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, March 16, 2012

The way we vote: why it's not good, and how to fix it

Over on his blog, “The Least of All Evils,” Dale Sheldon-Hess just put up a posting called “The Tyranny of the Majority Weak Preferences,” which really goes to the heart of the problems we have with our plurality voting system. Our voting system tends to favor extremists, as we are seeing now. (And some people who advocate “instant runoff voting” don't seem to realize that it favors extremists, if anything, more strongly than plurality does.)

Please read that post. And if you want to know what kind of a system might eliminate this bias toward the extremes, read William Poundstone's book, “Gaming the Vote.” It describes even more of the flaws of our plurality voting systems, and points the way to fix them.

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