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, March 09, 2009

Obama and stem cell research

I promised after Barack Obama's election that when he did something right I'd acknowledge it, and even though, in this case, it's a reversal of something George W. Bush did, I have to say I support his action. As much as I generally approve of the Bush presidency, it remains a fact that on issues of interest to the religious right, Bush absorbed their policies. (I don't say he "gave in to them" because I think he genuinely believed they were right.)

So, on this issue, I have to side with Obama. On anything that separates the pursuit of scientific knowledge from the dogmatism of the religious right, I must go with science. And removing the Bush restrictions on stem cell research was the right thing to do.

Friday, March 06, 2009

O'Malley and other death penalty opponents

Recently, Maryland's governor, Martin O'Malley, tried unsuccessfully to get the legislators in Maryland's General Assembly (what they call the state legislature in this state) to abolish the death penalty. Fortunately he did not get his way; the legislators made it more difficult to levy (with an eye toward preventing executions on insufficient proof of guilt) but defeated total abolition of the death penalty. (See this article.)

Frankly, I cannot understand death penalty opponents. Allowing murderers to live says to the world that the life of the murderer is more valuable than the lives of murder victims. The murderer did nothing to spare the victims' lives; why should he be considered worthy of living, when he gave no such considerations to their lives?

Martin O'Malley is a Roman Catholic, of course, and he echoes his church's position on the death penalty. But just as I oppose having the Government follow the teachings of the Catholic Church (or any other religious group) on such topics as abortion, I must take O'Malley to task for trying to install Catholic Church opinion on the death penalty as State law.

And death penalty opponents who base their opposition on moral grounds, rather than on the teachings of one or another religious denomination, simply cannot explain in any way that will convince me why they consider, as I said earlier in this post, the murderer's life more valuable than the lives of his victims.