In the midst of the Great Depression, Jason Lewis’ bootstrapping grandfather founded Lewis Motor Supply, seemingly out of nothing. It grew for 50 years until a highway project forced the family to close and fire a bunch of employees.
The experience soured Lewis on the government, and apparently turned him into a states’ rights junkie. As a radio show host on New Talk AM 1130, Lewis’ ambling sermons on romantic notions of limited government and personal sovereignty at times cast him in the righteous libertarian light of Patrick Henry and Ayn Rand – that is, when he wasn’t writing books about how Abraham Lincoln used slavery as an excuse to crush the South, and calling young single women generically ignorant about the important things in life.
Lewis is now running for Minnesota’s second congressional district seat, soon to be vacated by Republican Rep. John Kline. If Lewis wins against six other Republican candidates and Democrat Angie Craig, he’ll likely have to do it without the support of young women, gays, and black people.
StarTribune columnist Michael Brodkorb highlights an excerpt from the audio commentary on Lewis’ 2010 book, Power Divided Is Power Checked, which captures a morsel of Lewis' thinking as he tries to make a case for how the U.S. Supreme Court violated his constitutional rights by permitting gay marriage.
“In fact, if you really want to be quite frank about it, how does somebody else owning a slave affect me?” Lewis says. “It doesn’t. If I don’t think it is right, I won’t own one, and people always say, ‘Well, if you don’t want to marry somebody of the same sex, you don’t have to, but why tell somebody else they can’t?’ Uh, you know if you don’t want to own a slave, don’t. But don’t tell other people they can’t.”
Full crank alert.
We asked Lewis if he cared to elaborate on his logic here, but he didn't.
Lewis may have been trying to express something along the lines of "government bad," but he may just be a self-centered guy at heart.
"We have created a country with more takers than makers ... We are, it seems, endlessly told to live for others," Lewis said during his last radio segment in 2014, before glamorously quitting live on air and leaving his producers in the lurch. "The pursuit of happiness has been replaced with a mandate of self-sacrifice. This is not freedom. This is tyranny."
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