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, May 19, 2015

Politics and the Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia

Democrats are blaming Republican funding cuts to Amtrak for the Philadelphia derailment. While I think that most Republicans are misguided in their desire to cut Amtrak, I think it is an implausible stretch of the truth. Perhaps Amtrak could have worked faster at installing the Positive Train Control that would have prevented the accident if they had had more money, but I don't think that was really likely. And money isn't what made the engineer do whatever he did that made the train speed up.

Amtrak is perhaps 10% responsible — they should have worked harder at installing Positive Train Control. And the engineer is 90% responsible. But don't blame Congressional Republicans for the accident. I agree that Amtrak needs more money than many Republicans want to give it. But this is not the reason.

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