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.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

New York State, conservatives, and gay marriage

Politics in New York State is different from what it is elsewhere. When the "one-man, one-vote" decisions in the Supreme Court came out a few decades ago, New York State happened to have a Republican State Senate and a Democratic Assembly. Both houses have managed to control their own redistricting in the follow-ups to the subsequent decennial censuses, so even now, with the State trending more and more Democratic, the State Senate is still narrowly Republican most of the time. And New York State's electoral fusion laws mean that extremists of the left and right do not necessarily stay in the two major parties, but form smaller parties that aim to swing the major parties in their directions.

It has always puzzled me that the term "conservative" is normally used to encompass both people who (as I mostly do) favor low-tax, more laissez-faire, economic policies (more individualistically oriented) and those who favor moralistic, even bigoted social policies (exactly the opposite of individualistic orientation). But in many states, the Republican Party has linked itself with both groups of people. And "conservatives," similarly, have tried to embrace both (to me opposed) sets of ideas. Barry Goldwater, who was an extreme conservative of the first kind, but very open to gay rights, would roll in his grave to hear the bigoted positions taken by many "conservatives" who revere him.

But in New York State, an interesting development has occurred. Prominent economic conservatives, rich ones who have supported the Republican Party with monetary contributions, are coming out for a gay-marriage proposal by Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Hopefully, this (like Theodore Olson's defending gay marriage in California) may help disentangle the economic and social conservatives. They really have little in common, and I see no reason for them to share the "conservative" tag.

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