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.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Common sense vs. ideological purity

There have been some primaries this year that have made it seem as if ideological purity has trumped common sense. That Charlie Crist and Arlen Specter had to leave the Republican Party — Crist to run as an independent, Specter becoming a Democrat but ending up rejected in their primary — speaks to the problem of ideological purists taking over both parties.

But we can score some points for common sense. All the polls in Arizona indicate a big win for John McCain in the primary there against J. D. Hayworth, despite the conservative radio talk show hosts' strong backing of ideologically pure Hayworth. This will be a good thing if the polls hold up.

In Arizona, at least, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin stayed true to the man who picked her for VP nominee, McCain. That at least was good. But in my own state of Maryland, where there will be a gubernatorial primary a month from now, she has come out for another ideologically pure conservative, Brian Murphy. Everyone must know that Maryland is a state where Democrats have an edge. But Bob Ehrlich has shown he can get the votes of people who normally vote Democratic. Based on polls, Ehrlich has a chance of winning in November. Murphy would lose to the incumbent, Martin O'Malley, in a walkover. No question that Ehrlich, who still has a lot of support based on his previous term in the governorship, is the more electable candidate. If you are conservative, even if you feel Ehrlich is insufficiently conservative, you should be able to accept him as better than O'Malley. And a vote for Murphy is perhaps not exactly a vote for O'Malley, but that is the likely consequence. I'm sorry, Gov. Palin, but common sense should trump ideological purity here.

Now of course people will say that I should keep quiet, call me a RINO or such, and that my supporting Bob Ehrlich is because I'm too liberal. Well, part of this may be true. I'd rather see an Ehrlich-type moderate than a far-right conservative. But in fact, for me it's more important to get someone else in O'Malley's place. I promise that if Murphy gets nominated, I'll vote for him in November. But I guarantee that he'll lose to O'Malley.

Which is better, O'Malley getting four more years, or a moderate beating him in the vote that counts, this November?

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