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.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Barry Goldwater, racism, and the Republican Party

About fifty years ago, a Republican senator, Barry M. Goldwater of Arizona, voted against a civil rights bill. I don't agree with Goldwater's position, and (as most Republicans at the time) I supported the bill, but it is a mistake to say that Goldwater was a racist because he opposed the bill. In fact, Goldwater believed, as many libertarians do even today, that it was Government interference in something that should be left alone. (Last year, then-candidate, now Senator, Rand Paul got into political trouble for expressing similar opinions.) But it led to a number of unfortunate results: first, Southern conservative white people, who had been Democrats, flocked to the Republican Party, which in itself was not bad because it made the party bigger and viable in an area where it had not been, but also moved the party rightward (and meant that the party became associated with some real racists like Strom Thurmond), and second, the exodus of African-Americans from the Republicans, which began in the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt because many of the African-American citizens were poor and perceived FDR's policies as helpful to them, accelerated and became almost total — with the African-American vote for President being in some years around 90%. Only a few African-Americans remained in the GOP — the party can boast of such names as Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, and more recently we have seen Herman Cain. Recently we have even seen people claiming that the Republican Party (or its economically conservative, "Tea Party" wing) are institutionally racist, and three years ago people were insisting that anyone who opposed Barack Obama's bid for the presidency were "racist." (My wife, a nominal Democrat who was supporting McCain, but who before she met me had even had African-American boyfriends, heard such criticism!) It isn't racism to oppose a President, who just happens to be African American, because his policies seem to be wrecking this country's economy. It isn't racism to oppose a President, who just happens to be African American, because he does things like forcing through a healthcare bill that most Americans oppose. It isn't racism to oppose a President, who just happens to be African American, because he does things that scare our only sure ally in the Middle East, Israel.

One might think that a party who has elected officeholders like Allen West (and decades ago elected the first African-American Senator since Reconstruction, Edward Brooke), that chose a President who appointed the first two African-American Secretaries of State, and which now has a candidate for nomination for the President, Herman Cain, who is considered a serious contender, could be considered immune from accusations of racism. But the world doesn't seem to work this way.

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