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, January 11, 2010

On the case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger

As this article points out, today a possibly groundbreaking "gay rights" case starts its path through the court systems: Perry v. Schwarzenegger. If it succeeds, it will lead to as fundamental a change in the legal treatment of sexual orientation as Brown v. Board of Education did to the legal treatment of race. And while I hope it succeeds, I have to worry that it might fail. Because failure might be equivalent to Plessy v. Ferguson, setting the cause back for many years.

Those who have been reading this blog know that I feel that the incremental approach, starting with gaining marriage rights, without perhaps the name, (i. e. the "civil union" approach) and then getting marriage later on after some of the resistance has been dulled by experience — the approach which has worked in Vermont — has more chance of success. I see nothing wrong with the idea of gay marriage, but why not go for the thing you really want — rights — if you can get more support for that than you can get for the word "marriage" itself?

One thing that gives me some hope is that the legal team challenging California's Proposition 8 is led by two lawyers who represent opposite ends of the political spectrum, Theodore Olson and David Boies (the two lawyers for opposite sides in Bush v. Gore.) It has always saddened me to see that the same political Right that generally acts in a "pro-freedom" direction on economic issues often takes the side of bigotry and intolerance on social issues. But here it's different.

If the pro-rights side wins here, it will make me happy. But I'm just afraid it's an awfully big "if."

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