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.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Comments on Thursday's debate

First of all, I have to confess that I did not watch the debate. I do not, these days, like to stay up late, and I decided to spend my evening going early to bed. So these comments are based, not on observation of the debate itself but on others' comments on the debate.

The consensus was that three of the candidates helped their cause. Of the candidates considered “major,” the winner seems to have been Marco Rubio; however John Kasich seems to won a new-found attention (about which I am, of course, very happy, as can be evinced by my comments of a few days ago), and one candidate who was not even in the main event, Carly Fiorina, has impressed a lot of people. In addition, my actual favorite (though Kasich is becoming something of a “co-favorite”), Chris Christie, seems to have done well. And the beginning of Donald Trump's fall from the top seems to have occurred.

Since Christie and Kasich appear to have both improved their positions and Trump has hurt his own, I think the debate has helped in the struggle to winnow down the candidates. Such candidates I really dislike as Mike Huckabee do not seem to have changed anyone's opinion, which on balance is probably good. So all in all, I'm happy. But the biggest surprise is Carly Fiorina. As I've said, the biggest flaw I see in her is a lack of political experience, but after this debate, it seems she is being considered more seriously. To me, she and Ben Carson form a matched pair — brilliant exemplars of what they are good at, but simply not experienced in the specific needs of political leaders. But their performances were dead opposite in this debate. Fiorina has made people wish she had been in the main debate; Carson has prompted comments as to why he was on the debate stage at all.

Before the debate, I was of the opinion that Scott Walker was the eventual nominee, and I could certainly support him in November 2016 if he were the nominee, though Christie and/or Kasich ranked much higher in my preference list. Now I'm not so sure. I'm more optimistic about the chances of my two favorites, less certain that Walker will pull it out, but even less certain that if it's not Walker, it'll be Jeb Bush. Both Walker and Bush seem to have turned in disappointing performances. But what will happen next? Will Fiorina move into the top ten? Will Trump decide he's an independent and quit running for the Republican nomination? (This would scare me a bit, because it could take just enough votes from the actual Republican candidate to throw the election to Hillary Clinton.) I guess all I can do is wait and see.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Going into the big debate

In a couple of days, the first big debate of the 2016 Presidential campaign will take place. And this time around, more controversy has been attached to the question of who will participate than what will be discussed, because the networks have decided that there is room for only 10 candidates, and already 17 have announced. We've never seen anything like this crowd before. But I breathed a sigh of relief to see that both Chris Christie and John Kasich will qualify, because I think these two are the best choices of all.

Of course, polls now show Donald Trump, who is not really a serious candidate but, as most sensible people rightly have noted, not much more than a clown whose knowledge of the powers and duties of the Presidency is negligible (as shown by his statements!), in the lead. But in previous campaigns, equally big leads have been shown by such candidates as Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Herman Cain — whose nomination would have been disasters — and Rudy Giuliani, who I would have liked to see nominated. None of those four lasted when the actual primaries began to winnow the candidates down. I am sure the same will happen to Trump.

Hopefully, either Kasich, whose greatest handicap is that he is unknown to most non-Ohioans, will show people his value in this debate, or Christie will show people why he was for a while the favored candidate. Or even both. In any case, I can't see Trump improving his standing among the people who have already dismissed him as not a serious candidate; and most Republicans already have an unfavorable view of him. It is simply that everyone else is splitting the vote of those who want a serious and well-qualified candidate.