If you listen to the rhetoric from Montana Republicans at the Legislature, you’ll hear a lot of talk about liberty. At every turn, they pontificate about the precious freedoms granted by the Montana and United States constitutions, but you don’t often see a collection of their liberty together, so I’ve put together a primer about just what kinds of freedom Montana Republicans believe in.
Montana Republicans believe that:
- private corporations and individuals should enjoy the financial freedom to purchase and develop public lands and the land held by Montana Indian nations.
- multinational banking conglomerates, the same people who exercised their freedom to crash the global economy in 2008, have the liberty to lie to consumers about their home loans.
- students in Montana schools should have the liberty to develop life-changing measles, polio, and whooping cough.
- those same students should have the liberty to not learn college and career ready educational standards.
- college students should have the freedom to fear their college campuses will become overrun with gun zealots eager to prove their masculinity by carrying weapons to their Intro to Sociology classes.
- Montanans should be free to bring guns into every place in the state, from churches to bars.
- the poor should enjoy the freedom from pesky needs like adequate food and equal protection under the law.
- 70,000 Montanans should continue to enjoy lives without access to adequate health care, leading to crippling diseases and constant fear about their financial future, just as dozens of Montana communities may soon enjoy being free of local medical services.
- Montana women should be free to let conservative men make critical health care decisions for them, no matter what science and basic human dignity say.
- Montana law enforcement officers should be free to arrest doctors who provide end-of-life autonomy to patients.
- parents have the liberty not to pay child support.
Liberty. In the timeless words of Inigo Montoya, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”