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.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Shifting "progressivism"

When I was younger, I lived in a district that was one of the few in New York City represented by a Republican, Jacob K. Javits. Javits later got elected to the Senate, representing the whole state. And Javits liked to call himself “progressive.” (He eschewed the term “liberal,” though he happily accepted the Liberal Party's endorsement when it was given to him.)

The progressivism of Jacob Javits was something I could easily support. During much of the time I am talking about, I was unable to vote: you had to be 21 then, and I became 21 in 1963. Javits served in the House from 1947 to 1954; when I moved into his district, in 1951, I was 9. He was elected to the Senate in 1956, so even when he ran for re-election in 1962 I could not yet vote for him — I was 20 and 18-to-20-year-olds didn't get the vote until 1971. So it was not until his third term as Senator that I could give him my vote, but I did enthusiastically. I had been supporting him for years before that.

But I doubt that if Jacob Javits were alive today, he would be called, or would call himself, “progressive.” I see the term applied to such Senators as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. I could never imagine Javits, or his political allies like Governor Nelson Rockefeller, supporting the ideas such are espoused by Warren or Sanders. “Progressivism” has shifted a long distance from Javits' day.

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