Letter: Another hippie-dippie Utopia
November 11, 2013
Another hippie-dippie Utopia
While reading Luke Runyon's account of Stephanie Syson and Lisa DiNardo's proposal to create an "edible forest" at the site of Basalt's Ponderosa Park, where we will all graze together in perfect harmony, I momentarily thought I was holding the paper's April Fools edition.
I guess Syson and DiNardo believe that if you build it, they will come — "they" being Adam and Eve before the fall, shepherds and nymphs from Arcadia, and Rousseau's Noble Savage before the incursion of all those depraved Europeans.
The first Euro-Americans, incidentally, to attempt to tend a shared "common" such as this were the Puritans in the 1620s, with such dismal results that Governor Bradford replaced the scheme with the system of individual tenancy that has prevailed in the U.K.'s "allotments" and in our own community gardens ever since.
Guess what? Private industry works, and utopian socialism doesn't.
I don't know Ms. Syson's age, but judging from her remarks I suspect that she mourns having been born too late to live in a hippie commune on Maui circa 1970, which Marxist Berkeley students deemed to be a real "trip," until they more or less grew up and either moved to Carbondale or became professors at University of Colorado at Boulder.
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Finally, a newsflash for Mr. Runyon: Planting a bunch of fruit and nut trees on a half-acre surrounded by cottonwoods does not an "ecosystem" make, even if you manage to fence out all the denizens of the present, actual ecosystem — bears, deer, jays, squirrels, and all those hominids who keep littering the park with pop bottles and fast-food wrappers from the nearby convenience store at the Valero station.
To the town of Basalt: If you insist on sending my tax dollars on pastoral idyll, please send the money to The Rock Bottom Ranch, where such idealism is married to common sense and market principles and practices.
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