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.

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