Tuesday night, I attended a great event hosted by the SCSU CR’s. Featured guest speakers were Steve Gottwalt, Rhonda Sivarajah, Barb Davis-White, King Banaian, Sondra Erickson, Dale Walz and Craig Westover.

The first speaker was Steve Gottwalt. Steve started by explaining why he is a conservative before explaining to the CR’s why “younger people” should be, too. Steve emphasized the point that the college students in the Atwood Cascade Room should work on recruiting more students to adopt conservative principles. Steve also said that people of the CR’s age group would be hurt by the excessive spending currently happening in St. Paul and DC.

The next speaker was Rhonda Sivarajah, Marty Seifert’s pick for his lieutenant governor running mate. Ms. Sivarajah said that she wasn’t affiliated with a political party when she started running for an open seat on the Anoka County Commission. She said that the turning point for her came when a strong conservative from the area asked her what she believed in. After some questioning, the gentleman who was asking her the questions said that it was obvious she was a conservative and that she needed to be a Republican.

The most interesting part of Sondra Erickson’s presentation focused on how her father taught her about the importance of free markets. She said that her family ran a grainery that competed with a co-op. She said that the family business relied on selling the farmers’ grains at top prices, thereby assuring the farmers and the business of a profit. She said that that experience served her well in the legislature. She told the audience that she’d once again gotten endorsed to be the GOP candidate for HD-16A.

King followed Sondra Erickson to the podium. The lesson King taught was illustrated by a pencil. He said that the pencil was a great illustration of an important economic principle because no one person put the pencil together. If I understood the principle behind the illustration, I think what King was teaching was how command and control economies couldn’t do the things that free markets could.

Another important lesson taught by the pencil illustration is that free markets allowed people to flow to their areas of expertise, which allowed a group working on a shared goal to accomplish something that a command and control structure couldn’t manufacture.

Barb Davis-White’s presentation was electric, which is the standard for her. Saying that she’s got mad speaking skills is understatement. She talked about how freedom and conservatism can’t exist without each other. Barb talked about the importance of understanding and trusting the Founding Documents like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Federalist papers.

Before Craig Westover’s presentation, people in the audience spoke about why they were conservatives. I was the last person in the audience that spoke. I said that I’m a conservative because conservatives are the only people who trusted capitalism. I then said that capitalism is nothing more than betting on human nature. I said that trusting human nature is the best way to get people to make the right decisions.

Finally, Craig Westover spoke about the difference between conservative values and conservative principles. Craig illustrated his point with the Minnesota GOP party platform. He said the standing platform was a great illustration of the party’s values.

Craig then made the case that teaching conservative principles was more important than agreeing with the GOP’s values because principles will help people think things through before reaching a decision. He said that two conservatives might have different values but that they might make the same decision because they applied the right principles.

Based on comments made aftwards, I’d judge the event to have been viewed as a success. Young collegians were taught great lessons by some of the state’s most articulate conservatives. After the event’s final speaker, the collegians and guests spoke about everything from economic theory to “Natures’ God” to the importance of trusting eternal truths.

Based on what I heard, I’m optimistic that this nation will be well-served by the next generation of conservatives. I’m optimistic, too, that they’ll be more disciplined with fiscal matters.

I commend Samantha Walz of the SCSU College Republicans and Jacquie Silseth of the SCSU Young Americans for Liberty for the job they did introducing the speakers and for putting such a great roster of guest speakers.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , ,

4 Responses to “St. Cloud State CR’s Host Why I’m a Conservative Night”

  • Sounds like a fun night.

    It’s interesting that you say your conservatism exhibits a trust in human nature. I think I understand what you mean, that individuals can exceed when given the liberty to act on their own judgment. I agree with that. However, I would say conservatism also exhibits a distrust of human nature. I do not trust any human being, no matter how intelligent or well intended, with unbridled power, because their human nature will tend toward abuse.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Walter, Look more closely. I said that capitalism is betting on human nature. I then said that conservatives are the only people that believe in capitalism.

  • chriskmn says:

    I certainly do commend the young women at SCSU for a fantastic lineup of speakers! It was a truly informative evening with some critically important discussion. I feel sorry for those who missed it!

  • Gary Gross says:

    Chris, Thanks for your contribution to the discussion, too. The more events like that we can put together, the stronger we’ll be as a movement.

Leave a Reply