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, September 29, 2010

Am I a Neoconservative?

There used to be only a few labels for different kinds of politics: ones like "conservative," "liberal," and "socialist." But in recent years,they've gotten split up into various subdivisions, like "paleoconservative" and "neoconservative." And I must admit I do not really understand all these subdivisions. The term "neoconservative" has often been used to describe such people as Charles Krauthammer, with whom I frequently agree, so I've often wondered whether I am one. And a day or two ago I was reading a posting on FrumForum, one of the blogs I generally like, called "Barbara Kay to Frum: Come Back to Canada," in which one of the commenters on the post used the same "neoconservative" label to refer to David Frum. In his comment, the person posting it defines what he means by a "neoconservative." Let me quote the commenter precisely:
He’s a neo-conservative, which means, in brief:

1.) foreign adventurism and an essentially unlimited defense budget in the name of “ending evil” or some such grand design;

2.) dramatic increases in government welfare spending, far beyond what even the Clinton and Carter Democratic administrations spent;

3.) an acceptance of European views on climate and energy policy, which is to say, a belief in making energy use far more expensive;

4.) outright liberal social positions on gay marriage, abortion, or any other matter of concern to social conservatives;

5.) a disdain for anything remotely resembling constitutionally limited federal government, a profound ignorance and disdain about the meaning and importance of federalism, and, for that matter, a disdain for even referencing the Constitution in public debate;

6.) a belief that allegedly intelligent “planners” in Washington DC (presumably, especially Mr. Frum) have the mental wherewithal to comprehend how 1/3 of a billion Americans should organize their economic and social arrangements.
Well, if this is what a neoconservative is, I certainly accept part of neoconservative doctrine. Points 1 and 4, especially.

What the poster calls "foreign adventurism" I would rather call protecting us before the enemy hits us at home. We need to recognize that the world does not love us, and although Moscow no longer is a major threat, there remain others who will be. We stayed out of World War II till we were attacked directly on Hawaiian soil at Pearl Harbor; would it not have been better for us to enter before we had that attack?

As to "matter[s] of concern to social conservatives," I must say that "social conservatives," in my belief, are just moralistic bigots who have no business trying to impose their standards on the rest of us. As I state in the header to this blog, I believe that "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." And it is exactly this sort of imposition which "social conservatives" advocate.

The other four points are a different story. But I'm not sure that Frum (or Krauthammer) really holds the views that the commenter charges them with; I certainly do not. So what really is a "neoconservative"? And am I one? That's the problem with labels.

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