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.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Bipartisanship at last!

A few days ago I ran a post in which I was somewhat critical of Chad Griffin, the head of the Human Rights Campaign, for sending out an email praising President Obama for the administration's filing a brief before the Supreme Court, arguing that that a law denying gay and lesbian couples the ability to marry is unconstitutional. Mr. Griffin has, in my mind, remedied this to an extent. He sent out another e-mail, praising Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio for coming out for marriage equality. It has not been only Obama and the Democrats who have taken pro-equality stands; there are Republicans, who run more risk because of some conservatives' religiously-based bigotry, but have come out on the side of equality as well.

In Griffin's e-mail, he quotes Sen. Portman as saying, referring to his own son's coming out as gay:

It allowed me to think of this issue from a new perspective, and that's of a Dad who loves his son a lot and wants him to have the same opportunities that his brother and sister would have – to have a relationship like Jane [my wife] and I have had for over 26 years.

Nice to see the Republicans' being recognized too.

Chad Griffin is to be complimented. Not so Jonathan Chait, who uses the same bit of news to accuse Sen. Portman of selfishness in his New York Magazine column:

It’s pretty simple. Portman went along with his party’s opposition to gay marriage because it didn’t affect him. He thought about gay rights the way Paul Ryan thinks about health care. And he still obviously thinks about most issues the way Paul Ryan thinks about health care.

That Portman turns out to have a gay son is convenient for the gay-rights cause. But why should any of us come away from his conversion trusting that Portman is thinking on any issue about what’s good for all of us, rather than what’s good for himself and the people he knows?

Chait seems to think that there is an objective measure of “what’s good for all of us,” which is absolute nonsense. What is good for a landlord (increases in the rental values of property) is not good for a renter. What is good for an urbanite who has to buy his food (lower prices on agricultural products) is not good for a farmer who has to sell the products to a wholesaler. Very little is good for all of us. And so we must really decide on the basis of “what is good for [our]selves and the people [we] know.” All of us reason this way, not just Sen. Portman.

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