The Blog

Montana

Demographics and economics are combining to push the middle-class dream out West.

12:00 AM, Oct 28, 2005 • By REIHAN SALAM
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WHEN THE DECK is stacked against you, cheating is pretty much your only recourse. The best way to "cheat" is to abandon the middle-class mainstream and embrace alternatives. As high-quality public schools grow increasingly inaccessible, the next generation of parents will have little choice other than to supplement their children's inadequate education. Some will turn to private tutoring chains--which are already mushrooming across the cities and suburbs. Others will create increasingly sophisticated cooperative networks that could, over time, come to supplant conventional schools. Looking further out, one can imagine these networks taking on even larger economic roles. Despite steep tax burdens and a rising cost of living, a small handful of would-be outlaws will in this way stumble upon a new birth of freedom.

Where better to live the outlaw life than in Montana, where housing is cheap and experiments in living are welcome? It wouldn't be the first time ornery, ambitious, enterprising young people settled out West in droves.

Reihan Salam is a writer in Brooklyn and a contributing writer to The Daily Standard.