ideas that might actually be loosely subsumed under the heading "intelligent design." So I find it uncomfortable to be allied with them. And when we look at the most recent Pledge fight, in which an atheist father sued on behalf of a daughter who did not share his beliefs, it seems to me that the atheists on their part are equally coercive as their religious counterparts, and I cannot accept that.

Is there some way to civilly and rationally discuss this issue? Even more importantly, is there some way of settling this issue that will respect the rights of all people involved?


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