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, March 17, 2013

Jonathan Chait, secular pope?

Yesterday I ran a post which in part referred to a critical column by Jonathan Chait in New York magazine. But in his column, he didn't only make an uncalled-for dig at Senator Rob Portman of Ohio; he also managed to bring in criticism of Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, recent candidate for the Vice-Presidency. He takes Ryan to task for saying, of universal health insurance, that it was “a new entitlement we didn’t even ask for.”

The construction was so telling — “we” meant the majority who have access to regular medical care and would rather not subsidize those who don’t.


It is Chait who doesn't seem to think that there are people around that he cannot imagine — not everyone who doesn't have health insurance is in that category because he can't get it; some want to take the risk because they are young and healthy, and would rather put the money somewhere else than in health insurance premiums. Others want to purchase bare-bones coverage for catastrophic illness only, because they figure they can afford normal medical expenses; of course “Obamacare” will not permit that.

Universal health insurance really isn't what we needed. What we need is to make health insurance obtainable for those who want it and cannot get it — not the same as all those who do not have it! But Chait thinks that, like the Pope according to Catholic doctrine, he is infallible — anyone who doesn't think the way he does is in error. If Ryan says that universal health insurance is “a new entitlement we didn’t even ask for” it is because he doesn't include all of us in that “we.” That's what Chait says, and that is, therefore, official doctrine. What claptrap!

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