Addison Gardner: Always Right | AspenTimes.com

Addison Gardner: Always Right

Addison Gardner
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

One of the political left’s favorite conceits is that Americans ” particularly the “red state” fly-over variety ” hate their government.

We’re not discerning enough to distinguish between the bad elements of government ” those increasingly annoying pre-emptions of our privacy and choices ” and government’s ability to protect us from tainted groceries, terrorism and nuclear attacks from rogue states.

We don’t split hairs. We dissenters simply hate our government with a blind fury ” monuments, bridges, highways and all.

The word “hater” is now routinely misapplied to anyone who questions any government initiative ” whether it be the public financing of abortions, the codification of gay marriage, the nationalizing of health care, or the electronic surveillance of our license plates. If you question government’s invidious intrusions, you’re a “government hater.”

Political demagogues learned long ago that if you can brand your adversary “a hater” in the public psyche, you’ve effectively neutralized him. Nobody wants to hear what a hater has to say, least of all we loving, open-minded, “nuanced” thinkers in the Roaring Fork Valley.

We love bears, nesting birds and other critters, large and small, but we’re fresh out of time for haters.

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In fact, we should round up all of America’s haters and pack them off to, say, Siberia. Maybe we can rent space from Vlad Putin, after he returns from dealing with the haters in that irksome democracy, Georgia.

There’s nothing like a Russian T-90S battle tank to put the kibosh on government haters.

No amount of evidence to the contrary (see: Burlingame) will shake the leftist’s faith in his government, just as nothing will convince him to regard private-sector, capitalist impulses as anything less lethal than an envelope brimming with anthrax.

Aspen is a wonderful Petri dish because it offers the perfect mix of energetic leftist impulses and plenty of “other people’s money” to bring them to fruition.

Mayor Ireland’s posse is busy with its SimCity experiments, and before long, we’ll have the porridge just right ” including government-owned housing, government-owned hydroelectric, government-owned parking garages, and even government-controlled restaurant pricing. That’s right, the members of Aspen’s overworked and underpaid City Council are now micromanaging what Aspen’s private businesses can charge for their goods and services.

An Aug. 22 Aspen Times editorial (“Cooper Street settlement seems worth supporting”) makes the obligatory mewling noises about Aspen’s “working class” ” most of whom are government employees ” and praises the city’s heavy-handed interventions with the closing line, “…we like the idea of an affordable meal in downtown.”

Gag me with a McDonald’s fish sandwich and hold the rancid tartar sauce.

Speaking of McDonald’s, the Los Angeles City Council (another SimCity Nirvana) has recently enacted a ban on fast-food restaurants in South Los Angeles. The ban applies to any restaurant that “… dispenses food for consumption on or off premises, and which has a limited menu, items prepared in advance or prepared or heated quickly, no table service and food served in disposable wrapping or containers.”

Banning fast-food restaurants in South Los Angeles is intended to correct the city’s out-of-whack fat demographic: L.A. County as a whole suffers from a childhood obesity rate of 25 percent, whereas South Los Angeles boasts a 30 percent rate.

As is often the tragicomic case, government meddling and micromanaging of our lives proves the rule about “unintended consequences.”

Instituting a ban on fast-food restaurants also removes many of the safe, available jobs for South Los Angeles youth. Corporations like McDonald’s are big enough to spread corporate liability across the national landscape, so they place their stores ” which provide entry-level jobs ” in both upscale malls and inner-city neighborhoods.

Eliminating fast-food options for South Los Angeleans won’t shrink kids’ waistlines; it will shrink their options. What’s next ” banning Snickers bars in convenience stores and outlawing vending machines in Hyde Park Laundromats?

When do we start insisting that Americans accept responsibility for their own choices?

Which brings us back to Aspen: Are there any limits on the kaiser-esque kibitzing that has characterized City Council’s recent usurpations of private-sector prerogatives? Most of us support initiatives to control unchecked private development, but what about the unchecked arrogance of Aspen’s “Fab Five?”

Government is Aspen’s single largest employer, by far. Government employees live in Aspen’s affordable housing, and they vote themselves added municipal amenities at the same time they vote against revenue-producing private development.

In fact, private-sector development has been so successfully squelched that Aspen now lacks the revenue stream to finance Council’s grand agenda. If he were a private-sector CEO, this consequence avalanche might threaten to bury Mick and his sled dogs. Fortunately, this is a public-sector shortfall, so the problem is easily remedied by strangling the second-home owner “Golden Goose,” and smelting a few more of his golden eggs.

As long as they don’t run out of rich folks to loot, Aspen’s city fathers can continue to twist the dials on their social engineering machine to their heart’s contentment.

We can debate the pros and cons of government endlessly, but there’s one thing we should all keep in mind: None of us will ever answer a knock at our front door and find a Boy Scout, a Bible-clutching Christian, a prayer-reciting high school football player, or an oil company CEO ready to arrest us and cart us off to jail.

Only government has the power to enforce its edicts at gunpoint.

Should we be concerned about living in a town/country where, increasingly, some mincing, purse-lipped functionary can tell us how much we can charge for the soup in our restaurants?

You bet your ass we should.

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