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.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sen. Roland Burris and the "public option"

Sen. Roland Burris, the man who was appointed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich to fill Pres. Barack Obama's Senate seat, has said that he will not support a health plan without a "public option."

In a sense, that's good news, though the whole idea of a public option is anathema to me. The reason? Because there are a lot of Senators who won't support a bill with a public option. And so the more who won't support a bill without one, the more likely it will be that no bill will get passed this year. And, really, it would be better to have no bill at all than any of the bills being considered now.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

More on the Peace Prize

There was a column which I saw today entitled "Nobel panel mad about Bush" (click on the title of this piece to see it) which deserves reading. Its thesis is that the award given to President Barack Obama is just the latest of a series of expressions of the committee's dislike of the previous president, George W. Bush.

I didn't think of this point when I wrote yeaterday's blog post, but that is probably true to more of an extent than I might have thought. After all, the political left really despises Bush. I'm not sure why they do even more than other conservative presidents like Reagan — perhaps because he won on the electoral vote while losing the popular (though that's just the way the Constitution works); perhaps because he had the temerity to insist on playing by the rules rather than letting Gore's people insist on recount after recount until the results got changed to Gore's liking (which Al Franken was able to do because of a sympathetic Minnesota court system let him). But for whatever reason, the left hates Bush more than any political group has hated any president lately. And, as I said yesterday, the Nobel Committee has become the left wing's own property.

Rush Limbaugh and the NFL

It seemsthat Rush Limbaugh wants to buy a team in the National Football League, but the NFL's commissioner and at least some of the team's owners object.

I don't understand what the problem is. I'm not a big fan of Limbaugh— when he's right, I agree strongly, but when he's wrong, I disagree just as strongly. But why is he a bad choice for an owner? One of the owners quoted as opposing him, the Indianapolis Colts' Irsay, thumbed his nose at the fans in Baltimore a few years ago by moving his team out in the middle of the night. Limbaugh— who comes from Missouri— will probably never do that to the fans in St. Louis! Is it a crime to be politically outspoken? Teams in major sports have been owned by Ted Turner, for example. But only right-wing politically-outspoken beliefs seem to be a problem. Apparently Ted Turner's outspokenness is OK because he's of the political left.

Of course, he's been critical of the NFL itself. I suppose that this is his crime.

Well I hate football, really; it's far too violent for my taste. But I thought I had to comment on this.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Nobel Peace Prize

President Barack Obama was just awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. It's a little ridiculous; he hasn't done anything to advance the cause of peace. But RNC Chairman Michael Steele's e-mail to the mailing list has it wrong. He refers to how low a once-honorable prize has fallen. In fact, the Nobel Prize Committee has been a left-wing extremist group for quite a while.

Anyone remember Linus Pauling? He got a Nobel Peace Prize too, for doing nothing but trying to sabotage the war effort in Vietnam. I believe that Pauling's Chemistry Prize was well deserved. But the Peace Prize? Another example of the Nobel Committee's left-wing bias. (See my post on Monday, October 15, 2007 as well.)

No, the prize for Obama was certainly undeserved. But I can't really call it a big surprise.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Abortion, murder, non-kosher slaughter, cruelty to animals, ...

While writing a letter to someone last night, it occurred to me that I had the perfect rejoinder to those who use the "abortion is murder" argument to insist that all abortions be outlawed.

According to the Catholic Church (and some other religious groups as well), a person begins his life at conception. So an abortion, according to those religions, is a murder. But this position is only held by certain religions, and most importantly, not by all. So let us take another example of something which is differently considered in different religious traditions.

One of the justifications given by orthodox Jews for Kosher slaughter is its greater humane-ness. And in fact, the Orthodox Jew would insist that other slaughtering procedures constitute cruelty to animals. So, suppose that orthodox rabbis and others were to insist that all non-Kosher slaughter be banned, on grounds of preventing animal cruelty. How many would support this?

Nobody favors murder, nor does anyone favor cruelty to animals. Where we differ is what constitutes murder, or cruelty to animals. And to ban all abortions on the grounds that it is murder is to establish one religious group's definition of murder, or of a person, at the expense of others' beliefs.

And that brings in the First Amendment, which trumps the "abortion is murder" argument.