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, November 30, 2012

And he still won't give an inch

It looks as though President Barack Obama is still unable to compromise on the issues involved in the “fiscal cliff” — he has just made a proposal to Congress that says, in effect, “Take it or leave it: my way or the highway.” Of course, the plan won't get out of committee in the House. But he'll try to blame the Republicans — and a lot of the American people will fall for his charges, I'm afraid.

If only John McCain were in the White House.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The post-mortems are simply wrong!

There are a number of people writing comments about the recently-concluded election. Some say Mitt Romney lost becuse he did not go conservative enough, or because he did not reach out to moderates. Some say Romney lost because he failed to get his message across, or because the economy had started to improve, or because of comments like “47%” (as though Obama didn't say “You didn't build that!”) None of these are correct. Mitt Romney lost (and anyone on the GOP ticket except Herman Cain would have, and even Cain might have because he might have been painted as an “Uncle Tom”) for one reason, and one reason only: He was a white man, running against an African-American. There was no way the GOP could counter this obstacle. And though another blogger with whom I generally agree says he cannot characterize this attitude of the African-American voters as “racist” (he is African-American, though well to the right of the typical member of his race) I have to say, as politically incorrect as it is, that I cannot characterize it in any other way.

Mitt Romney got almost 60% of the white vote — more than most recent GOP candidates. But the African-American population is 12.6% of the total. And it went 93% for Obama. John Kerry got 88 percent in 2004. Most Democrats get a lot less than 93%. If African-Americans go back to their normal split — and they will in 2016, since Obama cannot run again, unless the Democrats nominate someone like Cory Booker or Deval Patrick — the 2016 GOP nominee will easily win, as long as he does as well among white voters as Romney did in 2012. The GOP does not need to do anything to improve its chances in 2016. Romney did as well as any white American could have.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

When will Barack Obama learn what "compromise" means?

For a brief moment, it looked as though President Barack Obama might have achieved a compromise with Speaker of the House John Boehner and the Republicans. He had hinted that he might approve a plan that would increase revenues from the well-to-do, without necessarily raising tax rates. But it is now clear that this will not be. He now says that he has a mandate from this election to raise those rates. And of course this means no compromise is in the works.

It looks as though the “fiscal cliff” is in the offing. Obama has no concept of what a compromise is. To him it means he calls the shots, and everyone else accepts his ideas, no matter how repugnant they may be.

It's going to be a long two years (or four, depending on the 2014 elections).

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Comments on this election

Tom Bowler has a blog he calls “Libertarian Leanings,” with which I am often in agreement. And he wrote a post dated November 8, called “Four More Years,” which bears some repetition.

To say that I'm surprised by the outcome of the election is an understatement. I thought Romney would win, and win big, but look how wrong I was. We get another four of Barack Obama.

It's really quite disheartening. Call it a missed opportunity. For all of his faults Mitt Romney is a smart and talented executive. A Romney presidency would undoubtedly have meant explosive economic growth, and might also have gotten us long way toward putting our nation's finances on a sound footing. We have that debt crisis facing us. We need economic growth.

Obama doesn't. In his second term Barack Obama has once again inherited the mess left by George W. Bush. We'll be hearing about that mess for another four years. Obama's victory speech confirms it: The continuing economic stagnation is in no way connected to Barack Obama's policies. Just look at his prescription.

But that doesn't mean your work is done. The role of citizens in our democracy does not end with your vote. America's never been about what can be done for us; it's about what can be done by us together, through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government. (Cheers, applause.) That's the principle we were founded on.

This country has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that's not what makes us strong. Our university, our culture are all the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to our shores. What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on Earth, the belief that our destiny is shared — (cheers, applause) — that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations, so that the freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights, and among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That's what makes America great. (Cheers, applause.)

I am hopeful tonight because I have seen this spirit at work in America. I've seen it in the family business whose owners would rather cut their own pay than lay off their neighbors and in the workers who would rather cut back their hours than see a friend lose a job.

In his only mention [of] liberty[,] Obama instructs us that our arguments are “a mark of our liberty.” We might have thought that liberty is what draws people to our shores. No. They are drawn by “the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on earth.” It is our strength, he tells us.

He says nothing about the freedom to strive for a better life for ourselves and our families. Instead, we must share. You business owners, sacrifice. You workers, expect less. Take that pay cut so that fellow part-timers can share in the ever shrinking wages. There's just not going to be enough to go around, and you'd better get used to it.

While a Romney presidency promised to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit, in Obama's world entrepreneur is just another job, a government job. The best and brightest will find their way to prosperity in striving to be middlemen, standing between citizens and their entitlements, doling them out according to prescribed formulas of fairness. That is the true strength of Obama's America.

While I might have disagreed with Bowler's expectation that “Romney would win, and win big,” (I figured it would be close, but I thought Romney could pull it out) I certainly agree with most of what he said in this post. But one thing I will not join in is a chorus of columns and blog posts saying what the writer thinks the GOP must do in subsequent elections to come up with a winning candidate. For example, Byron York's column in Friday's Washington Examiner is titled “In 2016, GOP needs a candidate voters believe in.” Frankly, I don't know what it takes to win an election in this country. I simply cannot imagine why anyone at all would vote for a Barack Obama against either a John McCain or a Mitt Romney — and yet, majorities of the people have done so. And because of that, I just give up on trying to figure out what it takes to win an election.

Of course, I can probably point to racism as the real reason that Obama could win both elections: not a racism of whites against African-Americans, as the absence of that was proved by the fact that Obama got millions of whites' votes, but a racism of African-Americans against whites, in that the African-American population refused to vote for a white candidate running against one of their own, no matter how unqualified he was or how terribly he has handled the Presidency. Obama got 95% of the African-American vote in 2008, and 93% this year. If Obama had simply gotten the normal proportion of the African-American vote that Democrats get — and that is still an overwhelming majority! — Mitt Romney would be getting ready to move into the White House.

And that is perhaps the best hope for 2016. Without an African-American at the top of the ticket, the African-American vote will break Democratic by more like its usual proportion, and a Republican can win then. The problem is that Barack Obama will have had his shot at ruining this country's economy already, and that may be irreversible.

Friday, November 09, 2012

2016 choice?

I just noticed a post by Sophie Quinton on the National Journal site. It was dated November 6, 2012 and entitled “Top 10 Republican Presidential Contenders for 2016.” and #1 on the list is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

If he wants to run, I'm for him. No questions. I've already said a lot about why I like him.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

The next two years (at least)

For the next two years, I see the most gridlocked government one could imagine in Washington. A Barack Obama just given four more years in the White House will submit bill after bill of legislation inspired by Karl Marx, and while Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will dutifully attempt to get the bills through the House of Representatives, she will not have the votes. In most cases, they will receive a total of zero votes from the GOP side, since Obama has no intention of compromising in a meaningful way. His idea of a compromise, as shown in the last four years, is "you adopt my program." Since the Republicans will still control the House, none of Obama's bills will pass, but the bills the House passes, if they get through the Senate at all, will be vetoed by President Obama. And since the Republicans do not have a 2/3 majority in the House, and do not even control the Senate, there will not be enough votes to override a veto. The only legislation that will go through will be relatively uncontroversial stuff like naming a post officde after a deceased congressman.

If any new developments occur at all, they will come out of the Supreme Court. It will rule on some gay rights cases, and very likely on other cases that nobody can foresee at present. It may even kill some parts of Obamacare, though the program itself has been ruled constitutional. But the future of the Court's decisions will also be affected by Court retirements. And President Obama may be able to put another Elena Kagan on the Court, since the Senate will be Democratic and the House has no role in ratifying appointments.

It is going to be two more years of skirmishing between a far-left President Obama and a Tea Party-influenced GOP controlled House of Representatives. And our system has survived (see the last two years of Harry Truman's first term). So it will survive again. But I can't expect anything great to come out of the next two years.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

It's over -- and it doesn't look good

Last night, I went to bed when it became clear that we were going to have to wait a while before the results from Ohio came in. And it didn't look good: Barack Obama had already won Michigan and Pennsylvania, two states that had looked within reach for Mitt Romney. I woke this morning to see Obama with 303 votes, Romney 206, and Florida's 29 too close to call. Two states that Obama won in 2008, Indiana and North Carolina, went to Romney, but otherwise every state (except that we can't be sure about Florida) went the same way as four years ago. The result, of course, is four more years of one of the worst presidents ever. But the American people have spoken. I don't like what they said, but so be it.

The Senate will be Democratic — even more so than it is now; three seats appear to have been added to the Democrats' majority. The House will remain heavily Republican, so John Boehner will remain Speaker. Given that President Obama seems unable to forge consensus-building ideas for legislation, this sets the stage for renewed gridlock in the government. But “Obamacare” will take full effect, killing hope of an improvement of the employment picture, though the recession will gradually end (as it would no matter who was president).

Mitt Romney's name will be added to the list of people I wish had been elected President, along with Bob Dole and John McCain. I can only congratulate him for a good fight.

The only shining light in this election is that Maryland became the first state to put in same-sex marriage with voter approval — although not all the results are in. And even there, a question that was also on the ballot — in-state tuition for illegal aliens — did better. why people who have no legal right to be in the country should get such privileges is beyond me — but it is clear that the Hispanics got their vote out.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

President Obama can do something right.

When Barack Obama was elected President, I promised that when he did something right, I would acknowledge it. And I have to admit that regarding Hurricane Sandy, if even Governor Chris Christie says Obama is doing something right, he must be. We know that Gov. Christie is a strong supporter of Mitt Romney's election, and this is, therefore, not a political thing.

Of course, if the President does one or two things right (I'll grant that getting rid of Osama Bin Laden was another) and dozens of things wrong (from Solyndra to the stimulus that didn't stimulate) this doesn't mean he deserves re-election. But at least the people of the stricken area can take comfort that in this case, the President is doing his job the way it is supposed to be done.