Last week, Sen. Oley Larsen, R-Minot, did a victory lap celebrating the North Dakota House's rejection of a primary seat belt bill. For those unfamiliar, a quick introduction...
Oley's the guy who tried to force Bible studies into the curriculum. Oley doesn't believe in separation of church and state. He believes in separation of logic and legislation. His Bible bill didn't so much fail as get hooted out of the Senate — evidence that 42 out of 47 senators have sold their souls to The Devil. Or Harold Hamm. Somebody like that.
Oley has also been named by his peers as having the “Most Interesting Hair” in three consecutive legislative sessions. His hairstyle might be described as “Gelled Windstorm,” which would also be a dandy name for an 80's cover band. His official portrait looks like he rode a Jet Ski to the studio. Frankly, I'm suspicious of Oley's hair. He should take notes from John Hoeven, who has real Republican hair. Hair you can trust.
Anyway, SB 2060 would have allowed cops to ticket you for not wearing your seat belt, presumably by employing law enforcement spidey senses as they met you on the highway at a closing speed of 200 feet-per-second. Paranoid Libertarians — perhaps I'm being redundant — worried that the police state would exploit the law to target suspicious looking drivers. You know, those of us not wearing seed hats or Stetsons. It'd be fine if they concentrated on hybrids with out-of-state plates that might be smuggling in socialism.
“Many supporters of the Nanny State rose to defend the bill,” Oley said on Facebook. “The arguments were typical… the State must protect us from ourselves. Thankfully, the majority of the House stood firm and rejected the bill on a 38-54 vote.” He's right. This safety conspiracy could snowball. Eventually we could be forced to wear helmets, and I can't begin to imagine what that would do to Oley's hair.
I responded to Oley: “In keeping with your strict anti-Nanny State stance, I assume you'll vote to allow businesses to be open Sundays instead having the Nanny State dictate to them.”
He replied, “I think you have a firm grip on my voting record, and you know very well how I will vote.” Yes. For onerous regulations. In support of big government. Against capitalism. Sounds pretty Nanny Statey to me. You disappoint me, Oley... you and your liberal hair.
There must be something in the holy water up there. Rep. Jeff Hoverson, R-Minot, said, “We (once) had a moral society because the government was small because it depended on the church.” Yeah, I miss the ethics of Governor Jesus and the 12 Legislators. If HB 1097 passes, Hoverson declared, “Church attendance will drop, and there goes your morality.”
Reality check. A 2005 study in The Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion by C. Kirk Hadaway and Penny Long Marler calculated the percentage of regular church-goers at fewer than 22 percent. Yet, this dwindling minority continues to archaically mandate store closures because they think you should be in church. Sorry, Nanny Staters, that Jet Ski has sailed.
Tony Bender writes an exclusive weekly column for Forum News Service.