Vail Daily letter: What has become of us?
Vail, CO, Colorado
“Happy Fourth of July,” said the stranger. To which I replied: “I think that most Americans would be much happier were they to find themselves engaged in fewer wars.”
By way of faith and reason, we may conclude that war is conducted in absence of rational argument, and in pursuit of money (property) and power.
In Holy Scripture (faith in God and his word) we learn:
a) “No one can serve two masters. He will hate one and love the other. … You cannot serve God and money.” (Matthew 6:24)
b) “The love of money is the root of all evil.” ( 1 Timothy 6:10 )
For those who deny and dismiss faith, we have reason contained in the writings of:
a) Herodotus: The Histories,
b) Thucydides: The Peloponnesian War.
To those who operate without faith or reason … well?
The antonym for war, of course, is peace.
Years ago, Eagle County was relatively peaceful (absolute conditions being unattainable in time within the earthly realm).
Police departments were staffed by men and women who were, for the most part, competent, friendly and cheerful, and who operated without uniform, gun or shield, and who were essentially just one of us.
Nearly everyone was employed, and though profits were difficult to achieve, prosperity did exist on a modest level. And the basic requirements of food, shelter, clothing, and transportation were met.
Ample time was available for the principal pursuits of skiing, hiking and climbing.
Then a dramatic change occurred in America.
A University of Chicago political philosophy professor named Leo Strauss developed the idea that Plato’s writings carried esoteric meaning known only to a few.
Thus was born the New Conservative Movement.
William F. Buckley, a Roman Catholic, became its principal spokesman, which caused this convoluted reasoning to enter the American identity and, of course, the American Catholic Church.
The transformation of Vail from its previously described condition to its present one occurred soon after (around 1980), coincident to the investiture of Reagan and Bush in Washington, although Ford’s earlier presence here had some subtle effects.
Large amounts of money began to arrive in the upper Eagle Valley, which had the immediate effect of causing housing difficulties for local working residents, thereby requiring them to secure secondary employment, which in turn reduced their leisure time (the very reason for which they chose to live here).
Subsequently, downvalley development began in what is now Eagle-Vail, Avon and Edwards, which was up until this time pure, pristine land.
Thus began the new phenomenon of the “wilderness commute.”
Eagle County today is by no means a peaceful place.
Capital (excess on display) and labor (mostly illegal with a high crime rate) became misapplied, causing overhead (schools, churches, hospitals, and jails) to become costly, overcrowded and in some instances, threatening bankruptcy.
“Open space,” a laughable term if ever there was one, must now be rescued from the claws of crass speculators with huge sums of public money.
Home ownership in Vail is now unavailable to anyone but the very wealthy.
Police departments receive their marching orders from town councils who, in turn, cave into powerful, prevalent real estate interests.
Local law enforcement now reveals something of a police state with patrol cars visible everywhere, and whose principal purpose is protection of the property and lifestyle of the idle rich.
Here in Golden Parachute County, building and land owners take great delight while realizing the inflated value of their real estate, but then protest payment of their property taxes due to the corresponding increase in assessed value.
The national financial crisis, which by way of extension, became international, and is now being made local, is ironically not economic in origin, but rather a moral and intellectual one.
And so, one asks: “For what good purpose is war being served when Americans are destroying each other in their own marketplace?”
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