Plundering Wilderness for ‘Financial Certainty’

A highly organized, extravagantly financed, top-down campaign to seize and dominate (plunder) undeveloped forestland near Lincoln, Montana is well underway.

Intense gaslighting techniques are making it difficult for Montana’s commoners to discern what’s truth and what’s propaganda. The recent flurry of opinion pieces, political polling reports, and the promotion of the 50th anniversary celebration of the designation of the Scapegoat Wilderness in 1972 are representative elements of yet another elaborate anti-wilderness scam: The Lincoln Prosperity Proposal. Sorry, no prosperity for wildlife.

Montana’s history is littered with numerous examples of similar anti-wilderness political wreckage, posing as wilderness protection: Sen. Melcher’s failed statewide anti-wilderness bill (1988); The “Lolo-Kootanai Accord” (1990); Burns-Baucus “release” bill (1992); Rep. Pat Williams, “Round 16” (1993); and Baucus’s Rocky Mountain Front retirement fiasco (2013) just to highlight a few.

In 1850, French economist and author Frédéric Bastiat recorded profound observations about the law and moral codes of conduct that have proven true in this so-called modern era of “free-market environmentalism” and “sustainable development”: Sometimes the law defends plunder and participates in it. Sometimes the law places the whole apparatus of judges, police, prisons and gendarmes at the service of the plunderers, and treats the victim — when he defends himself — as a criminal. “The Law,” (1850).

I would add historical revisionism to Bastiat’s observations. Contemporary feudal lords (the plundering class) use revisionist history to mask the devious methods and ill intentions of their paid flunkeys and propagandists who execute their orders to evil perfection.

The parasitic rentier class works hard to remain invisible as they direct the action from behind a smokescreen engineered by an army of stenographers (magpie media), government bureaucrats (agency capture), “conservationists” (free-marketeers) and “wilderness-lite” posers. This harmonic chorus of voices lull their unsuspecting victims into such a state of confusion that their ability to reason is overtaken. A “hive mind” unreality takes control, as the possessed are transformed into unsuspecting participants in plunder of our beloved remaining undeveloped, publicly held forestland. The goal is to gain the public’s consent for a new, financialized, digitized form of commercial exploitation: High-dollar, thrill-based adventure tourism.

Name-dropping wilderness legends like Cecil Garland and Bob Marshall as a sales tactic is downright cheesy. The commercial goals and objectives embodied in the Lincoln Prosperity Proposal are self-serving, and primarily about financial success and dominance over nature; completely opposite the purpose and achievements of the world-class reputations they defame.

Nothing is beneath these soulless propagandists. Their noxious attempt to misguide public opinion by applauding falsehoods and smothering truth is pure folly. Unfortunately, the plunderers of today are often unable to see themselves as subjects of plunder.

This foolishness centered around “creating economic certainty” for the small rural town of Lincoln creates new socio-economic risks far greater than any being imagined. Certainty is an emotional state that eschews rational thought which seldom leads to wisdom. To create a feeling of certainty requires oversimplification and all too often pure wrongheadedness.

Anyone who falls for the promise of a “Golden Age” of economic prosperity and certainty by selling out Montana’s wildlife and wilderness has obviously not experienced the Big Sky, Yellowstone Club, Moonlight Basin complex lately – Montana’s Babylon.

Wisdom is the antidote for foolishness. As Montanans fight to escape this new colonial era of plunder descending upon us, we should study the wilderness heroes of our past and use their experience to gain the knowledge and wisdom we will need to avoid costly, irretrievable mistakes and successfully navigate our way to a quality of life we can proudly pass on to future generations of Montanans.

Steve Kelly is a an artist and environmental activist. He lives in Bozeman, Montana.