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Provocateur-turned-politician Jason Lewis finding that past comments can haunt the present

MinnPost photo by Brian Lambert
As a local and national talk-show host, Jason Lewis filled hours of airtime with conservative commentary that outraged and entertained.

In the summer of 1996, when Barbara Carlson’s ex-husband, Arne Carlson, was running for re-election, the then-KSTP talk-radio host decided that was the best moment to describe their sexual relationship, divulge their marital woes, imply that he hadn’t served in the military, and — not coincidentally — launch a new book.

And this was from a woman who supported Arne’s re-election bid.

Barbara was outrageous and entertaining. And as the governor’s communications director at the time, I had to remind Arne — constantly — that provocation was the No. 1 rule of talk radio. When he became upset that Barbara didn’t back down, I had to reminded him about the No. 2 rule of talk radio: Never apologize.

Minnesota Second Congressional District Republican congressional candidate Jason Lewis learned those same rules at KSTP, the broadcasting umbrella where he, Barbara Carlson, and I all worked.

As a local and national talk-show host, Lewis filled hours of airtime with conservative commentary that outraged and entertained. And while that background may play well with the delegates in the district who determine who gets the GOP nomination, his Republican opponents have found plenty to complain about.

The replay surfaced when Star Tribune blogger Michael Brodkorb published comments Lewis made on his radio show in 2012 about the dispute over health-care coverage for birth-control pills.

I never thought in my lifetime where’d you have so many single, or I should say, yeah single women who would vote on the issue of somebody else buying their diaphragm. This is a country in crisis. Those women are ignorant in, I mean, the most generic way. I don’t mean that to be a pejorative. They are simply ignorant of the important issues in life. Somebody’s got to educate them. [Audio here]

There’s something about young, single women where they’re behaving like Stepford wives. They walk in lock step – is that really the most important thing to a 25-year old unmarried woman – uh getting me to pay for her pills? Seriously?! Is that what we’ve been reduced to? You can be bought off for that? [Audio here]

You’ve got a vast majority of young single women who couldn’t explain to you what GDP means. You know what they care about? They care about abortion. They care about abortion and gay marriage. They care about ‘The View.’ They are non-thinking. [Audio here]

As a man who’s poked at pols most of his career, Lewis did seem a bit surprised that the tables turned so quickly. “Where is the context?” he asked. “I am not opposed to birth control. The issue was who should pay for it, and whether someone is constitutionally entitled to have birth control paid for.”

But he didn’t stay defensive for long. “Was I provocative? Yes,” he said. “Was I wrong? Absolutely not.”

Being absolutely right is Jason Lewis’s brand. He challenges the left and the center — and sometimes history.

“Slavery was mercifully conquered,” he wrote in his book, “Power Divided is Power Checked: The Argument for States’ Rights,” published in 2012. But he also questioned whether abolishment of slavery was a sufficient enough cause for President Lincoln to trample on the rights of southern states.

(Later, Lewis got back to me. “I take issue with … your line questioning whether ‘the abolishment of slavery was worth trampling states rights, etc. I never said, wrote or insinuated that,” he said in an email.  “What I did question is whether the war or emancipated compensation [paying slave owners to give up slaves] was the best way to eliminate slavery.”)

His columns for the Star Tribune, praising the filibuster and decrying the Occupy Wall Street movement, regularly drew withering responses from MinnPost writer Eric Black, who faintly praised Lewis for his “self-blinding brilliance.”

As a commentator, Jason Lewis never conceded. Furthermore, he used protest to prove that his opponents were illogical whiners. “Everybody has a grievance. We have a multiplicity of grievances that is going unabated,” he said, brushing off concerns that his comments will damage him politically. “In this society obsessed with grievance somebody is going to claim to be offended, but people are smart enough to recognize when it’s a hit.”

In his view, that’s what his opponents did in criticizing his remarks on birth control.

“What’s interesting is how quickly they adopted the war-on-women narrative,” he said. “I am not opposed to birth control. I am opposed to anybody saying you need to pay for what I want.”

He knows that Democrats are already preparing a thick file that will be used against him should he become the Republican nominee. But Lewis claims he never “took a position that I couldn’t defend then and can’t defend now.”

He may even benefit by the rules that seem to be governing politics today. Never apologize. Continue to provoke. Sometimes entertain.

Comments (59)

  1. Submitted by Beth-Ann Bloom on 02/23/2016 - 09:28 am.

    The real questions

    What we should be asking is:
    Do provocateurs govern well?
    Will Mr Lewis’ shock jock style serve the people of Minnesota well in the delicate negotiations and writing of law and policy in the US House of Representatives?
    Can the Second Congressional District do better than this?

  2. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/23/2016 - 09:52 am.


    Mr. Lewis is indeed a provocateur, but deep down, he’s pretty shallow. It is easy for him to snipe at targets on the radio, but let’s hear him talk about real policy. Let’s see if he really is as smart as he pretends to be (I know how I’m betting).

    As far as his dismissal of “whiners” goes, Mr. Lewis would do well to invest in a mirror. What is his whole shtick if not whining? “The government is so mean to me! They’re taking MY money! It’s not fair!” Illogical thinking and whining are his stocks in trade.

  3. Submitted by Leon Webster on 02/23/2016 - 10:13 am.

    “Lewis filled hours of airtime with conservative commentary that outraged and entertained…” and the Republican party is reaping the harvest of that entertainment and outrage(but not much education or thoughtful discussion) in the candidacy of Donald Trump. I wonder how many of Trump’s followers, or for that matter, Jason Lewis’ listeners know what GDP is.

  4. Submitted by Brian Simon on 02/23/2016 - 11:34 am.

    Finding resolution

    Bruce Bartlett, a self labeled moderate and veteran the the Reagan and Bush 41 administrations, writes in politico that he will vote for Trump in pusuit of a return to moderation. The argument is that a Trump candidacy will result in a Goldwater-esq thumping in the general election, relegating the Tea Party know nothings back into obscurity. I put Mr Lewis’ candidacy in that category. Good luck!

    • Submitted by Harris Goldstein on 02/24/2016 - 09:13 am.

      Probably true. But a bit like playing Russian roulette. The odds are in your favor but, if wrong, the outcome is catastrophic.

  5. Submitted by Mike Downing on 02/23/2016 - 11:50 am.

    Al Franken was a provocateur…

    Al Franken was a provocateur on the bankrupt Air America shock radio station. Did Minnesotans hold that against Al Frankin or did Minnesotans elect Al Frankin to the US Senate?

    • Submitted by Virginia Martin on 02/23/2016 - 12:29 pm.

      Al Franken as provacateur

      That is one I’ve never heard about Senator Franken (not Frankin; if you don’t know how to spell his name, what else don’t you know about him?). On the other hand, I have read (or tried to read) Lewis’ occasional editorials in the Star Trib and came away mostly perplexed. .
      You ever read any of Franken’s books? Everything he says is supported by facts, footnotes, citations, and the like. More than you can say for Lewis or his ilk.
      Oh, and, “shock radio.” What shocked you about it? I know. The truth. That is shocking to some people I guess.
      I think this is all of a piece with the Trump-Cruz-Rubio people. I also try to read what they think about U.S. policy and what we should do and I don’t understand any of that, either.Doesn’t compute with reality.
      Reminds me of my deceased parents, who were Republicans (although my mother started voting Democratic after my wonderful but deluded father died). They used to say after hearing something Hubert Humphrey said, “What did he say? I have no idea what he said.” HHH was one of the most knowledgeable and informed people in politics. They simply could not or did not listen (or concentrate).

      • Submitted by joe smith on 02/24/2016 - 08:59 am.

        Lewis vs Stuart Smally

        I will take Lewis every day in a debate vs Franken. We elected a SNL act and the rest of the country laughs at us.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/24/2016 - 09:13 am.

          Who is laughing?

          Senator Franken has deliberately kept a low national profile. If anything, I would say he projects a better image for Minnesota than the empty suit he replaced.

  6. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 02/23/2016 - 12:26 pm.

    I don’t see anyone disageeing

    with his arguments.

    When you have the facts on your side, argue the facts. When you have the law on your side, argue the law. When you have neither, pound the table and call the messenger names.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/23/2016 - 12:51 pm.


      Much of Mr. Lewis’s “arguments” are nothing more than the outpourings of a naughty little boy who wants to shock the grown-ups. Some of them are beneath contempt. Here’s a recent “argument” put forth by this deep thinker:

      In fact, if you really want to be quite frank about it, how does somebody else owning a slave affect me? It doesn’t. If I don’t think it is right, I won’t own one, and people always say ‘well if you don’t want to marry somebody of the same sex, you don’t have to, but why tell somebody else they can’t. Uh, you know if you don’t want to own a slave, don’t. But don’t tell other people they can’t.

      No one should need to waste their time disagreeing with something like that.

    • Submitted by Ellen Hoerle on 02/23/2016 - 01:40 pm.

      So I’ll explain it to you.

      Birth control pills and almost all female forms of birth control are drugs or items that must be prescribed or inserted or fitted by a physician and/or obtained through a pharmacy. If one is resentful that he has to pay for drugs that women must use to control their reproductive organs, then one is drawing a line that distinguishes and discriminates against women for having a different body part than men–a uterus. And the next question is why draw the line at being resentful of paying for drugs that women use because they have a uterus and not draw the line at being resentful against paying for all surgeries and medical events that deal with the uterus, such as hysterectomies and INCLUDING pregnancy, thank you very much. To slice and dice women up into body parts and say ‘I resent having to pay for medicine that affects one particular body part’ is insulting. But the reason Lewis is not willing to apologize or reconsider his remarks is because no one has ever explained to him that that is what he is doing. He’s picking and choosing which body parts deserve medical expenditures and which ones don’t based on a person’s sex.

      Before the ACA, insurance companies would not pay for birth control pills unless there was another medical reason besides preventing pregnancy that could be documented by a physician. Also, it is my understanding that insurance companies got by with charging women more on the individual market (not employer provided market).

      “This is a country in crisis. Those women are ignorant in, I mean, the most generic way. I don’t mean that to be a pejorative. They are simply ignorant of the important issues in life. Somebody’s got to educate them.”


      To a woman, pregnancy is the MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE in LIFE. Period. That Jason Lewis can’t seem to understand that makes me feel sorry for his wife and his daughters. Pregnancy is a big deal to a woman. It affects your health, your body, your future, your relationship with the world, with the child, with the father of the child in ways that are unfathomable and unexplainable to someone like Lewis. He doesn’t care and he never will. But most women do care about pregnancy because they understand the short-term and long-term implications of pregnancy. That’s why they want to control when it happens and the most effective methods to do so require drugs or medical devices that must be prescribed by a doctor.

      But we can’t expect someone like Jason Lewis to ever consider the short or long term implications or consequences of his actions, like saying insulting things and refusing to reconsider or apologize. Let’s hope the voters in the 2nd district set him straight–let’s hope slicing and dicing women into specific body parts has negative political consequences.

    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 02/23/2016 - 01:49 pm.


      Disagreeing with Lewis’ arguments is like disagreeing with dog vomit. While both are disagreeable, putting together a summary of why a person shouldn’t like them is a waste of time. That being said, unlike Lewis’ arguments, at least dog vomit usually has a pretty solid foundation.

    • Submitted by Lindsey Wallace on 02/23/2016 - 03:11 pm.

      Those aren’t arguments

      First of all, Lewis raved about how young women are stupid and all they care about is who pays for their birth control. There’s nothing worth arguing there. It is a sexist generalization made by someone who is clearly out of touch.

      Second, medication should be covered equally by health insurance regardless of its use. Women know their own bodies and their own futures, they should be able to prevent pregnancy if that’s what they want to do. It’s absurd that women used to need a reason for birth control besides pregnancy prevention to have it covered by insurance. Women want to have sex and they don’t want to get pregnant. Deal with it.

      • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 02/23/2016 - 09:35 pm.


        “Second, medication should be covered equally by health insurance regardless of its use.”
        Won’t the abusers of painkillers be glad!

        “It’s absurd that women used to need a reason for birth control besides pregnancy prevention to have it covered by insurance. Women want to have sex and they don’t want to get pregnant. Deal with it.”
        Thankfully, with California leading the way, birth control pills should soon be available over the counter without a prescription. Which means insurance won’t have to cover the cost.

        Something that is genuinely absurd is that the ACA requires insurance companies to pay for birth control for women, but won’t pay men for their birth control (condoms for one).

        • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 02/24/2016 - 08:43 am.

          Here is genuinely absurd:

          Let’s federally reimburse 75 cents stuck into a vending machine in the men’s room at a local convenience store.

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 02/24/2016 - 10:43 am.


          Last I checked, should I opt for the big v, my insurance will cover it. There some other method I’m unfamiliar with?

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/24/2016 - 04:57 pm.

            Tubes Tied

            I am pretty sure a tubal-ligation was covered previously also. So?

            What I am amazed by is that women feel so strongly about this. They pay for temporary birth control out of pocket or they pay more in insurance premiums so that they can have the insurance company pay for it. What is the big deal?

            I have a wife and 3 daughters , so I am pretty sure I am paying a lot for birth control via premiums…

            I am personally indifferent to this topic, however I find it fascinating. I keep trying to think of other medicines that insurance covers to stop a body from performing in a healthy and normal manner? (ie monthly cycle)

            I mean if people want to protest, how about we work to mandate that healthcare coverage covers dental and eye sight issues… Now those are some big costs…

            • Submitted by Matt Haas on 02/24/2016 - 08:54 pm.

              Heard of steroids?

              Or pretty much any pain med ever invented? (You do understand that pain and inflammation are the bodies natural response to injury, right?) Of course, since the intent of opinions such as Lewis’s have next to nothing to do with actual practical medical concerns, but rather with conservative social and moral engineering, the point is moot.

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/24/2016 - 11:02 pm.


                I think the word “pain” says it all. I don’t think pain is an acceptable natural state. Also, most pain killers are over the counter now and paid for directly by the consumer.

                Ironically I just posted a similar view on Tuesday… Though I question how you know Jason’s intent?

                I could just as easily determine that the pro-free birth control folks here are performing “social and moral engineering’. Soon our society will be a bunch of free love non-monogamous people end up broke in single parent households. Oops, maybe we are too late. 🙂

                • Submitted by Matt Haas on 02/25/2016 - 09:39 am.


                  Somewhat of a leap between insurance coverage of birth control and a 60’s style orgiastic free for all, but thanks for illustrating the inanity of the conservative position here. BTW pain is what keeps you from doing more damage to yourself, it is no less “natural” than anything else, and last I checked there are whole classes of pain medications, opioids being the most obvious, that are neither going over the counter any time soon nor barred from insurance coverage for spurious religious reasons. There simply is no argument to be made against the coverage for birth control that doesn’t rest solely on an authoritative, pearl-clutching, moral basis. Much like same-sex marriage, conservatism has no leg to stand on here. Finally, as to intent, I believe there are several years worth of bloviating, much of it recorded, that can be used to judge intent for the “celebrity” in question. Such are the pitfalls of broadcasting one’s opinions for public consumption, and personal profit.

                  • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/25/2016 - 11:57 am.

                    Inanity: “lack of sense, significance, or ideas; silliness”

                    I enjoy being in the middle and watching this from both sides. You accuse the Conservatives of social and moral engineering while the Liberals promote increased taxation, welfare, birth control, abortion, etc. All of which have made HUGE changes in our culture and society over the past 50 years. And as my link shows, not necessarily all for the better.

                    It is kind of like listening to the pot call the kettle black.

                    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 02/25/2016 - 01:58 pm.


                      If one subscribes to the belief that movement in the direction you purport is deviation from what “should be”. I look on with disbelief as those who actually hold views that closely align with one side or another haughtily claim the “middle” as a means of distancing their “pure and righteous” motivations from the sullying of association with the dirty partisans they perceive all others to be.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/25/2016 - 04:27 pm.

                      The Middle

                      That first sentence still has me scratching my head. So Liberals believe we should have more welfare, birth control, sexual freedom and abortion availability. And these have increased greatly over the past 50 years, as has the number of single parent households and the challenges associated with only having one parent in the house. Is this as you think it “should be”?

                      As for the middle, as long as Liberals call me a Conservative and Conservatives call me a Liberal, I am pretty sure I am close to center. The fact that Romney, Jeb Bush, Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton are the candidates I have been drawn to also supports that.

                      Personally, I think birth control, emergency contraception and first term abortions should be CHEAP and readily available. However I think that if a woman who is already on welfare bears a child, the government should require that the Mother / Family give it up for adoption. If you can not afford to raise the child responsibly, they should not be having more than one…

                      If you truly want to stop generational poverty, ensure children have what they need to be successful and to close the achievement gap… This radical concept makes sense.

                    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 02/25/2016 - 04:52 pm.

                      Forced adoption for the poor

                      Yep, right down the middle there. Hows about we deal with the backlog in kids waiting for adoption first before we start breaking up families whose lifestyles we find objectionable, ok? OR we focus on elimnating poverty, you know, the cause (not the effect) of all these social ills you find so disagreeable. Oops, that might involve someone getting something conservatives think they don’t deserve, so there you go.

  7. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 02/23/2016 - 03:16 pm.

    Surely Ms. Brucato isn’t suggesting that Mr. Lewis thinks what he has said in the past should be ignored or forgotten, now that he is trying to attract votes from the thinking population!

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/24/2016 - 05:14 pm.


      I think that the people who liked his Conservative and Garage Logic views will vote for him. I think the Liberals and other opponents will try to take his statements out of context to mislead folks. That is how politics seems to work now days, I mean look at the comments to this post. I am happy to say I am not running for office since I like to challenge the extremist thinking of both Liberals and Conservatives.

      I never listened to his show, however I often post provocative concepts to stimulate discussion. I can’t imagine how easy it would be for an opponent to seize on one these posts to say definitely that I am for or against something. Even though I have discussed the topic from another perspective several times elsewhere.

      From another view, I think he will get a long ways just on name recognition… Our society seems as interested in celebrity as in what the GDP is… I mean look at Trumps success.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/25/2016 - 08:51 am.

        “[T]ake his statements out of context . . .”

        Please tell me how his statements about the morality of abolishing slavery were taken out of context. Is there a context in which those remarks would not be reprehensible (aside from playing John C. Calhoun in a historical pageant)?

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/26/2016 - 10:09 pm.


          I don’t have the time nor interest to study his whole statement to make an informed comment. However as Dennis W. noted, what about an intellectual discussion… By saying reprehensible you have jumped to a values judgement. Not a logical argument.

          In ~1850 Southern Farmers had invested a lot of money in buying slaves.
          The Northern states thought slavery was wrong.
          The nation chose to to free the slaves.
          Did the folks in the North offer to pay the Southern farmers to offset the huge losses?
          Or did they just tell that they knew better and expect them to lose their investment?

          I personally don’t know, but there is no harm in discussing it.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/28/2016 - 04:47 pm.


            At some point, logic has to yield to values. Pretending that the question of slavery is somehow independent of morality is anathema to most people.

            There were, as I’m sure you know, proposals to pay compensation to slave owners whose slaves were forcibly free. Ultimately, those proposals were rejected as being a tacit recognition of the legitimacy of owning human chattel. In strictly economic terms, there would be nothing wring with that (the economist Walter Block has said the only thing wrong with slavery is that it was “involuntary”). However, as a society, we have progressed beyond that idea. We acknowledge, at least in theory, the inherent humanity and dignity of all people of all races. We have determined that humans are not a species of property.

            “Or did they just tell that they knew better and expect them to lose their investment?” Yes. Hard cheese to the slave owners, I suppose. One could always say the same thing about someone who traffics in illicit arms or drugs, but I don’t detect any comparable solicitude towards them.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/25/2016 - 08:56 pm.


        Provocative concepts just to see what happens? i.e not interested in an intellectual challenging discussion? Consider oneself looking from the top down as to gladiators in the arena, lets see what happens if we add tigers to the mix? That says a lot about comprehension, honesty & integrity of opinion and discussion.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/26/2016 - 09:57 pm.


          provocative: causing discussion, thought, argument, etc.

          When the Left and Right are so far apart, it is pretty easy to be provocative. Especially around here since most folks are so tied to their view of reality that I am not sure how we could have an intellectual discussion. Typically people just deny the sources or logic of the other commenters and that is the end of intellectualism.

  8. Submitted by Jan Arnold on 02/23/2016 - 04:37 pm.

    He wanted to be like Rush

    but wasn’t up to the task so he whined some more and then had a tantrum and left the playing field.

  9. Submitted by Roy Everson on 02/23/2016 - 04:47 pm.

    The talk must go on

    He lived by the mic, he’ll die by the mic. Except he’s smart enough to know his words would come back to haunt him, but he’s gotten himself a lot of free publicity and an excellent platform to audition for yet another talk-show. Listeners, stay tuned.

  10. Submitted by Bill Willy on 02/23/2016 - 07:01 pm.

    and, “What would be then?”

    ” . . . he also questioned whether abolishment of slavery was a sufficient enough cause for President Lincoln to trample on the rights of southern states.”

    I’ve been sitting here for 20 minutes or so, thinking about that and how it relates to my conception of the kind of things a brilliant person might say, re-reading it every few minutes, and thinking about it some more.

    In addition to that I’ve been trying (hard) to think of something to say about it. But, besides what I’ve said so far, I haven’t been able to come up with anything other than really short sentences along the lines of “Wow”

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/24/2016 - 09:38 am.

      I’ve Said it Before, and I’ll Say it Again

      Jason Lewis is a stupid person’s idea of what a smart person sounds like.

  11. Submitted by Richard Callahan on 02/23/2016 - 08:58 pm.

    Thanks, Ellen.

    “To a woman, pregnancy is the MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE in LIFE. Period.”

    I had never looked at it in this light before. It’s giving me something to think about.

  12. Submitted by Brian Simon on 02/23/2016 - 10:52 pm.

    Selective outrage

    “[Lewis] also questioned whether abolishment of slavery was a sufficient enough cause for President Lincoln to trample on the rights of southern states.”

    Hmmm… riddle me this, defenders of our rights against an overbearing government: which is the greater evil; Lincoln trampling the rights of southern states to legalize ownership of human beings, or southern states trampling the rights of the owned human beings?

    Or is Lewis comfortable with the idea that in deference to state authority over federal, states ought to be able to legalize slavery?

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/24/2016 - 01:26 pm.

      Very Selective

      Note that the “provocative” Lewis quote was about contraception, an area where many conservatives agree with him. The more offensive ruminations on the morality of abolition of slavery were left to the curious reader to find.

  13. Submitted by Tim McCarthy on 02/25/2016 - 04:14 pm.

    gay rights and the decline of white culture

    From a strib piece:
    Lewis later said “social decisions” should be left “to the collective wisdom of the states and the people. Because the courts are not smart enough to know what the answer is.”
    And this:
    In 2012, Lewis said the “white population” has been “committing political suicide” and “committing cultural suicide” by not reproducing at higher levels.
    Question; Does Jason Lewis agree or disagree with the Loving v Virginia decision that forced states to recognize interracial marriage

  14. Submitted by John Appelen on 02/25/2016 - 09:59 pm.


    You are correct that I disapprove of people who have more children than they are mature enough to raise responsibly and that they can afford to feed and care for through their own efforts. Do you approve of people who have babies they are unprepared to care for and raise responsibly?

    The fastest way to eliminate poverty is to eliminate single Parent households. Trying to raise a child(ren) well and pay the bills would be very difficult for most people. It is hard enough with 2 mature cooperating adults in the household.

    American citizens go to great lengths to adopt infants. I don’t think finding a good home for them would be too hard.

    As for giving money to people to “eliminate poverty”, many many lottery winners and millions of welfare recipients have proven that it mostly does not work.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 02/26/2016 - 06:36 am.

      Hatred for the poor

      Again, right down the middle, it seems. 1. Other people’s procreation and marriage habits are none of my, or yours business. I am not an authoritarian. That some may collect welfare is irrelevant, as welfare is not and should not be a conditional “wage”. Welfare is provided by society so that society needn’t suffer the consequences of unmitigated poverty, it has no other higher or lower moral purpose. If you choose to remain a part of society, a citizen, the taxes you pay for all aspects of societal maintenance, welfare included are not yours to administer, they are societies, and society has seen fit to support the needs of the poor you despise, whether you care for it or not.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/26/2016 - 07:58 am.


        So society has no responsibility to stop Parents from having more children than they can effectively raise, and yet society has a responsibility to take money from other families to subsidize the choices of those Parents. Is this what you are saying?

        By the way I do not hate poor people, it is actually that I love children and want them to be raised by responsible, mature, self disciplined Parents who can afford to provide them what they need to be successful in life. In this way they are far less likely to fail in school and become poor people themselves.

        I do agree with you that being poor does make it harder to succeed. (ie it is a cause sometimes) Unfortunately it more often an effect. If one squanders their 13 years of free education and/or becomes a single parent at an early age, the effect is that you will likely be poor. And worse yet, if you don’t value education and are poor it is likely you will continue the cycle with your children.

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 02/26/2016 - 09:30 am.

          In short yes

          Your problem is addressing the situation from an individualistic perspective. Society “should” care not about the dynamics of individual family units, that has, and always has been the “conservative” perspective, no? Why should it be different when you question what your tax dollars are spent on. The goal of welfare is to ameliorate the societal effects of poverty, things like crime rate, public health, and safety. If your goal is to make others conform to your view of the proper lifestyle you are engaging in social engineering, full stop.
          I notice you carefully word your governmental abduction plan to only include infants of the already poor, does your concern for children have an age limit? What of older kids, what of the children of those who become poor through life circumstance after being wealthier earlier? What if those who while married, still cannot provide your “proper” upbringing for their children? Surely you can grasp the further implications of your idea. Even liberal old me can understand the problems inherent in trying to legislate away behavior.

          • Submitted by Anthony Walsh on 02/26/2016 - 11:57 am.

            Living in a free country is hard for some people. Putting up with what your neighbor might be doing in his free time in his bedroom is hard. Being a fine upright citizen while your neighbor does things you don’t approve of is hard. Living in a free country is not something everybody can handle.

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/26/2016 - 04:32 pm.

              The Georgian

              My father hosted a farmer from Georgia (ie Russia) one Summer. He was absolutely fascinated and horrified at the number of laws we had. He thought the USA was a FREE country.

              I had to explain to him that we had laws to ensure that one person’s freedoms did not cause another physical, psychological or financial harm. Now I personally don’t care what any person does in their bedroom as long as our society is not paying for it.

              Unfortunately when people have children that they can not afford and are ill prepared to raise well, we as tax payers pay for those irresponsible actions. Let us count the ways: welfare, healthcare, child care subsidies, special education often, under performing students, 18 year who are not ready to join the work force as we need, etc.

              Now please feel free to go wild in your bedroom, just don’t deliver a baby into this world unless you are mature, responsible, knowledgeable and financially secure enough to care for it. All babies deserve this.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/26/2016 - 12:13 pm.

            Told You So

            I keep trying to tell you that I am not a Conservative… Oh well..

            “The goal of welfare is to ameliorate the societal effects of poverty, things like crime rate, public health, and safety.” Remember that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Your quote/goal sounds excellent however history is showing that the unintended consequences of the cure are likely worse than the initial malady.

            People are able to make irresponsible decisions and transfer the cost directly to society. Be it the baby Daddy who spread his seed and does not pay child support. Be it the family who does not take education seriously and/or drops out and is unable to support themselves. Be it the girl who likes babies and their unconditional love, yet can not afford to feed them. And why struggle to keep a marriage together when Uncle Sam is there to help cover the expenses of the separated family.

            The reality is that welfare is “social engineering”. It in essence forces people who behave one way to give to “charity”, and that money is used to mitigate the consequences of people who choose to behave a different way. It is like a fine that is applied to 2 Parent Households where the Parents have studied hard, had only the number of children they can afford, made good choices, gotten a job, etc.

            I am using newborns in the example because that is direct result of having poorly protected sex, not using emergency contraception or having a first trimester abortion. And if you are on welfare already you should have done one of the above differently or you should be ready for the consequence.

            As for legislating behavior, personally I don’t care if people are sex addicts with a trail of partners. I just don’t want children in homes where the adults can not afford to feed them and/or are too immature, irresponsible, incapable to raise them as they deserve. Just think of all the unlucky kids out there who show up at kindergarten way behind their peers in the areas of cognitive, knowledge, social, behavioral, physical skills, etc. This is not because their Parent was financially poor, it is because those Parents were irresponsible or incapable.

            • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/26/2016 - 12:44 pm.


              As always, what is the solution? Law on who and who can not have children? Law on how many you can have? Another law on if your wealth falls below a certain level per child? We start a series of homes for the impoverished kids, work houses, and who will run these? Not the government, and if the charities don’t meet the need? Give it to private enterprise? And who pays private enterprise? Around we go back to the effort is to educate the impoverished and try to find a way to get them mainstream. That’s what those $ are being spent on, expensive yes, not so successful, probably agree with that, other options?

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 02/26/2016 - 01:07 pm.


                History shows that if you want to reduce poverty and crime, one should make birth control, emergency contraception and first term abortions very low cost and readily available.

                And I think society should turn up the heat to dissuade people from having more children than they can effectively care for, feed and prepare for Kindergarten. Therefore encouraging them to take advantage of the precautions and remedies above. Seems logical.

                The Liberal concept that people should get more money if they are unemployable or have more children is rewarding the wrong behaviors. Maybe I should try giving my children $50 for each D on their report card and have them pay me $50 for each A they get…

              • Submitted by Anthony Walsh on 02/29/2016 - 08:38 am.


                How is it possible to take the problem seriously when so much more is wasted providing welfare in so many forms both direct and indirect to perfectly profitable private enterprise?

  15. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 02/26/2016 - 12:28 pm.

    The War

    “Later, Lewis got back to me. “I take issue with … your line questioning whether ‘the abolishment of slavery was worth trampling states rights, etc. I never said, wrote or insinuated that,” he said in an email. “What I did question is whether the war or emancipated compensation [paying slave owners to give up slaves] was the best way to eliminate slavery.””

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t the Civil War started when the southern states attacked the United States of America and not the other way around? The treasonists started the war and now Lewis is complaining about how Lincoln ended it. He prefers that Lincoln compensate the slave owners for their loss of property, but who, in turn would pay the slaves for their loss of freedom? Not to mention compensating them for all the work they did through the years.

    Some of what Lewis says sounds logical if you don’t think about it, but it rapidly falls apart when you put even a little thought into the process.

  16. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/26/2016 - 01:37 pm.

    Correct Me if I’m Wrong

    Here is a quote from the “enhanced” audiobook version of his magnum opus:

    “In fact, if you really want to be quite frank about it, how does somebody else owning a slave affect me? It doesn’t. If I don’t think it is right, I won’t own one, and people always say ‘well if you don’t want to marry somebody of the same sex, you don’t have to, but why tell somebody else they can’t. Uh, you know if you don’t want to own a slave, don’t. But don’t tell other people they can’t.”

    Mr. Lewis has also been quoted as saying that the “white population” has been committing political and cultural “suicide” by not reproducing at high enough levels. In fairness, he has proposed reaching out to the African American population on the taxation issue, because they kn ow what it’s like to have the value of their labor taken from them (collective memories of slavery).

    There is no way to spin thse remarks as anything other than racist showboating.

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