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, July 05, 2011

Gregory Kane and the Kennedys

I have on several occasions referred to columns I have read in the Washington Examiner, a local edition around here of a national paper. They are a rather conservative paper, and most of their columnists are well to my right, so I sometimes find myself in agreement, and sometimes in disagreement, with the columns in the Examiner. But today I saw a column where my disagreement stemmed, not from the Examiner columnist's being too far right, but from his praise of a liberal Democrat for whom I have little but scorn.

I suppose it is a conscious decision by the Examiner, but I don't know for sure: it features a number of African-American, but well to the right of center, columnists, perhaps to show that you don't need to be liberal if you are an African-American. And one of those African-American conservative columnists, Gregory Kane, has been the author of columns I have criticized in the past as far more conservative than I consider sensible. But today's column by Gregory Kane errs in the opposite direction, as I said above. Today's Gregory Kane column was entitled, "Six heroes to visit on the Fourth." Apparently there are six people whom he considers heroes to such degree that he visits their graves, and theirs only, each Memorial Day and Independence Day. And while nobody would challenge his selection of Medgar Evers as his #1, highest ranking hero, I certainly have some qualms about some of the others.

I'm not quite sure what qualifies boxer Joe Louis as his #5 choice, or actor Lee Marvin as his #6. His other actor selection — #2 Audie Murphy — makes sense, as Murphy was, in Kane's words, "America's most decorated soldier in World War II."

But it's his third and fourth choices that give me a pain. #3 was Robert F. Kennedy, and #4 his brother John. He puts Robert above John because "it was Robert Kennedy who got on board with civil rights long before his older brother did." But he concedes that

In the early 1960s, neither Robert Kennedy nor his brother, President John F. Kennedy, was very adept at handling the nation's civil rights problems.

They completely botched the crisis at Ole Miss when rioters protested James Meredith's admission to the law school. They even acquiesced to the resegregation of an integrated military police unit in an attempt to appease racists.

So why do they deserve such heroic ratings from Kane? Of course, I have particularly bad feelings about Robert; John was a mediocre President who failed to accomplish much on his own, but got much of his program enacted into law through the skills of President Lyndon Johnson. But Robert was positively bad. First of all, it was the Robert Kennedy Attorney General's Office that sponsored more illegal wiretaps than any other administration in history, and people who criticized President Richard Nixon for illegal wiretaps usually fail to have the same animus toward RFK — because they're liberals? because RFK was the victim of an assassin's bullet, like his brother 4½ years earlier?

My biggest gripe about RFK was his coming into New York State to take a Senate seat from the man I feel represented me best of all the Senators and Representatives who have represented me in my life — Kenneth Keating. RFK had no connection with New York State (except for having spent a short time in school there) and yet, because the Constitution does not specify a minimum length of time as a resident of a State, RFK was allowed to move to Long Island in New York State a few months before the election. (This provided a precedent, decades later, for Hillary Clinton, but she actually did a reasonable job of representing New York State in the Senate!)

The reference to RFK's (and JFK's) graves at Arlington Cemetery reminds me of something that happened quite a few years ago. Two or three friends of mine from New York came down here, and wanted to go to Arlington to see the two Kennedy graves. I stayed away from those two graves, because I felt that one should show a certain amount of respect for a grave, which, in the case of the two Kennedys, I could not honestly do. So I stayed some distance away, out of sight of the graves, but one of my friends, on the way back to join me, spotted another headstone, which he called my attention to, and which did merit my respect — the name on the stone was Kenneth Barnard Keating! Oddly, Keating's and RFK's graves are not far apart.

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