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.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Don't give Pres. Obama a victory by default

I've remarked before about Noemie Emery, a columnist for the Washington Examiner, whose columns I usually find very close to my own thinking, and in yesterday's paper she had another very good column. It's too long to quote in its entirety — please follow the link to read the whole column — but the main point is that, by fragmenting, the Republican Party is making it easier for President Barack Obama to foist his far-left agenda on the American people. She points out, for example:

In 2008, during the fiscal implosion, they took two weeks off from the campaign against him to engage in a tong war over the much-loathed Troubled Asset Relief Program that turned a difficult race into one already lost. Between 2010 and 2012, they threw away four seats in the Senate -- two to primaries, one to Todd Akin, and one when they drove Olympia Snowe out of politics. This gave us Obamacare, when a primary election threat drove Arlen Specter back to his old party, where he morphed from a critic to an ardent supporter of that much-despised and badly formed legislation.

In particular, one section of her column is particularly apropos:

…last week, Republicans turned the lame duck into a TARP rerun, capped by a half-baked attempt to dismember the speaker, which embarrassed both him and themselves. This is what happens when people decide that some on their side are really The Enemy and get distracted from those with whom they have much larger differences. So before they move even more down this dream-scene-for-Democrats road map, there are three facts they might think of and four things they should do.

Fact No. 1 is to realize a political party isn't a church nor a cult but a mechanism to get diverse people who share some things in common to work toward a common position of power that none could achieve on their own. Fact No. 2 is that unless you can convert your principles into actual policies, standing upon them does no one a favor. If you believe in your principles but can't convert others, you are not an asset. If you antagonize them, you and your principles are a real liability, and perhaps you should shut the hell up.

Fact No. 2 [she means 3] is that because no coalition big enough to win power can ever be pure or completely united, and no pure wing or segment can be big enough to win or rule on its own, it is in everyone's interest to cherish the mavericks. Each party needs members who vote with them sometimes. Conservatives dreamed of the day they could rid themselves of the Snowes, Lugars and Castles; that day has come, and they and their party are weaker than ever. Many conservatives would kill now to have those seats back.

Sometime soon, before the debt ceiling crisis writes a thrilling new chapter, Republicans should sit down together and try to agree on four things: to name the shared goals that they want to move forward; to decide what to do to in a practical manner (in the real world, not an imagined alternative); to find their best spokesmen, and have him (or her) speak for them all; and to remember exactly who their real enemies are — who, in the real world, are not themselves.

The Tea Party loves the Gadsden flag symbol, with its poised-to-strike rattler and "Don't Tread on Me" message, but there is another illustration of that era that it ought to note: Benjamin Franklin's cartoon of a snake, chopped into 13 small pieces, unable to make any threatening noises. Beneath it was Franklin's exhortation for unity among the 13 Colonies: "Join, or Die."

She is right on the nose there. There is another blog I like, which has been relatively inactive lately, called “Big Tent Revue.” The name, I presume, comes from the remark that the GOP should be a “big tent” under which people of differing opinions, but with some in common, can all find shelter. This is a good image. If the Republican Party tries to purify itself to become a single-dogma party, the Democrats will win by default on every issue. Let us try to prevent this.

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