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.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

More on the Snyder v. Phelps case

About five months ago I posted a discussion about the case entitled Snyder v. Phelps. The case has finally been decided. And I said in that post, "No matter how the Supreme Court rules, there will be people who will bitterly protest the decision. And no matter which way the decision is, these protestors will have a valid point." I'm sure that this is going to be the case, now that Phelps won the case.

It's a very hard decision to evaluate. The church that Phelps heads is causing a lot of grief to people who are already grieving over the loss of their loved ones, and doing so by spreading nasty, homophobic remarks. One could easily wish they could be silenced. But there is also an important First Amendment issue, and eight of the nine Supreme Court Justices have decided that the First Amendment trumps Snyder's grief. I find it hard to take sides in this case, as I already said last October. And yet, the 8-1 margin seems to imply that the Court found it a relatively easy decision. Or did they? This is probably one of a very few cases which find Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito on opposite sides. Alito had been called "Scalito" by some who thought him to be a clone of Justice Antonin Scalia, but this case divided Alito from Scalia, as well.

As one who considers the First Amendment the most precious part of our whole Constitution, part of me cheers this decision. But another part of me is sympathetic with Justice Alito's dissent.

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