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, November 20, 2008

The first actions of President-Elect Obama

Earlier, we said that when President-Elect Barack Obama does something supportable, we will support it, and when he does something bad, we retain the right to criticize him. And it seems he's done some of both in his first days since the election.

On the positive side, he's shown some definite willingness to work with those who opposed him, having meetings with President George W. Bush about the transition and with Senator John McCain to identify points of shared interest, and (the most honorable thing he's done) emphasizing that he did not want the Senate Democrats to strip Sen. Joseph Lieberman of his committee chairmanship. Sen. Lieberman, a Democrat who lost his party's nomination in Connecticut but won as an independent, has been a loyal Democrat on most issues but worked hard against Sen. Obama's candidacy, and it is a good sign that Obama did not bear a grudge.

On the negative side, his appointment of Rahm Emanuel as chief of staff is not a good sign. Emanuel is a vicious Chicago-machine politician, who once sent a campaign opponent a dead fish, and he's also associated strongly with the corrupt Bill Clinton administration.

And it's not certain how to rate Obama's choice of Eric Holder as attorney general. Holder seems to be well-qualified, but he was part of Bill Clinton's last-minute pardoning of Marc Rich and some Puerto Rican nationalists in his role as deputy attorney general. He deserves to be questioned intensely, particularly about Marc Rich. But he may be simply someone who went along with what his boss, the President, wanted. So the jury is still out on this one.

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