Under the American system of justice, the accused are assumed innocent until proven guilty. This is what a trial is for. This isn’t just a concoction of those that write the laws; it represents a fundamental component of logic. How else other than a trial can the truth be known? Unfortunately, it seems that most people are quick to judge – both those in the jury box and those at home. In many arenas of life, people have no concept of the burden of proof. It never ceases to amaze me the assumptions that people make without evidence, people who then insist it is up to me to prove them wrong. I am just as easily fooled as anyone else when tricked or lied to, but at least my starting point is to believe nothing.
If people required evidence before jumping to conclusions, racism would be impossible. People would understand that millions of members of a particular race being clearly inferior has no bearing on whether a particular individual of that race is inferior. All people are individuals first and are artificially assigned group status second. Are all men created equal? I don’t know, but no one has ever proven to me otherwise. Thus, I have no choice but to continue to treat them as such. Equality is the default. Since politicians are flesh-and-bone beings like ourselves, I cannot recognize that politicians know better how to run our lives than we do ourselves. The burden of proof is on them to show they know better and that we can not be trusted to run our own lives.
I have many political beliefs accumulated over the years from absorbing information from multiple sources, but ultimately my political philosophy is best summed up as saying I have no political philosophy. I’m not always against starting new government programs or passing new laws, but nor can I be for them unless I am given a reason to believe that the benefits outweigh the costs. This rarely happens. The burden of proof is on those introducing new measures, not on those holding to the status quo. This principle dictates that we should not start anything new until the idea has been fully vetted and shown to be necessary. Those wanting things to stay the same have no equivalent obligation to explain their position.
I question the utility of every measure not because I am a utilitarian but because that is what someone without a political philosophy would do. I question any changes to the status quo not because I am a conservative but because this is also what someone without a political philosophy would do. This is sometimes made complicated by the status quo being built up from past deviations from sound judgment, and on these issues there can be legitimate disagreement and dialogue, but this only applies to those changes which reduce the amount of established propositions. On those issues concerning the addition of new propositions, I cannot support them until I see the facts. This is not a matter of having a libertarian political philosophy; it is a matter of logic.
Libertarianism is the default.
My name is Dan. I am an author, artist, explorer, and contemplator of subjects large and small.