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, May 10, 2011

Religious extremism and anti-feminism

There are a number of extremely conservative religious groups that refuse to allow women to be treated as equals. In Saudi Arabia, women cannot drive a car or share a classroom with male students; male professors can address them only via closed circuit television.

I would like not to think of my own religion, Judaism, as harboring such ideas, but there are ultra-orthodox strains in Judaism that are just as bad. One group operated a bus line in New York City with women segregated to one part of the bus. Still, I never expected them to go as far as the latest thing I read of.

It seems that an ultra-orthodox paper called "Di Tzeitung" (a Yiddish-language weekly published in Brooklyn) does not publish images of women in its pages. And when a photograph of members of the executive branch of the government being briefed on the killing of Osama bin Laden was sent to the news media, "Di Tzeitung" edited out Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and another woman from the picture! Obviously, anything that might hint that a female could be in a "men's" position is taboo to this paper.

How far will religious extremists go?

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