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Conservatism, North Dakota Style

Jun 25, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 39 • By JOSEPH BOTTUM
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The local flavor of the debates, however, cannot obscure the generally pro-government slant of Tuesday’s results. If that’s liberal, then rural North Dakota is a liberal place. Except that we know it isn’t. Not by a long country mile. The state’s voters believe in their ability to govern themselves. If anything, in North Dakota they seem consistently to vote for a straightforward theory of subsidiarity—authority kept in the hands of those closest to the voters: the state instead of the federal government and, where possible, the local community instead of the state.

That isn’t hatred of government. It’s a wise realism about the uses and misuses of government. And with such realism, North Dakota proves just how conservative a state it really is.

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