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, June 26, 2009

Mark Sanford, John Ensign, and Bill Clinton

The recent announcements by Sen. John Ensign and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford are causing many comments, and are considered to be serious scandals, which probably will end both politicians' careers or seriously impair them. Certainly it will mean that neither has much chance to be nominated as the Presidential candidate of the Republican Party in 2012.

Of course, Bill Clinton still retains a lot of popularity. The obvious reason is that ex-Pres. Clinton is a liberal Democrat, and most of his support comes from people who have not been sexually moralistic towards others. By contrast, both Ensign and Sanford draw their support (or much of it) from so-called "social conservatives," who do tend to be overly moralistic about others' sexual conduct. So in a sense the chickens are coming home to roost.

But let us be frank here. Though Clinton's sins have not harmed him the way that Ensign's and Sanford's almost certainly will, it is Clinton who committed the worse acts. Clinton committed perjury (even if he was neither indicted nor successfully impeached for his conduct). He lied to a grand jury, and whether it was about sexual transgressions he wished to keep private or anything else, I maintain that this, not the original sexual escapade, is what the real case against Clinton was. What Ensign and Sanford did may have been a violation of marriage vows, but many other Presidents (certainly FDR, Eisenhower, and JFK) are known to have done this, as well as many lower level politicians. It did not end their careers, nor should it have. Unfortunately, it will hurt Ensign and Sanford because their supporters tend to be moralizers, while Clinton gets away with something much worse.

What would my cure be? Simply this: Let us concentrate on real misfeasance, not on sexual misadventures.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ronald Reagan, as quoted by Newt Gingrich

Truer words were never spoken:
...Mr. Gingrich, as he did several times during the hourlong interview, quoted former President Reagan.
"As Reagan would have told them, 'You can be a majority, in which case you're going to have arguments set inside the room, or you can stay a minority. But what you can't do is have a majority that's only people you understand and agree with.' "
This is the only route the GOP can follow.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Iran's election

The protests in Iran make it clear. The election was rigged; most Iranians do not believe that two thirds of their number supported Ahmedinejad. Now the only question is, will the riots in the streets bring down the current government, as they brought down the Shah way back when?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The DC court and gay marriage

A court in the District of Columbia has decided that a referendum on a bill that the DC Council had passed recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions could not be held, as requested by petition. The court held that the city's Human Rights Law prevented the referendum. And the petitioners are crying "Save Marriage between a Man and a Woman!"

What puzzles me is the question: How does allowing same-sex couples to marry endanger marriage between men and women? I have never understood what the people opposed to same-sex marriage mean by this claim. And I wish someone would enlighten me.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

More on Sotomayor

It is interesting that when Sonia Sotomayor was a prosecutor, she took on a child-pornography case that others in her office would not. Obviously, on First Amendment issues, she is far short of what I consider ideal.

The more I find out about this nominee, the more I dislike her. But that's the cost of electing Barack Obama. He gets to pick the judicial nominations for the next four years.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A choice, or innate?

There seems to be a debate going on as to whether homosexuality is a choice, or is innate. Obviously, the decision depends, in fact, on what one means by "homosexuality."

It is certain that people are born with various characteristics: some people are lactose-intolerant, others go bald at a young age, etc., etc. And being physically responsive to the opposite sex is almost certainly in a similar category.

On the other hand, how one responds to these impulses is a choice. Just as a heterosexual need not give in to those impulses, (think of Catholic priests, for example) so the same applies to homosexuals.

The question of whether they should is another thing.

If you believe, as some do, that homosexual behavior is a sin, then you are obligated to try to avoid it. On the other hand, not everyone believes this; and those who do have no business imposing their religious beliefs on others. You should live according to your own beliefs. But in this country we have freedom of religion, and others must be afforded the right to live according to theirs, as long as it harms nobody else.

Let us compare the attraction to same or opposite sex to, for example, tastes in food. Some are born with a tendency toward lactose intolerance. Others just don't like the taste of milk (myself, for example). Should either be forced to drink the stuff? If you agree with me that neither should be, why does it matter which homosexuality is?

There does appear to be a worry among some heterosexuals that homosexuals will try to engage them in sex against their will. But is every heterosexual a rapist? Obviously not. So why should the same be expected of gay people?

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Too liberal, or too conservative?

Sometimes I run across people who are liberal where I think the conservative position is right, and conservative where the liberal position is right. Last year this was exemplified by Mike Huckabee. This year it looks like Judge Sonia Sotomayor, the new Obama nominee for Supreme Court Justice.

It seems that liberals love her, but I've seen at least one decision she made as a judge that could have come from Rush Limbaugh: Take a look at Mehdi v. United States Postal Service.

Two Muslims challenged the constitutionality of having Christmas trees at post offices, but no Muslim symbols. The trial court judge was Sotomayor, and she dismissed the complaint. Exactly what I would have expected of Limbaugh and his "Christian America" types. Do we really want this sort of judicial decision?