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Dr. Ken Blanchard is a professor of Political Science at Northern State University and writes for the Aberdeen American News and the blog South Dakota Politics.
Dr. Ken Blanchard is a professor of Political Science at Northern State University and writes for the Aberdeen American News and the blog South Dakota Politics.

Civilized S.D. Politics

Aug 29, 2011

Like my friend Cory Heidelberger, I was delighted when South Dakota Magazine invited me to contribute a column. As instructed, I will tell you a little about myself. I grew up in Arkansas and went to graduate school in Southern California. I have been teaching at Northern State University since 1989.

I teach political science and philosophy. My field of research is Biopolitics, the intersection of biology and political theory. I recently edited a book, Darwinian Conservatism. I write a regular column for the Aberdeen American News, and a blog called South Dakota Politics.

I will write here on state and national politics and occasionally on scientific questions and energy policy. If my friend Cory writes from the left, I once took a survey that identified me as a conservative with libertarian tendencies. That’s about right.

I think the federal government is spending way beyond its means and that our welfare state in its current form is unsustainable. I believe in government but I also believe that power always involves temptation and corruption. Accordingly I believe in limited government. I like the Constitution just fine and the Declaration of Independence even better. I am prolife because I believe that all human beings are created equal, male and female, rich and poor, black and white, born and unborn.

On the other hand I am, somewhat reluctantly, opposed to capital punishment. I am in favor of legal, same sex marriage. I believe firmly in Darwinian evolution and use that theory in my teaching and scholarship.

One more thing that Cory and I share is a love of the Rushmore State. Shortly after I came to South Dakota, a debate was held on the Northern campus. Prolife conservative Phyllis Schlafly debated Sarah Weddington, a lawyer who argued Roe v. Wade before the Supreme Court. Sitting just in front of me was a tall, lean man with several children around him. He was not prochoice on abortion. Whenever Schlafly finished a comment, his large hands would come together in thunderous claps of applause. When Sarah Weddington spoke, those same hands would grip one another and, I am not kidding, I could see his jaw clinch. However, despite his visible passion, he never interrupted a single word that Ms. Weddington said.

South Dakota is an altogether civilized place. One purpose of this column will be to celebrate its virtues. 


09:31 am - Mon, August 29 2011
Laura said:
Welcome, Ken!
11:32 am - Mon, August 29 2011
Bernie Hunhoff said:
Thanks for contributing, Ken. I'm a Libertarian Democrat so we may not be so far apart a lot of times. I've often thought that when it comes to true philosophy, the Libertarian Party often probably identifies most South Dakotans better than the mainstream parties. But sadly, pocketbook politics usually overwhelms philosophical politics.
06:40 am - Tue, August 30 2011
John Andrews said:
I'm looking forward to your perspective, Ken.
07:20 am - Tue, August 30 2011
Rebecca Johnson said:
Welcome! I look forward to your columns.
09:02 am - Tue, August 30 2011
Thanks to everyone!
09:53 am - Wed, August 31 2011
Heidi said:
Nice introduction Ken! I especially like the story of the man at the debate. South Dakotans are most often respectful and civilized... even when we don't agree.

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