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.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Martin Luther King

Tomorrow is a holiday in honor of Martin Luther King, and it got me thinking. It seems that (although nobody wants it to happen to them) getting yourself assassinated is a sure road to becoming a hero in many people's eyes. John F. Kennedy would, on the basis of his accomplishments, be considered a rather inconsequential president — it was Lyndon Johnson who actually pushed through the civil rights legislation that Kennedy had proposed — if it hadn't been for the shooting in Dallas in 1963. And Martin Luther King was only one of many civil rights leaders — Thurgood Marshall certainly accomplished more, for example — and he tarnished his own record by taking a near-treasonous attitude on the Vietnam war. Yet some people idolized both, to the extent of a song having been written about “Abraham, Martin, and John.” (To me this is profaning the memory of Abraham Lincoln, who was one of our greatest Presidents, perhaps our greatest, shepherding our nation through its only civil war.)

John F. Kennedy was one of our nonentity Presidents — the country would have been better served if Richard M. Nixon had won in 1960 — and Martin Luther King was one of our less important civil rights leaders, yet both are honored far beyond what they deserve. And far beyond what would have been the case if neither had been shot. It seems that Lee Harvey Oswald and James Earl Ray, by prematurely ending Kennedy's and King's lives, caused both to be more important than they would have otherwise been. Another case of “unintended consequences”?

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