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The “ernie” Chronicles: Getting To Know ernie

ernie is in jail because he thinks that a victory in society’s court system is somehow meaningful.

Getting To Know ernie
In July of 1805 members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition climbed atop what today is named “Map Rock”, from where they mapped the three incoming rivers which make the headwaters of the Missouri River at Three Forks, Montana. The three incoming rivers were named the Jefferson, the Madison, and the Gallatin Rivers. Two hundred and ten years later, ernie commemorated that historic point in our history by climbing the same Map Rock with his Betsy Ross flag and his musket.

The “ernie” Chronicles:
Getting To Know ernie

By Elias Alias

This series is about the life and times of ernie-wayne: ter Telgte, better known as the Montana Natural Man. I must ask the reader to smile upon my efforts to condense five years of documenting ernie’s life and times. I have no idea how many installments this series will require, but I will do my best to give the most complete profile and character sketch of ernie. It is not just about ernie. He is, in my view, a colorful and creative symptom of the times in which we all live today. His response to these times is of his own making. I respond in a different manner. While ernie takes his fight to the court system and does so as if he were a knight on a sanctioned battleground,  I prefer to recede into the background, stay deep in the woods, and never have reason to go to court. But since meeting ernie I have been to a number of courtrooms at ernie’s request.

We are looking at ernie’s raw approach to life and at the government’s opposition to some aspects of individual freedom.  Born in October 1961, ernie’s first year was in a rustic cabin west of Bozeman, Montana. He grew up amid farm chores and hard work, forty-below-zero nights and sunny Springtime grandeur shared with mountain lions and Grizzly bears. The Bridger Mountain range north of Bozeman is named for Jim Bridger, one of the key fur trappers and explorers to follow the Lewis and Clark Expedition’s opening up of the northwest. ernie was born west of the Bridger range, and like so many Montanans ernie absorbed much of Jim Bridger’s spirit. It is a strong, powerful spirit with a conservative will power to ride hard on times which can be likened to a bucking bronc at rodeo.

He learned the traditional American work ethic, and his passion for excellence grew to artistic proportions as he learned to use his head as well as his hands and back. The man has created beautiful furniture from old barnwood, builds mountain cabins, specializes in rugged walking staffs, and finds unusual uses for wood of all types. He can ride, forge iron, ranch, farm, repair your fence, gate or roof, and harvest wild game.

But wait. Why not hear it from ernie himself, yes?  Here are two brief video clips totaling less than eleven minutes.

As I write this, ernie is in jail. Again.

It’s not that ernie has harmed anyone, or damaged anyone’s property. To the contrary, he is a valued and trusted asset in the small community in and around Eureka, Montana.  In true Redoubt style the hardy folks of Lincoln County, Montana, are country folk, rural and backwoodsy, independent, weathered and wizened. They know that someone will have to gather the eggs each morning. Someone will have to milk the cows, work in the gardens and fields, feed and tend the farm or ranch animals, maintain the irrigation system, do all the daily chores. The kids will meet the school bus on County roads, and everyone will have family meals of home-cooking.  Cowboys, loggers, miners, ranchers, farmers, “Mom and Pop” small business owners, and government workers in municipal, County, State and Federal positions constitute the bulk of the population. Lincoln County, where ernie presently lives, is the least populated of all fifty-six Counties in Montana. ernie’s work ethic fits nicely with the mountain life-style of northwest Montana, as many ranchers and property owners will attest.

So why, then, is ernie in jail?  Again?

To answer that question we must not only talk about ernie’s life, but also about the times in which ernie is living out his life.

It has to do with the old “One and Many” problem. It’s the old “Individual human being standing in the midst of society’s Collective” problem.

Something inside of me wants to believe that I am not alone in my views of individual freedom, that others are “out there” and may be connected.  I will devote the following paragraphs to Jamali of VICELAND TV in London, England, who specifically has wondered aloud how it is that people like us can even meet each other.  Here is how ernie and I met.

We look back to 2009 at an Independence Day parade down Main Street in Bozeman, Montana. There were about two thousand Ron Paul faithful and Tea Party Patriots there to march the parade. We had police assistance, a blocked-off Main Street across town, the proper City permits, and a gorgeous summer day. I was excited to see the size of the crowd.

July 04 2009 Bozeman Montana Tea Party

Shortly before the parade started, ernie came up to me and introduced himself. I was not impressed by his three-corner old-timey patriot hat nor his 18th Century colonial garb nor his musket. But mostly I was not impressed by his persistent push to tell me everything I already knew about the country’s condition, and to add some really bizarre-sounding oddities which we can categorize as “conspiracy theories”.  I really do not care if the pope in Rome wants to claim that he owns the air which surrounds the earth. I don’t care if the American Bar Association is a mask for a British conspiracy, a Rhodes Round Table clandestine op, or if the BAR runs interference for the Rothschild banking dynasty.  This dude, ernie, was not impressing me, and I wanted to get away from his preachments without appearing to be rude. He was persistent, as if it somehow mattered to him that I recognize his knowledge. When the parade started I jumped ahead to the front rank of the parade, escaping ernie in the shuffle.

But that was only the beginning. For the next eight years ernie would drop by my home at times with a new stack of written papers. He wanted me to collect up his writings. I was still not impressed. I could not have cared less if some folks wanted to put a yellow fringe on the American flag. I couldn’t care less how the government spells my name. My style was, and is to this day, simply to, as best as I can, stay out of the way of the mechanized behemoth called “government”. Having fought in Viet Nam as a young U.S. Marine, I knew how government works. I knew perfectly well how broadly and intensely, and intentionally, our dear government lies, non-stop, to the American people.

Befriending orphans in the war.

Because I had my own slant on what’s going down in America, I was more interested in configuring my own thoughts on what is killing freedom for the individual in America. I really did not want to devote any time to reading over ernie’s documents. However, I have been collecting ernie’s hand-written tomes, screeds, and epistles  since 2009, and ernie is still bringing new ones to me. Those documents have continued to pile up. The stack is two feet high. I still have not read them, but I do keep them.

ernie’s value system, his personal moral code, and the centermost concentration of spiritual impulse in his heart are characteristics which thrived prior to a hundred-fifty years back in time.  Men in our country’s early years held to the custom of fighting duels as a matter of honor. ernie harks back in time to the Lewis And Clark Expedition’s 1805 discovery of the place in which a century and a half later ernie would be born.

Hence the picture atop this page. ernie cherishes the Founders, the original intent, and the moral dignity of that era’s principle actors.  So to ernie, when he perceives injustice today, or short-coming or misapplication, feels duty-bound to call it out. He also, however, fiercely refuses to back down. That inability to detach, to disengage, to back off at times in order to “live to fight another day“, has much to do with ‘why’ ernie is once again in jail.

Allow me to close this installment by noting that the rugged individual on the world’s stage is a character with much appeal in America. Yet in recent decades we’ve seen the rise of socialist and communist ideology posing as “society” and flat-out stating that society has some sort of authority to regulate the behavior of the individual. ernie and I both value individuality very highly.  Neither ernie nor I recognize any “authority” outside the authority alluded to by Thomas Jefferson, when he wrote of those “Unalienable Rights” with which we all are born.  One may live a very honorable and morally upright life by living in harmony with the spirituality inherent in one’s conscience. Such an individual does not need a body of “laws, codes, and statutes” to direct his daily life. Henry David Thoreau knew this, as have a number of American thinkers, especially libertarian thinkers and philosophers. Here is one good example, a favorite —

In discussing the “rights of society”, Murray Rothbard [1] examines the “rights of society” and questions whether the rights of society should supersede the rights of the mere individual. Turning to the libertarian’s point of view, Rothbard notes that the [typical] libertarian —

“…is an individualist; he believes that one of the prime errors in social theory is to treat ‘society’ as if it were an actually existing entity. ‘Society’ is sometimes treated as a superior or quasi-divine figure with overriding ‘rights’ of its own; at other times as an existing evil which can be blamed for all the ills of the world. The individualist holds that only individuals exist, think, feel, choose, and act; and that ‘society’ is not a living entity but simply a label for a set of interacting individuals…”

I agree with Rothbard.  I seek the ‘balance’ point between society’s institutions and the rights of the individual to choose the terms of his own life.  The fact that such a thing is even being discussed in America today is itself a sign of the times in which ernie lives.

In short, ernie is in jail because he thinks that a victory in society’s court system is somehow meaningful. He feels that the twelve or more times he has been arrested are worth his losses as he draws attention to the court system. Next installment we’ll look at ernie’s views on “Jurisdiction”.



1 —   “For A New Liberty“; copyright 1973, 1978 by Murray N. Rothbard; Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., New York, N.Y.; ISBN – 0-02-074690-3.

2 – Part One at Redoubt NewsFishing Without A License


This series of articles titled “The ‘ernie’ Chronicles” is shared in exclusivity by Redoubt News and The Mental Militia and is copyrighted by Elias Alias 2018. All rights reserved.


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