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Totalitarian Aspen

A warning from Scots Historian Professor Alexander Tyler, circa 1787, regarding the fall of the Athenian Republic:

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse (generous gifts) from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship.”

This 18th-century observation seems to be appropriate for many state governments and Aspen today. “Two-thirds of Aspen residents live in deed-restricted housing” (from Tom Peirce’s bio for City Council).

The question is, does our current City Council have the capacity to search for truths and have the courage to step back and identify the real problems facing Aspen, without political casuistry?

For such self-inspection to occur, there must be a clear hierarchy of priorities and a mindset for fair and equitable treatment for all citizens, public servants, second-home owners and tourists alike.

We doubt this will occur, for this would mean Aspen’s government, politicians and voters alike must give up power, benefits and return to basics, strictly following our federal/state constitution and applicable statutes.

Clearly Aspen’s government is not that of a dictatorship, but it is totalitarian in the true sense of the word.

Scott and Caroline McDonald

Aspen


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