Part of Colorado is burning. That’s not shocking or unusual. Colorado is a semi-arid region: the original grasslands and most of the montane forest and savanna are fire-climax ecosystems. Fire is an essential part of these environments.
But the fires in Colorado this year are much more than just brush and trees and grass sending clouds of dense smoke drifting with the wind. There are fires in society, fires in government.
Let me explain.
Colorado is now a “blue state” – firmly under control of so-called progressives. More and more “woke” and rejecting bourgeois traditions, history, morals, and more.
Although its capital city, Denver, has not burned or been inflicted with “autonomous zones” or looting, it has its share of protests, including violence and massive “civil” disobedience. Blocking major streets, freeways; attacking (and being attacked by) motorists. Colorado was/is the scene of a nasty Lockdown in the COVID-19 Pandemic Panic. The governor issuing decrees right and left, exercising his dictatorship, using his increasingly-totalitarian “public health” bureaucrats.
And before that, basic and essential liberties, including freedom of expression, rights of self-defense, and protection of private property, have been under attack for years. Under attack by government – State, tribal, local. (And boy, does Colorado have a LOT of local governments!) Not just from “progressives” (liberals or regressives – as I prefer to call them).
Corruption permeates every institution of government. No, not just corrupt politicians and cops and bureaucrats taking bribes to do (or not do) something or stealing money for themselves. Though there is a lot of that. A General Assembly that “legally” steals money entrusted to the State for one purpose, so that they can pay off their political debts and increase their own power. Politicians who buy their election – either with their own money or with the money provided by men who smell more and more like puppetmasters. Government agencies (obeying the legislature and governor’s whims) mistreating and destroying entire communities.
Indeed, Colorado suffers, if any State does, from a “long train of abuses” inflicted upon it by its democratically-elected political leaders and its democratically-retained judges.
Just a few recent examples:
- Gunnison County seemingly got away with preventing property owners whose “primary residence” was not in the county from being in the county during the early days of the Pandemic, expelling them and closing State highways.
- That fire? 27,000 acres and still at 0% containment as I write this, has closed I-70 through Glenwood Canyon, one of the major chokepoints of that highway. Why? I’ve driven that stretch of highway for decades, watching the huge amounts of standing deadwood and ever-thickening brush, because environist nonsense and bureaucratic stupidity allowed all this “public” land to become a massive fire risk.
- I-70 is an important critical passage over the Rockies. One of only four all-weather relatively high-speed highways connecting east and west Colorado. One of only five major freeways connecting the Eastern and Pacific States. Its route was chosen politically although limited by terrain and costs. Glenwood Canyon, closed by the fire, was the most expensive stretch of the Interstate System built back in the 1970s. It was designed to “preserve” the beauty and “conserve” the environment. As a result, it is also one of the most expensive stretches to maintain and operate.
- There are both money AND political limits on what can be done to repair and maintain the highway. Again, we see “public” ownership – with all the tragedy of the commons that results from that. For political “environmental” reasons, they can’t do some things.
- With I-70 closed indefinitely, there are few alternatives from Denver (or anyplace else on the Front Range) to Grand Junction, most of Utah, and Southern Nevada and California (Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, etc.). Those alternatives add literally hundreds of miles (at least 200 and easily 400) in making those trips to and from. Trucks hauling food and everything else probably have an average of 300+ additional miles, at $2.00/mile (or more).
- Small trucks and passenger vehicles have a few shorter routes that only add a hundred or so miles, but add 2-3 hours of travel time. One of those is Independence Pass, topping out at over 12,000 feet above sealevel. To get to it, you drive through that enclave of Wokeness and Wealth, Aspen, in Pitkin County. Traffic through this wealthy, politically-correct paradise (think of it as the “anti-Galt’s Gulch) suddenly increased eight times, as people went over the Pass. (Too many of them who could not afford a ski weekend in Aspen if they spent six-months’ income.) People got upset.
- Following Gunnison County’s example, the Pitkin County Commissioners closed off Independence Pass (State Highway 82). Ah, the power of government. Especially local government in Colorado. Never mind that counties have no authority in Colorado to do so legally (except by lying).
- I don’t know who told the Colorado Department of Transportation to reopen the highway, but apparently someone got an attack of common sense in Denver. (Oh, no, could it be infectious? I don’t think so, but I can hope, right?) It certainly is NOT what any of us expected of the people under the Gold Dome (the Statehouse in Denver) – and who knows? They might suffer from it, in ticking off the SJWs and their puppetmasters in Aspen and elsewhere.
The point of this long tale is this: as happened in 1774 and 1776, the good people of Colorado have endured a lot. But their patience is likewise starting to come to an end. A slow-burning, even smoldering fire is building in the Plains and Valleys, on the mountains and the scattered communities of the Centennial State. Things like this I-70/Glenwood Canyon business build frustration and anger ever higher.
This may be the time it finally flares up – not just into rebellion or revolt but in bloodshed and collapse. Even a formerly free people can only stand so much. When THIS fire really takes off, a lot more than 27,000 acres will burn. A nation and a people will explode.
The Aspen Times reported that a Garfield County commissioner called officials from neighboring Pitkin County “disrespectful, arrogant, gutless and selfish” for closing Independence Pass. Way to go! The truth is sometimes painful.