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, April 19, 2013

The Kermit Gosnell case

Self-styled “right to life” advocates have been bewailing the lack of media coverage of the trial of Philadelphia doctor Kermit Gosnell. They accuse pro-abortion media of suppressing it because of their own biases. The only thing is — the trial is going on, local authorities have charged Gosnell with murder, and even under the standards of Roe v. Wade, if Gosnell is found to have done what he is accused of doing, he will be convicted of murder and possibly put to death. So it is not an instance of the issue they would like to feature, the justifiability of Roe v. Wade. The point is that Dr. Gosnell is accused of ending the lives of babies, already delivered and likely to have survived if the acts in question had not been performed by Dr. Gosnell and his staff. Even if you have the most thoroughly pro-choice mindset, once it passes the threshold of viability, it is not a mere fetus but an independent human being.

There is a question, about which responsible citizens can disagree, as to when the existence of a new human being begins. “Pro-life” people may claim that it is at the moment a sperm unites with an egg, but I've discussed how fallacious I believe this is. It is clear to me that, until a fetus has reached the point where it can be delivered and would survive without being attached to a placenta, it is simply a piece of parasitic tissue in the mother's body, not an independent human being. Where Dr. Gosnell betrayed his oath as a doctor of medicine is that he took the lives of those who, by this criterion, were independent human beings. This has nothing to do with the morality of abortion in general, nor with whether Roe v. Wade is good law — under the Roe decision Dr. Gosnell went too far! So there is no reason to bring up this case in discussions of Roe or abortion in general.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

And the NRA wins again

The Senate has refused to pass the Toomey/Manchin gun control law. It was pretty weak to begin with, but we might have gotten something. But too many people are too conscious of the NRA's demands.

Obviously, as long as we have the Second Amendment in our Constitution — and it's not going to be possible to repeal it, though I wish it had never been incorporated into the Bill of Rights in the first place — there are people who are going to claim that being free to shoot at anyone is a “right” as precious as freedom of speech, press, and religion. Nobody thinks of our right to live without the fear that someone will shoot at us (even accidentally)! The NRA seems to believe that law-abiding people will use guns responsibly. Law-abiding people, by and large, don't even own guns, or know how to fire them!

I have no legitimate reason to kill someone, and thus I have no legitimate use for a gun. Nor does anyone else, outside the police and military.

For once, I agree with President Obama — but we can't simply retire those lawmakers who voted against gun control as he would like, because the alternative is lawmakers whose positions on so many other issues are so evil that they cannot be considered worthy of election. So I don't know how this problem can be solved.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Margaret Thatcher

Yesterday, Margaret Thatcher died at age 87. While I normally talk in thid blog about our own country's political leaders, Baroness Thatcher's service as Prime Minister deserves more than my usual degree of attention. Britain had been in decline; with her accession, it became an important and reliable ally, which we could rely on to work alongside us toward our common goals.

With some pride, I have to say that she was originally trained as a chemist (as was Angela Merkel of Germany). In this country, it seems lawyers dominate politics; it might be nice to find more people with a scientific background. (True, Thatcher became a lawyer eventually. But her first career was in chemistry.)

Chronologically, her Prime Ministry coincided in large part with Ronald Reagan's Presidency here. These two paragons of the Right, of course, found it easier to forge a tight alliance than peope on opposite sides of the ideological spectrum might. But even Labourite Tony Blair saw a need to keep the alliance together — of course, much of Blair's service coincided with Bill Clinton's Presidency, so again they were close.

But back to Thatcher. I believe that she was the greatest — in the sense of improving the strength of the British nation — prime minister since Winston Churchill, and not many could compare with him!

Vale, Baroness Thatcher.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Another GOP senator endorses gay marriage

A while ago, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio endorsed gay marriage, becoming the first sitting GOP senator to do so. He was just joined by Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois. This is an important development.

Until Portman, it seemed as though the Democrats had the monopoly on this side of the issue. And it took his son's coming out to convince Portman. Now with Kirk as the second one, the GOP is moving in the direction it ought to: getting rid of the dominance by “social conservatives” — a code word for “religious bigots trying to impose their views on others.” We even have the spectacle of Speaker of the House John Boehner hiring an attorney to defend DOMA before the Supreme Court, because the Obama Administration accepts its unconstitutionality!

The Republican Party is generally the party in favor of freedom of the individual. But because of the “social conservatives'” power, it has taken the wrong stance on issues like abortion, gay rights, and such. That two sitting GOP senators have decided to push against the “social conservatives” can only be praised. Hopefully, they will be joined by more. The GOP needs to stand up to the “social conservatives.”