Though we have some idiots as candidates and politicians in our state, I would rather find ways to improve it than spend time bemoaning the stupidity of some of our elected officials or other leaders. I will not cast the first stone. Someone needs to champion repair of our state and our nation. I, and hopefully others of you, will take up this job. We have enough people telling us how about the things going wrong.
So my focus is on cooperation, compromise, and what is best for citizens of the United States so they can exercise rights endowed by their Creator (if they choose to believe in one) of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. How to do this? We, the PEOPLE, must form a more perfect union. Why? To establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of Liberty (liberty, not freedom. This will be covered in a future blog.) to ourselves and our posterity.
Our constitution is great. Articles in this blog will be to explain my reasoned beliefs and understandings. I am trying to bring to life a political philosophy of cooperation, mutual respect, and compromise.
The following is a speech by Benjamin Franklin urging the passage of the document at the Constitutional Convention. From our founding, our strength is finding ways to be united in the midst of our diversity. The direction from this speech should be our touchstone or pole star to guide us.
I confess that there are several parts of this constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them: For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others. Most men indeed as well as most sects in Religion, think themselves in possession of all truth, and that wherever others differ from them it is so far error. Steele a Protestant in a Dedication tells the Pope, that the only difference between our Churches in their opinions of the certainty of their doctrines is, the Church of Rome is infallible and the Church of England is never in the wrong. But though many private persons think almost as highly of their own infallibility as of that of their sect, few express it so naturally as a certain french lady, who in a dispute with her sister, said "I don't know how it happens, Sister but I meet with no body but myself, that's always in the right — Il n'y a que moi qui a toujours raison."
In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other. I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better Constitution. For when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our enemies, who are waiting with confidence to hear that our councils are confounded like those of the Builders of Babel; and that our States are on the point of separation, only to meet hereafter for the purpose of cutting one another's throats. Thus I consent, Sir, to this Constitution because I expect no better, and because I am not sure, that it is not the best. The opinions I have had of its errors, I sacrifice to the public good. I have never whispered a syllable of them abroad. Within these walls they were born, and here they shall die. If every one of us in returning to our Constituents were to report the objections he has had to it, and endeavor to gain partizans in support of them, we might prevent its being generally received, and thereby lose all the salutary effects & great advantages resulting naturally in our favor among foreign Nations as well as among ourselves, from our real or apparent unanimity. Much of the strength & efficiency of any Government in procuring and securing happiness to the people, depends, on opinion, on the general opinion of the goodness of the Government, as well as of the wisdom and integrity of its Governors. I hope therefore that for our own sakes as a part of the people, and for the sake of posterity, we shall act heartily and unanimously in recommending this Constitution (if approved by Congress & confirmed by the Conventions) wherever our influence may extend, and turn our future thoughts & endeavors to the means of having it well administred.
On the whole, Sir, I cannot help expressing a wish that every member of the Convention who may still have objections to it, would with me, on this occasion doubt a little of his own infallibility, and to make manifest our unanimity, put his name to this instrument.
I hope that in some way conservative or liberal; Republican or Democrat; regardless of race, religion, and the other ways we and others divide us, that we can find a way to come together for the good of us all. For the present and for the future, we need to find a way.
To this end, I insist on the following guidelines:
1. Civil discourse only. While I am tolerant of disagreement, I am NOT tolerant of the following:
a) Foul language – I was going to say bad language, but I am not going to correct grammar or spelling.
b) Ad Hominem attacks – no attacking a person to refute an argument. Besides being mean and useless, this blog is about ideas. Though you may not like a person, even a broken clock is correct twice a day.
2. Logical arguments only – You may not argue using fallacious methodology. The concepts of logic and logical fallacies have been around for about 2500 years, so they have withstood the test of time. If you don’t know what logical fallacies are, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacies#Irrelevant_Conclusion for an excellent discussion. I will refer to these when necessary.
3. Arguments based on authority – an appeal to authority, including the Bible, is not a logical argument. I frequently use the Bible as an illustration or introduction, but I do not believe something just because it in there. Certainly, I don’t believe something because someone on radio said it. Ayn Rand is not an authority on anything.
4. Rants. Be succinct.
5. Unproven facts. If you assert something as fact, be prepared to cite your source. Otherwise no one must accept it as fact.
6. Attacks on patriotism. Assume that all American’s are patriotic and want the best for our county and citizens. See below.
7. Accurately restate and understand a differing opinion. Do not restate an opinion in a way that is easy to attack just to make your argument look better. Your argument must stand or fall on its own merit. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principle_of_charity You must assume the most charitable argument of someone with whom you disagree. Not to do so does not lead to finding grounds of agreement and compromise.
8. No off topic remarks. All debate must be germane and relevant.
10. No trolls. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_(Internet)
11. Cite whenever possible. Use primary sources when possible.
12. Fact check. See websites such as www.snopes.com
13. Please read the following: http://www.limbicnutrition.com/blog/resources/a-code-of-conduct-for-effective-rational-discussion for other good guidelines for discussion.
14. Burden of proof is on the person asserting a principle or fact. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophic_burden_of_proof
15. Liberal or conservative is just a label not a dirty word.
a) Liberals are not inherently communist or socialist. See 6, 7, and 8. If you have a problem with this, go away.
b) Conservatives are not inherently evil. See 6, 7, and 8. If you have a problem with this, go away.
16. I have full control over what will appear on this blog. My house, my rules.
I look forward to civil, positive discussion.
The Palmetto Bug