Nelson: A response to my critics

Nelson responds to critics of a few 2020 columns

Ross Nelson.jpg

At the close of this dark year it's time to clear the slate and clean the Augean stables of my critics' thinking. I won't try the reader's patience by extolling the wonderful things fans tell me (and it would be a very short column if I did).

After I chided the media for their inability to exclude bias from news reporting, that is, to do their jobs competently, a critic maintained that I was mistaken to think that reporters should treat Donald Trump impartially. It's disturbing and yet refreshing that some Americans openly admit that bigotry has a place in reporting the news. A CBS “news” report Nov. 15th stated “the president's baseless accusations of election fraud....” That's opining, not reporting, even if possibly true. Since university journalism departments seem incapable of teaching their students to be other than biased drones, let me help CBS do its job, e.g.: “the president's accusations of election fraud...” or “the president's accusations of election fraud which he didn't substantiate at the time....” I'll mail the bill.

Another critic struggling with illiteracy thought my column on the connection between women's suffrage and gargantuan government was just a case of correlation, when I explicitly acknowledged correlation but that John Lott made a powerful case for causation. Women tend to vote differently from men on things such as taxes, justice, welfare, etc. Given that propensity, it follows that the more women who vote the greater government likely expands. As Thoreau said, if you find a trout in a bucket of milk you can assume it was more than just random coincidence. There was a cause.

My friend Jon Lindgren, former Fargo mayor, took my column on the Constitution to task. Only his comments on religion, America, and the Constitution will be considered here because his misperception is so widespread. America was not founded as a theocracy, unlike Iran, England (technically the monarch is also titular head of the Church of England), and others. Nonetheless, America was settled by Christians and its law founded on Christian principles. Harry Truman repeatedly referred to America as a “Christian nation,” as have numerous judges, congressmen, and other presidents. Folks, this just isn't that hard a distinction to make: that secular America was founded on Christianity is distinct from being led by a prophet or some ordained church.

Stash Hempeck, in his usual restrained style, calls my summoning the Danish study on the inefficacy of masks against COVID “pompous.” Odd that using reputable science would be so termed. Both the study and the British Medical Journal commenting on it said the case for masking was “inconclusive,” as in doubtful, unconfirmed, indecisive. QED. Hempeck drags up possible COVID long-term effects (all serious diseases can have lifelong effects) and deaths, which are irrelevant to the topic of Kelby Krabbenhoft's assertion of immunity. We can only imagine that Hempeck is appealing to emotion and not reason, as if we haven't had enough Chicken Little hysteria already.


Of course he ignores the mountain of empirical data on the failures of masking and lockdowns in stopping COVID. Truth matters, Stash.

Nelson lives in Casselton, N.D., and is a regular contributor to The Forum’s opinion page. Email him at

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.

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