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.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Political posturing

So now the debt ceiling bill was passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the President, only a few hours before the Government was theoretically to go into default. And yet, all this drama really meant nothing.

I never believed the U. S. Government would go into default; like certain banks, it is "too big to fail." I was totally confident that a solution would be found, and found in time, and the timing confirmed my belief that it would be made at the very last moment, so that nobody could question details. The whole thing was a perfect exercise of political posturing; the most liberal and the most conservative members of each house voted against it, but always making sure that enough members voted in favor to pass it. If there were any possibility of enough negative votes to scuttle it, some fierce arm-twisting would have ensued.

Did anyone really expect anything different? This is the way politicians work. But some people will say, if professional politicians are going to do this sort of thing, the time is ripe to institute term limits and restore amateurism in politics. I do not think that's the solution. You would only replace people who are so familiar with how the system works, and how to game it, with people who are so ignorant of how laws are worded (and how lawyers can game the laws) that they'd pass sloppy laws whose meaning would be uncertain when they were passed and which the legal profession would twist to mean whatever their clients wanted them to. I think the current way is better, but our Congress has not acquitted itself very well.

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