Priorities.

What are the true values in life? Philosophical question, eh? Well, everyone has one's own answer to this question. If you wish, you may read mine.

I believe that there are very few absolute values in the world, values that are worth fighting for. The main ones are as follows:

Freedom (and privacy).
This includes everything guaranteed by the Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments to the US Constitution), as well as everything else that is deemed necessary by the person in question and which doesn't infringe upon other persons' rights (vagueness intentional).
Life.
This should be quite obvious: Lo Tirtsach (Hebrew) - thou shall not murder. Another, not so obvious part, is that one must protect one's own life. Therefore it is incumbent upon Israel to defend herself from the ongoing Arab aggression!
Knowledge.
People have striven for scientific knowledge for centuries, and its importance is not limited to the the support of Freedom and Life.

The order here is important, namely, (my) freedom is more valuable (for me) that (my) life, while life is more important than knowledge (thus I do support war-related research since it is necessary to protect freedom - the nuclear weapons prevented the communists from taking over the world).

I did not include here democracy because it has only subsidiary value as the best tool available to protect freedom. Whenever a totalitarian party comes to power in a democratic fashion (like Nazis in Germany), I would drop the democracy, if the alternative would protect freedom better. (Thus I would tend to support the military rule in Algiers - however bad, it seems to be better than the alternative - the Islamist government).

Winston Churchill: "...democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time". He also said that "the best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter". I have to agree with both of these statements with one exception: I believe that the government of a righteous king (like such kings of Israel as David, Shlomo and Asa), who is anointed by a prophet, and whose rule is moderated by a Sanhedrin (the Supreme Court) is better than a democracy. May we merit the coming of the Mashiach - speedily, in our days! (Note that God is the lawgiver, so there is no need for a legislature; just the Judicial to explain and interpret the Law and the Executive to enforce it.)

Money has only subsidiary value too - as long as it supports Freedom, Life or Knowledge.

Freedom and Responsibility

There can be neither responsibility nor commitment without freedom. It is not for nothing that a slave cannot enter into a binding contract. If a person doesn't have (internal) freedom, s/he is unable to take responsibility or make a commitment. And if a person doesn't LOVE freedom, s/he doesn't understand what responsibility means, and cannot be trusted with his/her commitments.

Freedom and Equality

The 4 freedoms of FDR (freedom of conscience, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear) are included in my concept of freedom, but it is not limited to them.

Equal rights before the law are a part of freedom (actually, can it be classified as freedom from want/fear?) This includes "equal opportunity" but not "affirmative action".

The proponents of "affirmative action" claim that they are fighting for "equal rights for women/blacks/whoever". Martin Luther King once said that "Anti-Zionism" is a euphemism for anti-semitism. Similarly, "equal rights for a group" is a euphemism for "special privileges for the group". Equal rights are for everyone, not just for your favorite oppressed minority. Otherwise you are quoting Orwell: "All animals are equal but some are more equal".

Besides, I doubt the whole concept of "rights of a group". Individuals have rights, and their individual rights are more important than any rights a group might claim.

The discrimination must be shown in individual cases (like the individual named X passed for promotion in favor of the individual named Y of inferior skills). We should not accept "statistical evidence", otherwise we will have to admit that the NBA discriminates against the whites.

And don't you dare tell me that I do not know what it is to be discriminated against! I know. I am a Jew, born in the Soviet Union. I could not go to the Moscow State University because I am Jewish. And I am not asking for an affirmative action because of that.

The bottom line

Plato (428-348 BCE) in Republic showed that a society cannot be free, fair and equal at the same time: if it is fair (meaning that the same work would bring the same benefits), more gifted people would be earning more, if it is free, they will bequeath their fortunes to their children, making the society unequal since some people will own what they did not earn. Throughout the history, people tried to tackle this problem, usually via taxes on earnings and inheritance. The most radical were the communists, who abandoned all three parameters. It would seem that the most consistent position would be to keep freedom and fairness and just forget about equality.

If you brush off their rhetoric, you might think this is what the Libertarian Party is saying. You can take the quiz to see whether you are a libertarian too. The results of the quiz are also interesting...

Big Government. Small Brains. Dumb Laws.

The IQ of a group is the IQ if its most stupid member divided by the number of the members of the group.
Exercise: compute the IQ of your state's legislature.

This shows in the laws they make, and in the things they say. Presiden Bush keeps talking about tax cuts when 15% of the federal expenditure goes to service the national debt. Pay off the debt and cut the taxes by 15%! And simplify the tax code! Abolish all tax deductions and tax everyone at the same rate: tax = 0.2 * (income - $10,000 * (family size)) This way the poor will pay less than they are paying now and the rich will pay more - and this will be fair!