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, November 10, 2014

The two parties and identity politics

One thing that might be noted in the election results in this and recent years is the Democrats' reliance on identity politics. It is not just that Barack Obama got elected by drawing a record turnout among African-Americans and getting a record proportion of the vote among that same group. Rather, if you look at Democratic African-American office-holders, they are nearly all elected from constituencies with majority African-American electorates. (An exception might be Cory Booker, recently re-elected to a Senate seat in New Jersey. But he got his start as mayor of Newark, a largely African-American city.)

By contrast, African-Americans elected as Republicans are elected in constituencies that are not majority African-American — look at Tim Scott, Will Hurd and Mia Love — just to mention three African-Americans who will sit in the next Congress.

Scott was first elected to a seat in the House of Representatives from a majority-white district in South Carolina. When Senator Jim DeMint resigned, Governor Nikki Haley (herself an Indian-American) appointed Scott to the Senate. Tuesday he won a full term — and you can bet that this first African-American to be elected from the South since Reconstruction did not get the office because of African-American votes.

Will Hurd won a race in a basically Hispanic disctrict, running against a Hispanic incumbent. Again, his victory cannot be laid to identity politics.

Mia Love got elected from a district in Utah — and the number of African-Americans in the whole state of Utah is not enough that, even if they were all packed into one Congressional district, they could form a majority! Like Scott, she had to win based on white voters' feeling she was the best person for the job, and she did.

These are examples of the Republican Party's treatment of African-Americans as simply Americans, and it would be great if the Democrats could do the same.

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