In 2005, I started a little blog site with the intention of providing occasional commentary about national and statewide politics, hoping to complement the excellent work at Montana’s first big political blog, Left in the West. Choosing a domain name is always a challenge and my first thought was to honor one of my political idols, the American Socialist Eugene V. Debs, who, during five campaigns for President, forcefully advocated for the rights of workers, fought against militarism, and believed in the power of the written and spoken word to change minds.
The name (domain) for the site came from Debs’s famous quote:
“Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization. Progress is born of agitation. It is agitation or stagnation.”
It’s a great quote. And a terrible name for a site, which I realize the first time someone asked me where I was writing and I had to say the name aloud. It doesn’t suggest Montana and it doesn’t give much of a sense of what the site is about, but it sounds incredibly smug. Awfully smug. Embarrassingly smug.
So, for about eleven years and eight months of the site’s existence, I wished I had chosen another name.
And within a few years, inspired by the Tester-Burns race, I knew that the real niche for our little site was covering Montana politics. With the occasional foray into national and international issues, the site has been–and will continue to primarily be–about Montana issues. And Ryan Zinke, who’s from California.
We changed the name of our site in 2016, not just because it was so terrible, but because our mission had evolved as well. We’ve broken stories about political scandals and had our work picked up by national media, offered a place for progressive candidates to introduce themselves and their causes, and offered a platform for writers looking for an outlet to get their work out to a wider audience. We’ve built an active online community and deployed tools to get our posts to readers as fast as we can write them.
While all the old content from Intelligent Discontent is still available and your search results for it should still work, the new name and location for the site will be The Montana Post, a name taken from the first newspaper in the Montana Territory. Located in Virginia City, the paper lasted for five years, a length of service we hope to at least match.
In this era of “fake news” and the democratization of news, it’s not always clear what motivates a source, so let me try to be clear about what The Montana Post is: we’re an independent site that takes no funding or direction from anyone other than our readers. While we’re committed to presenting the truth and doing our best to make sure that everything we write is accurate, we’ll never hide the bias that is at the core of this site’s mission: a belief in progressive values about economics, governance, human rights and respect for individual autonomy and identity.