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.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Why Matt Lewis could never be a liberal, and my own (general) agreement

Today I saw a post by columnist Matt K. Lewis of The Week's site, entitled “Why I could never be a liberal.” And, although I don't consider myself a “true conservative,” I align myself with conservatives on enough important issues that I estimate my position as more conservative than not. And much of what Lewis said resonates with me.

He begins with a comment, just below the title, but above the column itself:

I get in fights with my fellow conservatives all the time. But I'm not about to switch sides.

I'm not about to quote the entire column (please follow the link if you want to read it) but there are specific points he makes that I would echo:

…though my friends on the activist Right may sometimes drive me nuts, I've never ever entertained the thought of going over to the dark side of the Left. David Brock might have garnered a lot of attention and publicity by switching sides, but for me, the Left is never an option.

This isn't just because I believe conservatism will lead to a more prosperous and virtuous society, but also because — in the unlikely event either side were to obtain carte blanche authority — the Left scares me more than the Right.

There's no shortage of examples. Melissa Harris-Perry, for instance, recently revealed a terrifying tenet of the Left, which says our children belong to the collective, not to parents or families. As I wrote, this sentiment was so feared by George Orwell that he included it in both 1984 and Animal Farm. I should have also mentioned Aldous Huxley's Brave New World.

Look at extremists abroad: From Stalin to Castro to Chavez, some on the Left have consistently displayed not just a tolerance for heavy-handed authoritarian regimes (as the Right has admittedly sometimes also done) but also an admiration of them.

In recent weeks, some on the Left have mourned the death of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, even while cheering the death of Britain's Margaret Thatcher. And a similar sentiment was on full display when Jay-Z and Beyonce, perhaps naively, enjoyed Cuban hospitality — without noticing the dissidents or the gulags they conveniently avoided on their vacation.

I will skip a couple of paragraphs, with which I don't really agree, about liberals' disregard for the Divine and about abortion, and resume with his next paragraph:

We live in a fallen world. I do not expect any party — or any ideology, for that matter — to have all the answers. I don't put my faith in politics. There will be no utopia on earth. We cannot immanentize the eschaton.

Neither side of the political spectrum has all the answers — and both sides have fringe elements they'd rather not highlight, as well as moments in history they'd rather leave unspoken.

I've probably had more public fights with my friends on the Right than with my adversaries on the Left in recent years. This is probably natural. As Anthony Trollope wrote, "The apostle of Christianity and the infidel can meet without a chance of a quarrel; but it is never safe to bring together two men who differ about a saint or a surplice."

I get in fights with my fellow conservatives all the time. Immigration is but one example. But still, for me, the Left is never an option.

There are specific points where I differ with Lewis. But by and large, I approve this column.

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