My Philosophy

Like all people, this blogger also has  biases.  To alert the reader to these and explain them, the following is offered:

The basic quandary was identified by James Madison in the Federalist papers:

“If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.” James MadisonThe Federalist Papers

We must give government enough power to protect us against the inevitable human evils and the excesses of capitalism, but we must not let government run over our rights.  We must take individual rights and the idea of limited government seriously.  There is no magic formula telling us how to strike this balance, but we should give the individual the benefit of the doubt.

Where is this kook coming from? First, I am a "Constitutionalist."  Government powers are limited and people are granted legal rights by a Constitution.  It can be written or unwritten, and it is the supreme law of the land.   Fortunately, ours is written. Federalism and the Tenth Amendment limit the power of the federal government and are important for those reasons and others. All constitutional rights are crucial and all should be supported and defended.  No matter what the right involved, the government should have to meet the "strict scrutiny" (highest) standard/test to have the government action upheld.   Due process, equal protection and other constitutional provisions support the rule of law which must be upheld.

I am also "Libertarian", but a "cautious" one. I am not an anarchist or anarcho-capitalist. Libertarian principles cannot be carried to foolhardy extremes.  We must accept that humans are capable of both great good and great.  Reason should lead us to greatness, but being human, our emotions, biases, etc. frequently take over. I believe it would be foolhardy to create easy access to heroin and cocaine and to let corporations run wild. I believe government leaders must follow "the rule of law." 
My libertarianism follows John Stewart Mill and Freidrich Hayek, but not Ayn Rand.


I am not opposed to all efforts to lessen economic inequality.  I am opposed to socialism and communism. I am opposed from the government robbing Peter and giving Peter's money directly to Paul.  I am not opposed to all anti-poverty efforts.  However, these should primarily take the form of helping those in the lower reaches of SES increase their "human capital." Educational day-care,   better education at all levels, recreation programs, counseling, job training, and better access to physical and mental health services, are examples.  The wealthy and corporations should not be given so many tax breaks and loopholes. 

For brief, general and very readable discussions of these three see
Constitutionalism  LINK
Libertarianism  LINK
Rule of Law LINK


According to Wikipedia:
Libertarianism refers to the group of political philosophies that emphasize freedom, liberty, and voluntary association. There is no general consensus among scholars on the precise definition.  “ . . .in the United States that the term libertarian is commonly associated with those who have conservative positions on economic issues and liberal positions on social issues, going by the common meanings of "conservative" and "liberal" in the United States.
Like liberals, libertarians support gay rights and gay marriage, and the right to abortion and broad freedom of speech..  Like conservatives, libertarians support limited government regulation of business and the economy, the right to keep and bear arms and freedom of religion.
Although there are many varieties of libertarianism, and various degrees of support for various positions, as used herein, the term  generally refers to related philosophies that support
1. limited government (but, not anarchy)
2.  economic and personal freedom as long as the rights and property of others are not jeopardized, and the  (rights and freedoms are not absolute. Government control or regulation is proper in some areas) In some areas, such as dangerous and highly addictive drugs, government control is appropriate. In general, however, freedom of choice, consistent with the principles above, is favored over government paternalism. Attempts by religious groups to have government contravene these principles should be strongly opposed.  For instance, there can be no government bans on dancing, abortion, adult drinking, and no government requirements of prayer, Bible reading etc. 
3.  the idea that the individual is the most important unit of society, not the group, race, ethnic group, religious group, “community,” “nation,” etc. 
4.  the assumption that individuals have certain “natural law,” “God given” or “inherent” rights, (including equal protection of the law) that must be respected by government, and that there are no inherently superior racial, ethnic, or other groups. Every human being, no matter what their status, condition, etc. is entitled to certain fundamental rights just by virtue of being a person.   For instance, the Declaration of Independence (1776) states that “
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
For some, these rights are based on religion.  However, giving people rights against government, no matter what the basis of those rights, is to be encouraged. 
5.  political and legal equality, but not government enforced social or economic equality. (reasonable welfare programs are acceptable, and private charity is encouraged)
6.   democracy as the best form of government and that government has only those powers voluntarily granted by the “people.  The Declaration of Independence (1776) states in the next sentence:
That to secure these [inalienable] rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
7.  a cautious and prudent approach toward war and military action (but not pacifism).

8.  Human being are have inherent tendencies to both good (e.g. altruism) and evil (brutality).  Reason should lead us to good results, but it is frequently corrupted by emotion, ideology, etc.  No rights are absolute and we cannot give people absolute freedom from law.  We cannot give corporations and businesses immunity from regulation.

My libertarianism generally follows natural law right theory, John Stuart Mill and Friedrich Hayek, but not Ayn Rand.  We cannot carry pure libertarian theory so far that it causes anarchy or dictatorship. I don't know what to call it other than "cautious libertarianism.

The fundamental problem, as I see it, is that as government and corporations get bigger, the individual gets smaller and tends to disappear.  The average individual becomes dispensable. Rights and freedom get smothered.
Ironically, we have used big government to help us fight big business.  We created a new monster to try to help us control and old one. No matter which of the monsters win, we lose.  We cannot expect corporations to adhere to the rule of law, constitutionalism and value freedom. We expect government to do so, but for ideological and political reasons, they often fail. There is only one solution. We must have political leaders who take these values regarding the individual seriously.  Unfortunately, neither of our major parties takes all these value seriously in a consistent fashion.  The Left despises freedom religion and the Second Amendment.  The Right has no love of the right to an abortion and the Fourth Amendment.  (Of the major philosophies, only libertarians love liberty in all its forms.)  Neither party has provided quality leadership options for voters for years.  Both parties have tended recently to be captured by their far-left or far-right branches.  Both seem to have lost track of the notion that the best way to lead a diverse and divided country is to try to lead from somewhere around the political middle.

A related problem is our society is that there are very few people (like this author) who are broad-based supporters of constitutional rights.  The left values free speech, abortion and privacy rights but despises property and Second Amendment rights. They value a socialist-leaning Constitution.  The right values property rights, the Second Amendment and a capitalist slant to the Constitution. The right is  too stingy about the rights of defendants, free speech and personal freedom.  A curse on both their houses!  Personally I don't pick and chose which rights I support or try to select who should or should not have these rights.  I am willing to recognize your constitutional right to do or say things with which I PERSONALLY disagree.  I try to rise above the America's kulturkampf  (culture wars) .  Unfortunately, many intelligent people cannot do so and have become ideologues.  We need more thinkers and fewer knee-jerkers.  We need more tolerance and willingness to listen to and respect others.   We all need to think for ourselves and not rely on the media or our favorite people.