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 01, 2010

Board of Education elections

As I said in yesterday's post, I do not vote in elections for the Board of Education in my county. There are three reasons.

First, I think boards of education should not be elected in the first place. These are technical positions, not political ones. They should be reserved for people who know something about education. In my native city of New York, the Board was appointed by the Mayor, though there were local boards elected by the people, clearly below the citywide board in rank. And I think that is the way they should be. (In the case of my county, where the school system is countywide, not tied to a city, this appointment would be by the County Executive.)

Secondly, if one feels that the public should have input into the way the schools are run, and so there needs to be an elected board, certainly only people with children in the school system should vote. I can't vote in elections that don't concern me because I'm geographically out of their jurisdictions, like the Governor of California or the Senate race in Florida, though I actually care who wins in those elections. (And the Senate race actually does concern me, because the winner will vote on organizing the Senate!) So why should I be eligible to vote on the membership of the Board, when I do not have now, nor ever have had, a child or children in the schools?

The third reason I do not vote in elections for the Board of Education is simply that they are non-partisan, and I have little use for non-partisan elections. While in a party primary I do not have the guidance of a party label to help me choose who gets my vote, just as in a nonpartisan election, the stakes are higher in an election with no subsequent general election. In a primary I can at least assure myself that regardless of who wins, the winner will be a Republican. I do not want to vote without at least the clue of party label to help me make my decision. (In fact, I did vote once for a Board candidate. He had, years earlier, run as a Republican for County Executive, and my vote was essentially a thank you for running in an election with little chance of winning, in the past.)

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