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.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Racism?

People are saying — at least African-American people are saying — that George Zimmerman got off because he was white (actually, of course, he was Hispanic, at least on his mother's side) and Trayvon Martin was black. I've seen it written that if the races were reversed, there would have been a guilty verdict. I'm not so sure.

I remember, a few years ago, another trial. An African-American defendant killed two white people, one being his wife. And a court acquitted him. Remember O. J. Simpson? When the verdict came out in that trial, it was white people who were complaining about a miscarriage of justice, and African-Americans saying justice was done.

What we are seeing is not a racist America. (It certainly is a racially divided America, when a strong majority of white people voted for Mitt Romney last year, but the African American community was nearly unanimous behind Barack Obama for the second successive Presidential election.) The trial, and the O. J. Simpson trial, point out the way our criminal justice system works. The burden of proof is on the prosecution; the presumption of innocence favors the defense. Even if there is a lot of evidence showing that a murder occurred, if there is a “reasonable doubt,” the jury is supposed to acquit. And in both trials, the prosecution failed to make its case properly.

Perhaps this prosecutor was incompetent. At least one column I saw on the net says she was worthy of disbarment. This may be so, but it's too late to fix that. We have rules about “double jeopardy.” Like O. J. Simpson, George Zimmerman may face a civil suit, which may go the other way because the standards for evidence are weaker. But he cannot be tried for murder again.

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