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, May 11, 2012

Obama and gay marriage

President Barack Obama has now officially endorsed gay marriage. And I think this puts him on the right side of this issue, so I can hardly be opposed to him for that reason. But I hesitate to mark this as the world-shaking event that many in the media are proclaiming it. There are a number of reasons why I think it will have little consequense.

First of all, marriage is a state-level issue. Obama has already come out against defending DOMA, which is the one Federal law affecting marriage, so this is no change for him; otherwise, it carries as much weight as would a state Governor expressing himself on foreign policy.

Secondly, among people who oppose gay marriage and oppose Obama's re-election, it can only deepen an opposition that was already there; they were not going to vote for Obama this November anyway, and so this opposition will not change anything.

Third, among people who support gay marriage and support Obama's re-election, it can only get him more support from people who would have voted for him anyway; so again, nothing will be changed.

So what about people who are for gay marriage, but at present against Obama's re-election? Will any of them shift their support from Romney to Obama? Not very likely. Most of them, I imagine, are like me — gay marriage is a relatively minor issue, and my opposition to Obama (and I presume that of others in this category of prospective voter) is due to other actions that Obama has taken as President.

The remaining group of people conststs of people who are against gay marriage, but at present for Obama's re-election. Some people think Obama is being courageous in making this statement, because he might offend them. But who are they likely to be? If you look at the recent Maryland gay-marriage controversy, the only normally-liberal legislators who opposed gay marriage were African-Americans, mostly in Prince George's County. They were responding to African-American clergy who were religious conservatives, even if socially liberal. Bur the African-American community is so proud of Barack Obama that I would be surprised if his support decreased very much in that community because he came out for gay marriage. So this was hardly the risk some people seem to think it is.

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