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, January 31, 2009

Michael Steele - the new Republican National Chairman

Michael Steele was just chosen to be the new Republican National Chairman. And I think it was a good choice.

Two years and some months ago, I voted for Steele to be the United States Senator for Maryland. And he was not elected, which was a disappointment, but not a great surprise, in a rather "blue" state. But I think he was qualified for the Senate then, and he is even more qualified for the RNC position now, since, among his past experiences, he has served as the state chairman of the GOP in Maryland.

In a country where 95% of African-Americans voted for Barack Obama, the Republican Party (which was the party that freed the slaves!) is often alleged to be hostile to anyone that is not a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant Christian. This is a fallacy; the GOP believes in equality, and has only been hostile to the idea of reserving certain government positions for specific ethnic/gender people. When African-Americans (or any other people) are good enough for a post, Republicans will endorse such people. They have shown that with such examples as former Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, and now once more with former Lieutenant Governor (and candidate for the Senate) Michael Steele. It is not true that the GOP is racist; only that it will not deliberately choose unqualified minority candidates without a reason. Michael Steele is clearly, like Condoleezza Rice, a well-qualified person, whose election will help the RNC.

Choosing someone just for his/her racial/ethnic/gender background is bad. But while I'm sure that Steele got some votes because the GOP was burned by Obama's victory and wanted to appeal to African-Americans, the difference between the parties was shown by the fact that he was chosen because he was qualified. It's not like Bill Clinton's choice of Janet Reno for Attorney General, where he was so eager to choose a woman that nothing else mattered, and as soon as one woman had problems he made sure to nominate another woman.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The new presidential cycle

Today, as happens every fourth January 20, we inaugurated a new President: Barack Obama. Those who follow this blog know that he was not our choice; if we had our way, it would have been John McCain taking the oath of office today. But the people of the United States decided differently, and ours is a constitutionally-governed nation, so for the next four years, Barack Obama will hold the office of President of the United States.

Under our constitution, a newly elected President is given four years to make his mark, and cannot be removed earlier by a vote of no confidence in the way prime ministers are in parliamentary systems. The only way to remove a President is to impeach, and no President has ever been removed that way. (Only one has even been obliged to resign due to the serious threat of an impeachment; sadly, this was someone who had actually been one of our best Presidents). So for better or for worse, the next four years will see our policy decisions made by Barack Obama.

One characteristic of our system, though, is that while the losing side does not have a lot of power, it does have the right to criticize the President. And this we promise. In the next four years, as stated just after the election over 2 months ago, we retain the right to be critical of President Obama's actions, but when he does something good, we will certainly give him the credit.

So far, Obama's done nothing much but make appointments, and he has been pretty good up to now. We will have to follow very closely what he chooses to do in that rĂ´le— we await his actions.