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, June 26, 2013

The Supreme Court's two gay marriage decisions

For once, the Court's decisions went just about as I would have had it. The only place I was not quite right was that the overrule of California Proposition 8 was on the grounds of “lack of standing,” rather than appealing to an earlier decision in a Colorado case that a right, once given, could not be taken away. But the practical effect is the same; the lower court's decision was upheld, and that court used the argument I would have cited.

The DOMA decision got it exactly right. The states have always said who had a right to marry, and if the Federal government restricts that right, they are impairing the right to equal protection. As Justice Kennedy wrote in his opinion, “The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the state, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity.” Those who talk of the “traditional” definition of marriage have a lot of things wrong; traditionally marriage has been regulated by the states, not the Federal government, and over the years the nature of marriage has changed — in the nineteenth century it made a wife the property of her husband, for one thing. So appealing to “tradition” is nonsense.

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