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, September 13, 2010

Count one FOR Pres. Obama

As I said at the time of his election, I will write in favor of actions by Pres. Barack Obama when I think he did something right. And in the case of Log Cabin Republicans v. United States of America, I think Pres. Obama did.

Now, there are "conservative" organizations that are up in arms about it. The
Heritage Foundation
put out a posting by Hans von Spakovsky, with such comments as "One would have to go back to the 1919 World Series to find a Chicagoan throwing a game so flagrantly. The court noted that the Obama Justice Department 'called no witnesses, put on no affirmative case, and only entered into evidence the legislative history of the Act.'" In other words, Von Spakovsky would have wanted the Justice Department to put on a serious defense of a law that Pres. Obama himself thought was wrong!

Yes, the Obama Administration "threw the game." But this was a game that deserved to be thrown. Gay servicemen deserved equal rights; I was surprised to see that the case was decided on First and Fifth Amendment grounds rather than some others — but then the Fifth Amendment actually makes sense, as it has been used as a basis for applying the Fourteenth Amendment's equality provisions, aimed at the States, to Federal laws.

Note that President Obama has taken an oath to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution." Also, at least until the Supreme Court decides otherwise, each President has to decide just exactly what the Constitution says on a particular issue. Just because President Clinton and the Congress felt that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was constitutional, if President Obama felt it was not, he was in fact bound by his oath of office to decline to defend the act. And it is certainly possible that someone like President Obama may have felt that it was unconstitutional — after all, a Federal judge has just stated that she felt that it was unconstitutional!

The Heritage Foundation describes itself as "a research and educational institution—a think tank—whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense." I suppose their anti-homosexuality comes under the rubric of "traditional American values." But it seems to me that an organization whose principles include "limited government" and "individual freedom" ought not take such a stand. This is the problem I have with many self-styled "conservatives." When "free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, and a strong national defense." have to be set against "traditional American values," I go with the first group. And the Heritage Foundation, in contrast, is going with the last.

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