Jim Elliott

Recent Posts

Montana Viewpoint: One-size fire suppression doesn’t work


“For every complex problem there is a simple solution … which is wrong.”

I learned long ago that there are as many expert opinions about an issue as there are people thinking about it. Every year, or every bad fire year, there are numerous opinions regarding what should be done to minimize the economic costs of fire, from loss of timber to loss of homes. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Montana Viewpoint: Getting used to ‘settled science’


Fires, floods and hurricanes are now something it seems we might have to get used to because of global warming. Some are skeptical that global warming exists, but when I bought a few hundred pounds of orchard grass seed to plant last year, I asked the dealer if I should buy the drought-resistant variety, and she said that that was probably a good idea. I live in the wettest part of Montana. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Montana Viewpoint: Why not statues for neglected history?


Given the furor over the presence of memorials to Confederate soldiers, it looks like there isn’t a statue in America safe from being torn down. It’s a tough question; there are some well-known historical figures who, along with the good that they did, also did something to affront a great many people. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Montana Viewpoint: The (first) war to end all wars


As sabers rattle over the Korean peninsula, remember that those who create wars seldom fight in them. That is left to the sons and daughters of less important people. The decisions to enter  what became known as World War I were made by men who believed it would be close to Armageddon. “If war breaks out,” said British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey, “it will be the worst catastrophe the world has ever seen.” (more…) Continue Reading →

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Montana Viewpoint: Private sector leads assault on privacy


Remember the good old days when we worried that the government was going to invade our privacy? Remember many years ago your Social Security card said right on it, “Not to be used for purposes of identification?”

We were worried about an attack from the wrong quarter—at least for a while—because the real assault on privacy came from the private sector. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Montana Viewpoint: A starved government helps only the rich

Jim E

Someone once wrote that the only people who are truly free are the very poor and the very rich; the poor because they have nothing and the wealthy because they have everything. From my perspective, considering the way things are going for the middle class, it won’t be too long before all of us are truly free. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Montana Viewpoint: The heroes of our state


The most memorable speech I ever heard was also the shortest. It was given in 1989 by former Gov. Ted Schwinden, and the occasion was the 100th anniversary of Montana’s statehood. I was lucky enough or canny enough to be standing behind the speakers on the Capitol steps, and I had come to listen, not to Schwinden, but to former U.S. Sen. Mike Mansfield, who was one of my political heroes. (more…) Continue Reading →

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