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Livingston's neonative 

In Time Magazine, Walter Kirn writes with some sorrow of the changes he's seen in Montana in the last 15 years: it's gotten wimpy. I sympathize: I too got here 15 years ago, and the changes in Livingston have been far greater than here. I thought it made sense when Montana had no speed limit, and I understood the sentiment behind the bumper sticker "Montana: where you can still smoke in a bar and drink in your car."

Anthony at Gates of the Mountains has a perceptive critique of Kirn, but I would add more. Kirn is making a classic "neonative" response. As captured in Hal Rothman's book "Devil's Bargain," the neonative is a transplant who so loves his new home that he thinks of himself as a native. Neonatives may be the most powerful driving force in contemporary Western history, since the Rockies are so full of them.

We neonatives like to imagine that we arrived in a paradise. But Rothman presents a view of successive waves of neonatives mourning successive visions of paradise. It's a fascinating topic that I've written about before and hope to again.

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