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Community not commodity

Dear Editor:As the mayoral race shapes up, the choice is clear.The most striking phenomenon is candidate Semrau’s brandishing of Ayn Rand’s book “Atlas Shrugged” as if it were the Bible, Chairman Mao’s little red book or an L. Ron Hubbard tome.What does this demagoguery mean?Well, some may recall that Rand’s retro-futuristic novel and rant for unbridled laissez-faire, written during the rise of Communism in the ’50s, told the story about a world lapsed into socialist morass, wherein industrialists were over-regulated, unfairly taxed and unable to deliver their gifts of prosperity to mankind. So, the captains of industry became recluses and went on strike, and once great nations became stagnant because the “moochers and looters” of the industrialists’ wealth formed collectivist governments.Ironically, much of the story revolves around a struggle to build a transcontinental railroad (read Roaring Fork railroad), and to find out why an innovative engine that ran on static electricity had been scrapped by a mysterious John Galt, portrayed as the ideal enlightened man, the American Industrialist.At the climax of Rand’s book, Galt gives a tedious, 50-page radio speech to inspire industrialists to drop their strike, produce wealth again and save the economy. Now we only need to look at the Enron debacle and the reckless behavior of overpaid CEOs to see where this theme has actually gone. Semrau, a developer, likely sees himself as an Ayn Rand Aspen industrialist. By flaunting the book, he is talking in code to the trickle-down economic theorists who would like to redevelop every block in Aspen. But herein lies the rub. In case you haven’t noticed, there is too much big construction going on at the same time in Aspen, and plenty more to come. Although imperfect, we need some governance. The system can’t work without umpires, because greed never sleeps, and every “industrialist” wants his project now. History has shown that capitalism works well, but that unrestrained capitalism has no conscience.Let’s slow down around here, liberate our parks from too many disruptive events and take back control of the community from redevelopers who don’t have our interests at heart.Vote for community not commodity. Vote for a capitalist with a conscience and a bike helmet. Vote for Mick Ireland for mayor.Tim CooneyAspen


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