Arnold Kling’s Principles

1. We weave a thread of self-reliance into a sturdy fabric of interdependence. By respecting the law, we reinforce impersonal justice. By competing intensely and fairly in an impersonal global market, we raise our standard of living through specialization and innovation. By upholding Constitutional principles for limited government, we sustain our individual freedom.

I am not sure I have grasped what it all means.

2. We are creative and pro-active in helping one another. We do not have the patience to wait for government, nor do we want to be lulled into passivity by the promise of government. Instead, to solve those problems that require collective action, we form voluntary associations, including civic groups, corporations, clubs, standards-setting bodies, consumer information services, and charitable foundations.

Agree fully.

3. Government must be kept in its place. We hold government officials to high standards of competence, honesty, and fairness. However, we do not confuse government with family. We do not confuse government with religion. We do not confuse government with business. We are conscious that any expansion of government responsibility, however well-intended, crowds out those institutions that are the true bulwark of our society.

I disagree with the last sentence.  Many expansions of government, for instance tax incentives and foundation law, boost civil societyRelative to current political debates, however, I am on Arnold’s side.

4. We celebrate the successes of others. We are glad when an entrepreneur becomes wealthy by finding a way to fill a customer need. We are glad when an immigrant family climbs the ladder of success. We are glad when people living in other countries make economic progress and spur us to innovate and improve.

Fully agree.

Ethical Principles

5. Government cannot legislate morality, but it does mess with the incentives. Those incentives should never be tilted against the institution of the family whose mission is to raise children to be fine, upstanding citizens.

I don’t think all incentives should favor families, for instance higher education should be priced, unlike in much of Europe, and divorce should be fairly easy.

6. We maintain an ongoing conversation about morality and ethics. This conversation is informed by the Ten Commandments and Biblical scripture. It is informed by the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, and Dr. Martin Luther King’s "I have a dream" speech. It is vital to continue the conversation, even when consensus is difficult.

The Ten Commandments are pretty tricky, first there are eleven of them presented in the Bible, second they are presented in three different versions, third I would consider worshipping graven idols.

7. Like new businesses, new moral ideals can revitalize our society, even though many of them fail. For example, we recognize that we are a better people without racial segregation or barriers to the education and career opportunities for women. However, we judge some social experiments to be failures, including eugenics, Communism, and nihilistic cultural relativism.

A mouthful.  What about non-nihilistic cultural relativism?  Does that have a place?  Do arranged Indian marriages count as eugenics?

International Principles

8. Our ideology does not have to be sustained by military suppression. Although it can inspire people to fight against tyranny, ultimately our ideology allows us to live in peace.

What is "military suppression"?  The U.S. military should not have to suppress American citizens but it should try to prevent China from taking over Taiwan.  I doubt if permanent peace is possible, though I wish it were.

9. We believe that people all over the world yearn for liberty, and for them we stand as a beacon and a champion. But we recognize that freedom is not ours to give when community leaders are not ready to seize the opportunity that it offers.

I am never sure how many people really yearn for liberty.  I wish more of them did.

10. When foreign leaders issue threats against us, we take them at their word and act accordingly.

I am not sure words are the best way of reading true intentions.  Many threats are issued for domestic consumption, or are best ignored.  Some real villains stay pretty silent.

This is Tyler answering, by the way, not Tyrone.  I feel what is missing is a more explicit platform about the importance of long-run economic growth, plus there should be greater consideration given to dealing with catastrophic events such as pandemics, natural disasters, nuclear terrorism, and so on.


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