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, May 18, 2015

The Philadelphia derailment

The Amtrak engineer on the train that derailed in Philadelphia says he was not using drugs (and offered a blood sample to prove it) and was not using his smartphone. (I had suspected the first, my wife the second.) He does not remember what happened in most of the time around the derailment. Evidence shows that the train was speeding up when it should have slowed down just before reaching the curve where the train derailed.

The train had been inspected by Amtrak not long before, and found to be in good shape. Some action by the engineer, therefore, must have caused the train to accelerate to over 100 mph when it should be traveling 80 and slowing down to 50 as it approached the curve. It certainly wasn't on autopilot!

Right now, my inclination is to blame the engineer. But because he can't remember anything, we will probably never know the true story. However, if I were a juror in a trial, I would certainly find the engineer guilty of negligent manslaughter.

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