I’ve recently written about Minnesota republicans doing their best to imitate the goofy behavior of the federal New Conservative Neanderthal Party (NCNP) members, something I hoped would never happen in our good state.

Cut health care and social services all in the name of fiscal stinginess? Cut taxes when we need to fix roads and provide more education dollars? Cut taxes when we need to clean up the environment? 

How about a gun bill that would allow all Minnesotans a chance to conceal and carry without a permit?

I’m pretty curious about all that incurious ideology out there.

I recently watched a state senate hearing debating health care. The mantra of the NCNP certainly made its way to the forefront by actually chirping that increased competition, innovation and choice will reduce health care costs. Sorry, you junior NCNP members, health care costs won’t be magically reduced without putting a gun to the profits of the insurance providers and the health care industry.

Regulating cost is the only innovation possible in the most expensive health care system in the world, something that evolved, or de-evolved, for decades all by its free market self.

The NCNP has certainly adopted “innovation” as its newest happy word, found right there in the New Webster Dictionary. Innovation. Yes, those devout local NCNP members used that word a lot when talking about health care and education and tax cuts to fuel “innovation” in the economy.    

Lo and behold, the members of the Minnesota Chapter of the NCNP are proving to be every bit as goofy as their counterparts on the federal level.

They just seem to have lost their curiosity, stuck with an ideology where less is more, dumb is smart and government of the people, by the people and for the people is some kind of socialist innuendo.

As the richest nation in the world we can’t find enough funding to fix a road or provide health care for all. Even Mexico, while it can’t fix too many roads either, still provides a basic form of national health care for its people.


We argue education and a model in Finland could provide a pretty good idea of how a nation about the size of Minnesota educates its kids in an effective manner. First off, Finland values its pre-school, elementary and secondary teachers in a way we don’t in this state. Teaching is a craft. Most Americans see teachers as necessary, like a stoplight is necessary, but teaching as a craft? Hardly. We downplay the role of teaching until the bad news comes in saying that our kids aren’t reading like they should, aren’t adding and subtracting like they should.

Boy do we point the finger at our teachers and educators then. Not too many folks look in the mirror and see if they had a hand in preparing their kids for school, that parents have a leading role in making sure curiosity doesn’t fade as the years add up.

Curiosity is the key.

I remember a fellow once telling me that he hadn’t read a book since he was forced to in high school. He was proud that he was a common man, not an egghead, and that he was done with all that learning. Our American society has always had that tension between education and the common man, that notion you didn’t have to be book smart in order to be smart or have common sense. Many people have worked hard to be incurious, fearing that they might be mistaken for a smartypants highbrow who could do calculus but not change a light bulb.

I’ve never understood that idea. Isn’t every day a new adventure into learning? Meeting new people. Listening to new ideas. Learning something you didn’t know before.

I may get the blame for having an opinion that generally leans left. I can’t ever remember having too many conservative thoughts except when dealing with children or deciding I’d had enough to drink. I can actually act pretty conservative at times, like when my grandchildren are mewing for some shiny object in the store window and I say, absolutely not! I say no to soda pop and candy all the time. I’m a conservative tyrant when it comes to behavior and manners and saying no to something those little future consumers really don’t need. I’ve grown more conservative about jumping off cliffs and speeding on the highway as well.

I’ve often said that conservatives have hijacked populism and family values. Now we have a faux billionaire in shiny shoes acting like a populist for the middle class. He’s got a gold toilet for crying out loud. What populist has a gold toilet? And this whole family values schtick implies that all leftists

are anarchists and hippies who that let their children run around naked in the mud, without a notion of mom, apple pie and the flag.

Anyway, I just wonder if the Minnesota NCNP chapter members have lost their curiosity about what it’s like to be a Minnesotan in this ever more curious world.