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Protecting Freedom in the Last Best Place

By Don Doig

I am a Montana resident, born and raised here, and one of the things I value about Montana is the traditional independence and live-and-let-live lifestyle that the residents have always shown. Of course, over several generations of federal largess, federal control, mass media influence, wrong-headed public school experience, and in-migration from urban centers, that predisposition toward valuing freedom has been diluted. Still, Montana
continues to be among the most independent of the states. In ways beyond the pristine rivers, peaks, valleys, and wilderness areas, this truly is the
"last best place".

With the inagural issue of this newspaper, we hope to contribute to the preservation and enhancement of the best features of the social environment
of this region, and the state as a whole. Our framework for analysis is traditional American freedom and liberty. How this traditional freedom came to be, how it used to be viewed, how it was diminished historically, and how it can still work for us today.

We will ask hard questions about how political power actually works in America today, how the struggle between liberty and power has played out over the centuries of the American experience, how it affects the lives of real people in today's Montana.

We will be up front about this: We value freedom and liberty. We value the traditional protections for the rights of the people built into the
Constitution and Bill of Rights. We question the idea that political power can be a force for good. We would like to see a federal government greatly
diminished in size, influence, and power. Enormously diminished. We believe that government is best which governs least. We do not accept that the
Constitution is a flexible, living, breathing document. We think it sets forth rigid limitations on the power and scope of the federal government, and
that those limitations have been illegally subverted, especially since the Civil War.

We favor property rights and free enterprise and oppose subsidies. We favor diversity, religious freedom, tolerance and freedom of expression.

And we would also like to see a major decrease in the size and power of the Montana state government, and a curtailment of local power as well.
Political power, what very little can be justified, is best devolved to the local and county level. Voluntary and cooperative efforts are far preferable
to coercive and divisive political mandates.

We envision a coalition of people coming together to support the protection and restoration of liberty in Montana and across the nation. We will not
always agree on all issues, but we can agree on the broad proposition that Americans and Montanans ought to be free of oppressive government power.

Don Doig

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