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.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The South Dakota challenge to Roe v. Wade

The South Dakota legislature is passing a new anti-abortion law to challenge Roe v. Wade. Obviously, how the Supreme Court acts will merit watching. In particular, what will Justices Roberts and Alito do? They were chosen in part because their sentiments were anti-abortion, but both also are highly competent judges who obviously know what the doctrine of stare decisis is all about.

Perhaps some technical reason will be found to deny certiorari after lower courts (that are bound by Roe v. Wade) kill the South Dakota law, but that doesn't look to be in the cards. We really need to watch this one.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Intelligent design and creationism

I've seen a lot of people who accept the pure Darwinian description of evolution refer to "intelligent design creationism." They really need to know that intelligent design and creationism are not the same thing. It is possible to accept all the scientific evidence for evolution, including to accept the vast number of years of time that evolution has had to work its way, while believing that there is some intelligence behind it all. I know it's possible because that is exactly what I believe. Creationists believe that the various forms of life were created exactly as they are now, usually saying it was all done about 6000 years ago. While all creationists believe in ID, it is hardly accurate to say that all believers in ID are creationists.

This being said, it is probably correct to keep ID out of biology classrooms. Speculation on the cause of all this variety of life, which cannot be supported by actual scientific evidence, is not science. But then, the random-variation ideas of Darwin are really speculative too; this raises an interesting question.

The Muhammad cartoons

This brouhaha over the Danish cartoons satirizing Muhammad is interesting, but nobody seems to have acquitted themselves well. The Muslims have a right to be offended, but they really need to understand the concept of freedom of speech and of the press. Of course, these concepts seem to be foreign to the Muslim world. On the other hand, the Danes who published the cartoons, though they certainly had a right to do so, are guilty of bad taste. Bad taste is not illegal, but people ought to have respect for other people's sensibilities and not do things that could be that offensive to others.

Since bad taste is not illegal, the Danish government cannot and should not punish the newspaper publishers and staff. But the newspaper people themselves never should have done it.

Welcome!

Hello!

This is the start of my new blog, "Opinions and More." I don't know how many people will discover it -- whether it will become too busy for me to handle, or so lonely that I'll be talking only to myself -- but here we go.

Why another new blog? There must be thousands of blogs around, so why another? Well, it just seems that I never see anyone express the ideas that I think make sense, so I thought I'd try.

Some people seen to feel that you have to be a liberal or a conservative; I find myself uncomfortable with both labels, though I'm with the conservatives on most of what I call the important issues. But while I think I can agree with conservatives on economic and foreign-policy issues most of the time, I can't stand the typical conservatives' attitude that they must be able to impose their opinions on religious and social issues on everyone else, and I usually find myself agreeing with the liberals on those religious and social issues anyway. But even if you divide the issues into economic on the one hand and religious and social on the other, I can't go along with either completely. So I give up on a label.

Perhaps you might call me a libertarian. Well, I'm more comfortable with that label than the others. But many people who call themselves libertarians seem to me to be anarchists, saying that even things like schools and police forces should be totally private. I can't agree. The government is necessary to provide those things that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford. Nobody ought to go without an education or protection from crime, even if they are penniless.

So, I'll begin by stating a few principles that will govern my thoughts, and 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. Here are my fundamental ideas:

  1. 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.
  2. Government, as I said earlier, is necessary prmarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  3. 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.

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!)