I had a meeting in Denver yesterday, so I took a quick roundtrip over and back flight. On the way back yesterday afternoon, I wound up sitting next to an acquaintance from another lifetime ago and we got caught up on each other’s lives. As we once did, we talked about our families, ourselves and current events.
He is aware of my political leanings and he asked me how I felt about things, given the current state of affairs in the political world and if I had changed my outlook. He knew me as a conservative, so he asked if that was still where I would describe myself.
I thought about that for a minute and as I did, I realized that I have changed – given that we worked together when I was in my 40’s and now two decades has passed, I’m not sure if it is politics that changed me or simply the march of time, but I told him that I am slowing changing from a conservative into a neo-Galtist.
“What the hell is a neo-Galtist?” he asked.
I replied that I have been thinking a lot about John Galt’s speech in Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”, especially the line: “I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine” and given that it seems that at least half of America and all of the Democrat presidential hopefuls think I should live my life for everybody but myself and they have no problem asking (requiring) me to do so, that quote is quickly factoring into my thinking about the future in the time I have left on this magnificent blue-green orb.
He said that I had a great life and I am living in a great place – I agree with the first proposition and we do live in Park City – but it isn’t the Park City of 30 years ago. It is expensive to live here – and getting more so – property taxes are nuts, and the city enacted a “resort tax” many years ago that I call the Pelosi Tax because they first have to collect it to see how to spend it. It has no stated purpose other than to “support” our resort effort, it is just collected and each year the local government decides what they want to do with it.
PC doesn’t just stand for Park City – the town is getting crowded with more housing developments on the way, and grows more pretentious and hopelessly progressive every day. The formerly locally owned ski resorts are now owned by mega corporations. Park City has become a theme park rather than an old mining town that learned to ski.
It’s wearing on me as I start looking to cut back a bit on the professional side of my life.
Something I have been giving due consideration over the past few months is this question: what is it that is good for me? Of course, that includes what is good for my wife and family as well. I don’t think I am alone in thinking that the Pareto Principle applies and only about 20% of what I do falls in that category with the other 80% being something else (doesn’t mean it is wasteful, just not beneficial to me).
I’m not just thinking about financial things, I’m considering all things – spiritual, physical and economic. Questions about how I maintain a solid spiritual base wile pursuing the physical and financial sides of my life are often at the top of the list.
For me, I would be happy to withdraw from the entire mess, build a house smack dab in the middle of a section of land up in Wyoming or Montana and exist – plant a little garden, raise some cattle and hunt and fish…but that takes money these days. Good land isn’t cheap and cheap land isn’t good and even on “not good” land, they expect you to pay taxes for the privilege of having a deed.
I’m no survivalist or black helicopter guy but I do see the possibility of a coming cataclysm. I don’t think our government will collapse – because there are too many suckling at its teat to let that happen – but I do consider the possibility (probability?) that it could become so wasteful, confounded and wound up in itself that it becomes totally gridlocked and ineffective. When governments grind to a halt, they have this tendency to blame the people and enact coercive and restrictive laws to get what it needs to survive – our productivity.
The last three years is a preview of that – it’s a pilot episode for sure, but you get a taste of what the federal government is like when its attention is limited to what is happening inside the Beltway. It’s like a great centrifuge, slinging the officials to separate them into the constituent elements of left vs. right and God help us to dodge what gets slung out when it goes out of balance.
So, what’s a neo-Galtist like me to do?