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.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The evolution of Memorial Day

When I was growing up, Memorial Day was quite different from the way it is now. First of all, some people called it “Decoration Day,” though both names were common. (See the note on the name on Wikipedia.) And it was before they moved all the holidays to Mondays in 1968, so it was on May 30 every year, regardless of what day of the week it was.

But the biggest change involves what the holiday was all about. At that time, it was still considered to honor the dead of the Civil War, even though at that time three wars had been fought since, and a fourth, in Korea, was going on (although, by the time I was 11, it had ended). It was so much associated with the Civil War that several Southern states did not celebrate it, but had their own “Confederate Memorial Day” holidays (which were not on the same days in all states). (There is a site, at, that claims that Memorial Day was converted into a general day for honoring all the war dead of the nation after World War I. My memory says different. Since it only became an official Federal holiday in 1971, I suppose what it meant varied among different people, though.)

Anyway, it certainly has evolved during my lifetime, though it actually goes back to the 1860s.

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