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Principles and what they mean.

The current Republican administration and their ilk speak of "values" as though only Republicans have them, and as though all values are equally laudable. Merely valuing one kind of thing over another does not give us a secure way forward, otherwise the Constitution would merely be an assemblage of "we like," and "we want" statements. Actions that are unprincipled may produce short-term gains, but principles are valued because they are subject to being tested to see whether they produce long-term good results.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident," is the lead-in to a list of principles. Those who want a just, fair, life-affirming community should consider carefully the grounding of their policy choices. Below are listed a ranked set of principles that have stood the test of time.

The (open) List:

Major Principles

  • Equality before the law.
  • One person, one vote.
  • What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. (Immanuel Kant says it more eloquently.)
  • The maximum punishment is equal to or less than the damage done by the crime. (Lex talonis didn't say the victim must exact the maximum allowable penalty.)
  • Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Corollary: What goes around comes around.

Secondary Principles

  • Look before you leap (or declare a war to avenge your Pappy).
  • Always forgive. Never forget."
Corollary:Let forgiveness set in. (Herb Caen, S.F. Chronicle, ca. 1967)
  • Beware of doing counterproductive things. (We learned this lesson in Vietnam. It would seem that most of the people who learned that lesson died without having passed it on. So here we are again.)
Corollary: Powell's law: You break it, you gotta pay for it.
  • Fix problems while they're small.
Corollary: Crash programs are exponentially more expensive than preventative maintenance.
  • A great pride cometh before a mighty fall. (Note it well, Donald Duck.)
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