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.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

The State of West Maryland?

This morning I just happened to notice a local newspaper, with a front-page headline telling me that five counties in Western Maryland would secede and form a new state under a proposal that has been made by a resident of that western area. The five counties — Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick, and Carroll — according to the census statistics I have spotted on the Web, have a total population of 653,133, which is a rather small population for a State; Maryland is not considered a very large State, population-wise, and its total population is 5.8 million.

The person spearheading the secession movement says that Maryland is dominated by three jurisdictions — Prince George's and Montgomery Counties and the city of Baltimore; yet this seems natural, as these three jurisdictions have so many more people. Montgomery County (the county in which I live) alone has a population of 971,777, about 1½ times as many as that of the five counties combined that would form the proposed state. So if Western Maryland secedes from the state, how would the people of Garrett County feel? Their 30,097 people would be a negligible part of the whole West Maryland population; would they feel a need to secede to make themselves heard?

The last time a few counties seceded from a State was during the Civil War, and those counties seceded from Virginia to stay in the USA, so it was a special case. It hardly seems likely that West Maryland would be able to persuade Congress to accept them as the 51st State.

It is true, however, that they have been treated shabbily, in some cases, by the State. Governor Martin O'Malley pushed a Congressional redistricting recently that divided up Western Maryland into two districts, both with enough Democrats in them to force out long-time Representative Roscoe Bartlett in last November's election. I can sympathize, to some extent, though their secession would leave me in an even bluer State than I'm in now. But I doubt that they have a chance.

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