January 26, 2023

IFF Senior Policy Fellow Ron Nate

Pocatello–A record-setting crowd turned out to hear IFF Senior Policy Fellow and former representative Ron Nate speak at 2023’s first Liberty Dinner last Saturday.

As a prologue to his speech, Nate displayed three charts.  The first one, created in 2018, showed the Idaho government’s total budget for 2018–eight billion dollars–as well as how it was allocated.  Next, he displayed a similar chart created in 2023.  That chart showed a state budget of thirteen billion dollars–an increase of five billion in only five years–as well as an 8% increase in the amount of federal funding Idaho received.  The third chart shows how Idaho plans to spend those thirteen billion dollars.  Nate pointed out that rather than focusing on education, the largest portion of Idahoan’s tax money is spent on health and welfare programs.  He proposed three solutions to Idaho’s increase in taxation and spending: lower taxes, limit government, and stop depending so heavily on federal dollars.  He also suggested that states ought to manage the withholding of both federal and state taxes, allowing them to use the federal portion as leverage to combat federal overreach.

Next, Nate discussed the 2023 Conservative Agenda.  Though he is no longer in the Legislature, other conservatives have continued the tradition of announcing their plan to promote the principles of “Restore and Maintain Freedom, Protect Families and Children, Lower Taxes, and Less Government.”

Finally, Nate contrasted the six purposes of American government as listed in the Preamble to the Constitution with the ten points of Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto.  He pointed out that it is Marx’s principles we see in modern society, especially in the world of education.  To demonstrate this, he listed a few statistics:

  • 33% of Americans cannot identify when the Declaration of Independence was signed.
  • 65% of Americans could not say what happened at the Constitutional Convention.
  • 59% of Americans could not name one enumerated power of the federal government found in the US Constitution.
  • 62% of Americans could not name the Governor of their state.
  • 85% of Americans did not know the meaning of the ‘rule of law.’
  • 71% of Americans could not identify the US Constitution as the supreme law of the land. 
  • 62% of Americans could not name even one of their two US senators.
Idaho Freedom Foundation

Even our elected representatives are poorly-informed:

  • Only 49% of elected officials could name the 3 branches of government.
  • Only 46% of elected officials knew that Congress, not the President, has the power to declare war.
  • Only 15% knew the phrase ‘separation of Church and State’ never appears in the US Constitution.
  • Only 57% knew what the Electoral College is, and 20% of those who didn’t know thought that it might be a school for “training those aspiring for higher political office.” 

America’s kids are being educated, though.  They know a host of “facts”, such as:

  • the alternative pronouns for kids in their class
  • boys can be girls and competer on girls sports teams
  • the meanings of “top surgery” and “bottom surgery”
  • America is Racist
  • racism is everywhere – if you disagree, guess what – you’re a racist
  • good books include Gender Queer, Sparkle Boy, Antiracist Baby, Heather has 2 Mommies, A is for Activist
  • bad books include Tom Sawyer, The Grapes of Wrath, To Kill a Mockingbird,
    The Catcher in the Rye, The Cat in the Hat, If I Ran the Zoo, Little House on the Prairie, Curious George
  • pushing back on any of this is “not being kind”
  • Christian values are outdated and evil

At the same time, 83% of Americans claim they are Christians, and only 26% of Americans claim they are Liberal.  So “why,” asked Nate, “don’t our conservative, Christian values translate into conservative, limited government?  Why does it feel like we are losing our country and our values?”  He called on his listeners to become “warriors for freedom,” assuring them that, “We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us: our patriots, our prophets, some of our presidents, and our Savior.”

In closing, Nate cited a quote from George Washington: “Happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected.”  He left his listeners with this challenge: “My encouragement to you is that you too can enjoy President George Washington’s version of happiness by fulfilling your moral duties. And you do have moral duties! to your God, to yourself, to your families, to your communities, to your employers, to your country, and many others.  There is an emergency, an urgency.  We must act…We can turn the tide.  Let’s take our schools back.  Let’s be leaders in our communities.  Let’s restore traditional values and reject the teachings of the adversary who wants to destroy families and our children.”

Dinner attendees also heard three updates from other political leaders.  Bannock County Commissioner John Crowder spoke briefly about the county’s financial situation and encouraged his listeners to run for local office; State Committeewoman LaQueta Morgan shared a summary of the Republican Party’s Winter Meeting; and Maria Nate announced the founding of the Idaho chapter of the State Freedom Caucus Network, of which she is the director.

Editor’s Note:  The Liberty Dinner Series is hosted monthly by the Pocatello-Chubbuck Observer.  It features conservative leaders speaking about the important issues of the day.  To learn more, contact Pocatello-Chubbuck Observer Publisher John Crowder at jcrowder27@hotmail.com.

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