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.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Minority rights

For a short while, between the Minnesota court decision that allowed Al Franken to take his seat in the Senate and the Massachusetts election that gave Ted Kennedy's old seat to Scott Brown, the Senate had a 3/5 majority of Democrats. And this allowed them to pass whatever they wanted if they could get unanimity among the Democrats, with the Republicans unable to carry out a filibuster. This stopped as soon as Sen. Brown was elected, and since this was just before the Obama health care bill was passed (opposition to which was, of course, the main reason Sen. Brown was elected), the House had to adopt the Senate's bill because any change would make it go back to the (now, suddenly, subject to filibuster) Senate, and then use a parliamentary trick to make some changes it wanted. And since then, the Democrats have been wailing that the minority has too much power in the Senate under its rules. They almost tried, last month when the Senate reconvened, to use another parliamentary trick to get a rules change that would make filibustering impossible. But look what happens when the Democrats are in the minority!

A few years ago, back in 2003, a few Texas State legislators left the state to make it impossible to muster a quorum, so that a redistricting bill that the Democrats opposed could not be passed. More recently, we see a situation where the Wisconsin State Senate is having a very similar fleeing of the State by Democrats; because that State's Constitution requires both major parties to have at least one member present for the Senate to do business, and the Democratic Party is in such thrall to organized labor that not a single State Senate Democrat can abide a reduction of the public employees' power of unionization. This is a lot worse than simply a filibuster. Because the Democrats, in Texas in 2003 and in Wisconsin today, will not let one bill go through, they have to totally paralyze their State's legislative process. How's that for excessive minority power?

No comments: