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, August 28, 2011

Classification can be treacherous

As I have said more than once on this blog, sometimes political classification can be treacherous. On economic matters, I tend toward the conservative end — for lower taxes and lower spending, in general, though I have my causes that I think deserve spending. On social matters, I'm probably very much a liberal. But again, if "liberal" means anti-Israel, as it's coming to be these days, I go back to the right on this issue.

I recently saw a posting on the FrumForum blog by Noah Kristula-Green referring to Jon Huntsman as "More Conservative Than You Think." It bears some quoting:

Ever since Jon Huntsman declared on Twitter that he thinks evolution and climate change are real, he has been identified as the “moderate” candidate in the GOP field, the candidate whose goal seems to be to antagonize the Republican base. Charles Krauthammer described him as “a liberal’s idea of what a Republican ought to be.”

But what if the real Jon Huntsman is actually a candidate with an incredibly conservative record? This is the argument in The American Conservative’s new piece on Huntsman by Michael Brendan Dougherty.

-In spite of his support for civil unions, Huntsman is very socially conservative. His pro-life record is very substantive. Dougherty calls him “the pro-life cause’s most accomplished executive.” In Utah, second trimester abortions are banned and third trimester abortions are a felony because of Huntsman. His gun record includes making it possible to carry concealed guns in Utah.

“In Jon Huntsman’s America, once a child survives the first trimester, he’s well on the way to having a rifle in his small hands and extra money in his pockets,” Dougherty says.

-His economic record is very conservative: $110 million in tax cuts and a flat tax rate state wide. On healthcare, the article refers to Health Exchanges in Utah that he approved, adding that, “Unlike Romney, Huntsman’s state healthcare reform achieved more insurance coverage for residents without resorting to an individual mandate.” Left unmentioned in the piece is that Huntsman is also a strong advocate for the Ryan budget and has made multiple calls for it to be signed into law.

-His foreign policy at times can hit similar to Ron Paul sounding notes without being isolationist. In addition to questioning America’s role in Libya, Huntsman also asks, “why do we have so many military bases in Japan, we’re half a century after World War II? Why so many in Germany? Does it make sense for America to remain in these places?” He wants counter-terrorism in Afghanistan, not counter-insurgency or nation-building, and he wants the US to return to focusing on its long-term growth before going abroad.

Despite this, Huntsman isn’t seen as a conservative at all. He has some of the lowest poll numbers of anyone in the GOP field — he only barely qualified for the upcoming NBC-Politico debate. Rick Perry gets more traction just by calling Ben Bernanke’s actions treasonous and by calling Washington DC a “seedy place”.

Speculating what any of this can mean for Republican presidential nominee, Jon Huntsman is very premature. But during the next debate, it will be important to listen to Huntsman’s answers and keep in the back of your mind this piece of knowledge: whatever Huntsman is, he is not as moderate as you think.

On some of these issues, I'm in agreement with Huntsman. On others, of course, like abortion and guns, I'm not. But this posting deserves some attention.

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