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.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Colin Powell and Barack Obama

Yesterday, General Colin Powell endorsed Senator Barack Obama for the Presidency. While this endorsement made me no more inclined to support Obama than beforehand, it has caused me to rethink my opinion of Gen. Powell.

I had, up to this point, thought of Gen. Powell as a fine patriotic American, who put his country first. In fact, as someone like Sen. John McCain. His endorsing someone as bad for America as Sen. Obama can only mean that Gen. Powell puts his race, not his country, first. I cannot see any other reason why Gen. Powell would back a man whose opposition to everything Gen. Powell has fought for is so patent.

On top of all, some of his reasons for rejecting McCain in favor of Obama are ludicrous — Gov. Sarah Palin may be low in qualification, but nothing that can be said about her doesn't apply to Sen. Obama just as well, and she is only running for the vice-presidency, not the presidency, so Obama's inexperience is more serious.

Up until yesterday, I might have considered a future Colin Powell candidacy for the Presidency as worthy of support; as of yesterday's endorsement, I could not consider supporting Gen. Powell for anything in the future. Anyone who can endorse Barack Obama in this way has forfeited the right to the support of anyone who is truly in favor of America's best interests.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Last night's debate

Some observations on last night's debate:

  1. Obama could not get away from attacking George W. Bush. If he had been forced to avoid the phrase "failed policies of the past eight years," he would have been totally tongue-tied.

  2. McCain didn't hit that point enough. Once he said ,"If you wanted to run against George Bush, you should have run 4 years ago." Major point, but he should have emphasized this more.

  3. Obama needs to be pushed on his associations with Ayers, and with other questionable characters, more. Obama denies that this is an issue, but it bears on the major issue: "Can we trust Barack Obama with the Presidency of the United States?"

Friday, October 10, 2008

The UCC, and why Jeremiah Wright matters

It may seem strange to open a post entitled "The UCC, and why Jeremiah Wright matters" with a reference to Yom Kippur, but the connection is as follows: On Yom Kippur (which began the night before last and extended through most of yesterday) the congregation whose service I attended held that service at a church of the United Church of Christ, Jeremiah Wright's denomination. (They have for many years used churches as venues for their High Holiday services, because they get large attendances on those days and need places much larger than their usual service locations. For the past 20 years they've met for High Holidays at a Presbyterian church a few blocks from the White House, but that church is under renovation, so they used this UCC church this time.)

While waiting for the service to begin, I spent some time looking at the church's hymnals, which were found in the pews. The UCC hymnal turns out to contain much more than what I expected in a hymnal; it had a lot of material on the forms with which the ICC services are to be conducted and it turns out that (not surprisingly, since it was formed by the combination of a number of originally separate Protestant denominations) it tolerates a lot of diversity of doctrine. Even on the doctrine of transsubstantiation, which is generally, among Christians, a major doctrinal difference, it seems that UCC pastors are given the freedom to determine whether they will allude to it in serving the bread and wine.

And this is why I think that Jeremiah Wright matters. It is true, and nobody can deny this, that Barack Obama was essentially a secular person until Rev. Wright converted him. And it is, therefore, likely that Sen. Obama's religious views were formed by Rev. Wright. Each UCC minister clearly has the power to make his congregation over in the image of his own religious ideas, and Sen. Obama was converted by Rev. Wright, attended Rev. Wright's church for over 20 years, and remained a communicant of Rev. Wright's church until it became politically embarrassing.

So Barack Obama has to be charged with Rev. Wright's religious ideas. Wright does matter.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Last night's debate

Not surprisingly, Barack Obama still seems to be running against George W. Bush, rather than John McCain — Bush is unpopular at this point, so Obama is trying to tar McCain with whatever objections people have to Bush. But McCain is his own man, and not a Bush clone; whatever Bush's faults may be, McCain cannot be treated as if he necessarily shares them. Yes, McCain is of Bush's party, but parties include many individuals. Should Obama be considered a Carter/Clinton clone, and everything they did wrong attributed to him?

One could argue that neither Carter nor Clinton was president while Obama was in the Senate, but of course, I'm sure that as a Democrat, Obama voted for both. But actually, if anything, McCain might be well advised to run against Richard M. Daley and the Strogers (father and son). After all, Obama did their bidding in the Illinois legislature.

Obama wants to run on issues like the economy and health care. But in fact the most important issue is this:
Should Barack Obama be trusted with the Presidency of the United States?
And this is an issue for which one needs to look at Obama's associations: Jeremiah Wright, Tony Rezko, Richard M. Daley, John and Todd Stroger, William Ayres, and Frank Marshall Davis. One has to look at the people Obama has shafted, like Alice Palmer. And these count more than what Obama says about the economy or health care or anything else. They bear on the issue of Obama's fitness for the Presidency.

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Biden/Palin debate

Well, to my way of thinking, Palin did very well. Everyone expected her to be a dim bulb; she showed that even though she might have been underprepared in some of the interviews between her nomination and last night, when she gets a chance to prepare herself she can hold her own. I still would have preferred someone with more experience, but I think that Sarah Palin would be a competent Vice-President.

She made two points I wanted to see made: The Obama/Biden team seems to be forever running against George W. Bush, though he's not on the ballot, rather than against McCain and her; and Biden needs to be reminded that he had said in January that Obama was not qualified — though she let him fail to respond there (more's the pity).

Certainly, I came away from the debate with one conclusion: I was right to back the McCain team, even with Palin in the #2 spot, no matter how much I might have preferred a different VP candidate.