Letter: Heads in the sand
Once decided, people rarely change their minds. This human attribute leads to the inevitable question: How do people choose the initial belief or opinion that then becomes their unyielding conviction? I have been fascinated by this question — even writing a college term paper on the subject — since high school.
On one hand, people do sometimes collect and analyze actual information. On the other, the concept of a “meme” (rhymes with beam) was proposed to describe cultural beliefs that people seem to acquire like a genetic trait — the social and intellectual equivalent of their eye color.
It is perilous to inquire about the basis of another person’s opinion, especially when that person has no idea. They often interpret your curiosity as an attack or evidence that you hold an opposing belief. Faced with the embarrassment of either admitting they don’t know their own mind or providing a nonsensical answer, most people seem to opt for the latter.
This is one major reason why staunch supporters of the status quo at the Entrance to Aspen do not respond to my letters on the subject. Ignoring me is so much easier than trying to support the preservation of an artificial traffic jam for no point, purpose or benefit. However, I had a recent email exchange with someone who didn’t know enough to avoid interacting with me on this issue, resulting in some real gems of desperate rationalization.
For example: “I personally appreciate how the S-curves slow everything down before cars enter town and access Main Street.” (The implicit assumption in this statement is that the Aspen police are incapable of enforcing the speed limit.)
And perhaps my all-time favorite: “I grew up in L.A. and know all too well that when there’s a hubcap in the center lane ahead, it can cause a traffic jam for miles as cars see brake lights ahead.”
No, I did not make up these quotes. A real person actually wrote them.
Are you an Aspen resident qualified to be mayor (administrative experience in an organization of some size) or a council member? Are you already aware that the Entrance to Aspen would function quite nicely if it were expanded to four lanes that everyone could use — with no bus lanes and no S-curves? If so, the quotes above accurately portray the quality of your opposition.
Declare for office now, and you will win next spring.