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.

Friday, March 21, 2008

"Please order in English"

A cheesesteak restaurant in Philadelphia put up a sign, "This is America. Please order in English." As a result, he was charged with discrimination. But fortunately, he was recently vindicated. Yes, this is America, and Joey Vento, the owner, was ruled within his rights by the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations.

Why was he even charged with discrimination, though? Millions of immigrants came to this country and learned the majority language. My father came to this country about 80 years ago as a child, and the local druggist made him learn English by not letting him order an ice cream in his native Yiddish after a while. The druggist understood Yiddish and had taken his orders for a while in that language, but he knew that this 11-year-old kid that eventually became my father would need to learn English to function in America. And my father, by the age of 15, had graduated from the 8th grade, though four years previously he had come to this country devoid of the English language. And by the time I was around, years later, my father spoke English without a significant foreign accent.

Joey Vento was right to do what he did. And thank Heaven that the final decision came the way it did, even if it was years in the making.

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