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, December 13, 2010

Judging people on one issue?

Dennis Sanders is a blogger who usually posts things with whom I agree. But about a week ago he posted a piece in which he accused John McCain of becoming Jesse Helms. And I have to say I think this is unfair. The thing is that Dennis Sanders is gay, makes no secret about this, and, I think, has made the mistake of judging McCain on his stand on the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal. But McCain is a military man. He was a high-ranking Naval officer, and bears the name of his father and grandfather, both of whom were even higher-ranking Naval officers, and I think he views this issue from the vantage point of Naval tradition. Perhaps, considering that McCain's predecessor as an Arizona Senator, Barry Goldwater, took a more enlightened view of gay rights, McCain's position is unfortunate, but I think that it is understandable, though it would be a good thing if he could change it. But to make McCain into another Helms is totally unfair.

There is probably nobody among the 535 individuals who serve in the United States Congress with whom I agree on every issue (or, for that matter, with whom I disagree on every issue!) but there are issues that matter more to me than DADT. It's like the group of GOP senators (Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Scott Brown, and Lisa Murkowski) who want DADT repealed, but have had problems with the specific bill Harry Reid is pushing through the Senate. They want the right to get amendments considered, and Reid is barring the way. They should not be considered "anti-gay." McCain may be hostile to gay rights, but there is enough he is right on that I'm not going to condemn him in total just because I don't like what he is doing here.


Dennis Sanders said...

You might be right that McCain is not Jesse Helms. But you should understand that to a lot of folks that once admired McCain, his move on DADT feels like betrayal. He said in 2006 that it should be repealed and then said earlier this year that we needed to wait for the report to come out. When it did, he moved the goalposts again.

Yes, he a military man, but he should at least explain why he changed his mind between 2006 and 2010. He also should be aware that a lot of folks, including a lot of gays who once admired him deserve an explaination more than "he's former military."

Maybe saying he's Jesse Helms was hyperbole (if you clicked the link, you will know I wasn't the only one) but you need to realize that for some of us, this feels like betrayal.

Opinionator said...

As I said in my post, I certainly don't agree with what he is doing on DADT. OTOH, that one thing is not enough to turn me completely off McCain. He has a positive enough total history, and that was my main point.