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.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Campaign finance reform and term limits: two cures worse than the disease?

Some people (including John McCain, a man with whom I agree on a lot of things, and was willing to give the Presidency to, though this does not mean I think he's always right!) have thought it desirable to put various limits on campaign funding — on who can contribute, or how much, for example. This is, to me, an interference with freedom of speech, and I prize the First Amendment enough that I think it's not a good idea. It seems to be based on the premise that if you have enough money, you can buy an office. But when was Ross Perot our President? Or Steve Forbes? I think we can handle the influx of money without limiting it. There are better approaches.

Another proposal that has been made is term limits. I really dislike this, because it means that the most qualified people for an office, the people who have actually held it, are barred from the job. I know of no field outside politics where a person with no experience is preferred to an experienced one in seeking any job. And we have a perfect mechanism for ending the term of office of someone who is doing an unsatisfactory job: the next election.

In fact, when the 22nd Amendment was put into the Constitution, it was by Republicans who resented Franklin Delano Roosevelt's flouting of the two-term limit tradition, and it immediately came back to haunt them — the first President who was barred from running for a third term was Dwight Eisenhower, who just might have won a third term if he had been allowed to run!

I don't see any good case for either of these reforms; in fact term limits are an extremely bad idea, because I believe that experienced professionals are usually better than amateurs at almost anything, so I cn only see negatives to that idea.

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