Nelson: North Dakota needs real conservatives
"Senators John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer exemplify the problem, They voted for the $1.2 trillion so-called infrastructure law last year. Every penny of it is borrowed," writes InForum columnist Ross Nelson. "Did your income and savings lose nearly a tenth of their spending power in one, count it, one year? Say thank you in part to our “conservative” Senators."
Now that the latest election season is upon us, North Dakotans should consider voting not just for Republicans but for conservatives. The run-of-the-mill North Dakota GOP member can only be considered conservative relative to the crackpot leftists who comprise the Democratic party. Republicans who voted to enlarge the state's budget dollar for incoming dollar during the oil boom are in no real sense conservative. They spent like drunken Democrats.
A major tenet of conservatism, which is why it's so unpopular, is that government spending should be minimized even if the revenue exists to bloat the budget every year. Some government is necessary; juggernaut government, even if fundable, always entails the stifling of liberty.
Senators John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer exemplify the problem. They voted for the $1.2 trillion so-called infrastructure law last year. Every penny of it is borrowed. All of it is covered by a huge expansion of bogus bucks — which have been a Biden administration specialty — and will ensure that inflation remains high. Did your income and savings lose nearly a tenth of their spending power in one, count it, one year? Say thank you in part to our “conservative” Senators.
Never mind that a bridge needing fixing in Rhode Island is none of North Dakota's concern or business, and vice versa. Spending is in every circle of the Democrats and Republicans' Venn diagrams.
A conservative is aware of and learns from experience and unintended consequences. Liberals and Conservative Inc. members do not. Haven't our Senators, who full-throatedly favor meddling in Ukraine to the point that we have an Airborne Division practically on Ukraine's border preparing for war, learned anything from our blood-drenched intervention in WWI which led directly to WWII, from our war against Serbia, from Vietnam to Somalia and beyond? Hasn't America done enough damage to the world and its civilians?
Conservatism comes in different flavors. The European type is different from the American, the latter involving the Constitution. Edmund Burke, Russell Kirk, Willmore Kendall's populist conservatism, Frank Meyer's fusionism, and many others show the variety. But they typically tend to favor limited government and spending, tried and true traditions, and gradual social change: “If change is not necessary, it is necessary to not change.”
The Forum's editorial board and Rob Port's charge that the ”Bastiat Caucus” is a fringe group is right in one sense: conservatism in North Dakota is very much on the outside. But of course they mean it pejoratively — you know, right-wing rock-ribbed kook conspiracists radical Gadsden nuts. They should read Bastiat's “The Law” before judging. Indeed, many who pose as conservatives wouldn't know conservatism if it banged their empty heads together. If the Bastiat Caucus hasn't been effective, it's because of its few members, and that's because bedrock conservatism isn't widely accepted in this state.
Take Senate candidate Rick Becker 's views right from the Forum. He's against corporate welfare. Didn't liberals used to be also before becoming toadies to megacorporations? He rejects overspending and the consequent inflation coupled with Leviathan government. Quacks (my term, not Becker's) like Anthony Fauci would be held responsible for the damage they've done. Collaboration isn't the goal except when it leads to increased freedom. No more shifting leftward in order to get along.
Really radical extremist stuff, eh? We do have a choice this election.
Nelson lives in Casselton, N.D., and is a regular contributor to The Forum’s opinion page. Email him at email@example.com .
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.