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.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A follow-up to yesterday's post

In the Wikipedia article about Jeff Bezos, he is described as a libertarian. However, the term seems to have many meanings. I consider myself to have a high degree of libertarianism in my political philosophy, but neither Ron Paul, who ran as the Libertarian Party candidate for President in 1988, nor Gary Johnson, who is running this year on the same ticket, closely represents my views. I think that the aspect of my political philosophy that can be described as “libertarian” can be summed up by the sentence, “As long as it harms nobody else, anything should be permitted.” But then there are questions, which seriously divide self-proclaimed libertarians, as to what constitutes “harm,” and what constitutes “somebody else.”

For example, arguments come up on the abortion issue between those who argue that “human life begins at conception” and thus that a fetus is “another human being,” in the formulation of libertarian philosophy, and those like myself that it is not another person until it could be delivered and survive on its own without being in a mother's womb. (See my post dated June 6, 2006 for my own opinion.) Similarly, I differ strongly with other self-declared libertarians on the issue of gun control. (I also described my position on this issue in 2006; see that post.) So “libertarian” by itself cannot fully describe a political philosophy. But I think, based on what I read, and described in yesterday's post, about Jeff Bezos, it is clear that the term describes him well.

Of course, he's opposed Internet sales taxes in the past — but while this can be seen as a “libertarian” position in general, Bezos is hardly to be so characterized for this political stand; it's simply something that personally affects him as the head of Amazon and even a non-libertarian in his position would be expected to take that stand. Just as Barney Frank's support of gay marriage would not classify him as “libertarian,” Bezos' support of freedom of Internet purchases from sales tax does not mean Bezos deserves that label. His being willing to contribute two and a half million dollars to support gay marriage in the Washington state referendum — since he is undoubtedly not going to benefit by it, as he is married to a woman — does, however, point to an underlying “libertarian” philosophy.

And I applaud him for it.

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