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, December 13, 2011

Newt Gingrich - my evaluation

Since Newt Gingrich is now leading some polls on the GOP nomination race, I think he deserves a longer discussion of what I believe is good and what I believe is bad about him.

One of the things that puzzles me is that many of the people who have problems with Mitt Romney because he changed his mind on so many things have flocked to Gingrich's cause. One thing that cannot be denied about Newt Gingrich is that his own reversals on the issues have been as big as Romney's. (Actually, although I have frequently remarked that nobody's religion should be held against him, I might be faulted for pointing out that Gingrich is a fairly recent convert to Catholicism. But it points out another inconsistency in Newt Gingrich's thoughts. In 2008, Gingrich decided that he wanted to be a Roman Catholic, being officially received into that church in 2009.) I cannot imagine anyone, after reaching his sixties, to decide that the religion he has believed in all his life was wrong and that he belonged in a different one. (Actually, this is his second change — in college he converted from Lutheranism to the Baptist church. Now frankly I find Roman Catholicism an extremely unappealing religion — anyone who can accept that one person is infallible on matters of faith, surrendering his own judgment to that of one man in Rome — or anywhere else — seems to me to be denying his own ability to think straight. But I am not holding his Catholicism against him; it is that, after attaining an age of over 65, he suddenly decided to change his religion.)

Of course, it surprises me that “family-values conservatives” would prefer a twice-divorced, three-times-married man over a man like Romney who has been married to one woman for all his adult life — over 40 years — but this is not really something that matters to me, although I don't see why it doesn't matter to people who keep proclaiming the importance of the family.

My biggest gripe with Gingrich is that — while, on some issues, like the Middle East, I agree with him — he seems to be advocating some strange, even unconstitutional, ideas on other issues, like changing the terms of federal judges so as no longer to be lifetime. (Note: while I firmly agree with Gingrich's position on the Middle East, in a discussion I had with my wife yesterday, she said her position would make her less likely to vote for him — she believes a president who is so firmly on one side of the issue cannot serve as a broker between the two sides. I concede that, but I feel that no American President or anyone else, can achieve peace in the Middle East at this time — the parties are so far apart that compromise seems impossible.)

I do need to say that, if next November I find myself in a voting booth with the names of Newt Gingrich and Barack Obama in front of me, I would have no qualms about voting for Gingrich. Obama's presidency has been so bad that I cannot imagine Gingrich being any worse. In this, Gingrich differs from such as Michele Bachmann, who could not get my vote — not that I would vote for Obama, but Bachmann on the ballot would drive me to vote for a third-party candidate in protest.

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