My credo


unknownAs our political transition unfolds, I find myself caught between the Scylla of a Democratic party increasingly romanticizing socialist economics hostile to enterprise and trade, and a Republican Charybdis fallen into a dark hole of nativism romanticizing a past that won’t return and shouldn’t. Today’s real divide is between mindsets of openness and closedness. With irresponsible foolishness of every sort running rampant, trampling sound classically liberal principles, I will not give up on them, but will continue to defend them in the years ahead. Here I recap those core principles.


  • Democracy and rule of law, so government is accountable to citizens, its powers over them restricted.


  • Freedom of speech, expression, and argument. images-1No idea immune from critical examination – even if that offends or discomfits some. This is not only integral to personal freedom, it is also crucial for society to evaluate ideas and progress thereby.


  • Limited government, filling only roles that individuals cannot. People able to choose for themselves how to live and act, with society dictating only when its reasons are compelling; basically, only to protect others from harm.


  • Free market economics is the best way to grow the pie so all can prosper. images-2Profit-seeking business is how people’s needs and desires get satisfied. That is best promoted when businesses are forced to compete openly and fairly with each other, none gaining advantage through government intervention. Instead government should function to remove barriers to competition and business enterprise.


  • This does not mean businesses unregulated. They too are subject to laws to protect others from harm.


  • Inequality is the inevitable result of people striving to better themselves, and is not unjust or an evil. Successful people are not the enemy, nor the cause of want. But a market economy generates enough wealth that we can afford to give everyone a decent living standard, out of simple humanity.


  • When another country can sell us something cheaper than we can produce it ourselves, we benefit as well as they. images-3Impeding such trade only impoverishes both nations. The gains from freer global trade, through lower consumer prices, vastly exceed the costs in any jobs lost.


  • America prospers best in a world wherein democracy, free trade, and peaceful development prevail among other countries, making them too more prosperous; so promoting those values must be the core of our foreign policy. Forces in the world threatening those values must be actively combated.


  • Government spending and taxation must be brought into a sustainable balance. Heedlessly piling up excessive debt will not end well.


  • Truth and facts should be sought objectively, and should shape our beliefs, rather than our beliefs shaping what we think are facts. unknown-1Confirmation bias is the enemy of reason. We acquire truth through science, a method of rational inquiry which progresses by self-correction as more facts become known and understood.


  • No religion is better or truer than any other. All are equally false; and that false consciousness can only impede people in grappling with challenges all too real.


  • Human beings are natural animals, resulting from Darwinian evolution. Ultimately the only thing that matters in the Universe is the well being of creatures capable of feeling. All people have equal dignity and worth (except for those who imagine their kind is superior, thereby proving they are inferior).


  • Over the centuries, the increasing application of all these principles has made for enormous global progress, with ever more people able to live ever better lives. unknown-2Abandoning these principles endangers that progress.

2 Responses to “My credo”

  1. Lee Says:

    I like it! … with only minor quibbles here and there. I’ll mention two.

    Freedom of expression is hugely important, but that doesn’t mean that the speaker doesn’t have any responsibilities. In particular, if a friendly approach achieves the vast majority of the goals that a meaner approach could achieve, please, please, please consider going the route of friendliness. Putting it another way, just because you are right usually doesn’t mean that you have to be rude.

    For too many people “free trade” and “free market economics” are interpreted as freedoms for businesses, but not employees. Those who urge for open borders so that corporations can pay employees less elsewhere, but do not also urge for open borders for employees so that they can get paid better elsewhere are not “free market” types; they are corporatists. (And if national security is invoked to choke the employee side of free trade then something else has to budge to restore the proper balance of freedom.)

    Okay, three, though this is a quibble’s quibble. All people have equal dignity and worth. The slippery slope of making exceptions is too scary for me. For example, if we have to incarcerate someone for heinous behavior then, having achieved the goal of protecting society, we should treat the prisoner as humanely as we would treat a loved one who had egregiously erred.

  2. Lee Says:

    Okay, four. Religions are not perfect and include some aspects where, especially, a literal interpretation is just wrong. However, on the whole, a focus on these aspects is failing to see the forest for the trees. Bigger picture, each form of religion and non-religion is a slightly different means of communicating with our fellow human beings; each has its pluses and minuses, its familiar feel or its unfamiliarity, etc. as could be said if comparing English, Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, etc.

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