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, February 18, 2011

On political classification

I have, in the past, favorably commented on Dennis Sanders' excellent blog, "Big Tent Revue." His opinions are frequently close to mine, and even when they differ, they tend to be reasonable. But another thing I like about his blog is that, through it, I often find out about other bloggers with good ideas. One example is Sanders' post, "Wheel of Politics, Turn, Turn, Turn." This is primarily a pointer to another blogger's posting, "The wheel of politics," which is an interesting effort to take another stab at political classification. This blogger is unhappy with the diagram used on The Political Compass and similar sites, about which I have remarked before, and proposes his own system. Unfortunately, there are a couple of things I don't like about it.

For one thing, his terminology is awful. He uses the term "corrupt" in an idiosyncratic manner, which tends to charge with corruption all those people in both parties who are interested in finding common ground. Yet while the "progressives" and "conservatives" are divided into "idealistic" and "corrupt," a similar division of the "libertarians" uses the terms "dogmatic" and "pragmatic." To me, the "idealistic"/"corrupt" and "dogmatic"/"pragmatic" distinctions are about the same, except that you use a nice-sounding word for the first one in one case and for the second one in the other. A little bit of prejudice, perhaps?

Another problem is his choice of issues. He seems to think that legalizing mind-altering drugs is a major issue that should be, but hasn't been, taken up by our politicians. I wouldn't agree. And anyway, he doesn't really give a good set of criteria to put us into his six categories. I'm not certain, for example, where I belong.

But it is nice to see another attempt at classification. I'd like to see more. (And if anyone knows of more sites with classifications like these, please let me know!)

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