Sunday, January 31, 2016

An Open Letter To Donald Trump, Street Smart – City Stupid

Open Letter to Trump
Street Smart – City Stupid
Management of the Commons
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            It is amazing to discover the degree to which the environmental cartel has hijacked intelligence. An explanation is best set forth by stating that what was once black is now white and what was once white is now black. It’s that simple and …that confounding.
It starts with a reliable historical and intellectual force, Aristotle.
Aristotle offered permanent insight when he wrote, “What is common to the greatest number has the least care bestowed upon it.” The words mean what the words say. There is no requirement for a special definition to interpret what the old professor meant. The best example was the city dump in Silver City in the days before garbage service was offered to homes outside the city limits. The dump was vile place. Dead pets, rotting table scraps, tires, broken furniture, and human debris of the lowest form of decomposition littered the place. Southwestern winds made it all worse with paper and trash strewn to the ridgeline to the east. Runs to the dump were dreaded. As kids we hated to be seen in that place.
“Do I have to go?” was the response.
When the inevitable did take place, we’d load the old Chevy pickup or the bobtail with the Lerro Feeds emblem on the door and run for the dump. The most accessible and least cluttered parking place would be selected and we’d back in and start slinging loose junk before we turned to muscle and upend the 55 gallon drums of ashes that invariably had yellow or red liquid ooze dripping out the bottom.
            Great relief was the feeling when we hit third gear on the hasty retreat upwind back into civilization and away from that most public of all wastelands. Indeed, what was common for the entire town had the least care bestowed upon it. It was a dire, nasty place and unloved by all who dumped their human detritus down its slopes.
The management of that commons, like all commons, eventually became …deplorable.
            In the same context since 1968, the claiming of environmental tragedies within modern commons, federal lands, has been a useful concept for reducing multiple use management and the promises of equal footing between eastern and western states. As the land health has diminished, maladaptive blame has been aimed at individuals and or small groups rather than the real culprit, government and agency management influenced by special interest masses unattached to any land.
            Aristotle’s Theorem is fully in play. The expected mismanagement and tragedies of the commons is now universally … common.
            Let’s redefine the real problem being faced. The central issue is not whether individual citizens lead inexorably to unsustainable outcomes on federal lands. The real problem has been the management of federal lands has been handed over to the masses and ecological overshoot has become the default condition.
            The environmental community attempt to accuse degradation of these lands on individuals pursuing individual wealth has long been tedious. The real degradation has come from their misguided and idealistic insistence to manage for common-pool resources (feely, touchy nonsense) rather than halt the factors that actually contribute to the deterioration of the western commons. There is little wonder that western forests are burning in multiples of millions of acres per year and millions more trees are being devoured by beetle and moth larvae. When there is no mechanism to reduce fuel loads, catastrophic nature will destroy everything. When tree densities of today reach 2500 per acre as opposed to 50 per acre at the start of the 20th Century, catastrophic nature will destroy everything.
            Wake up!
            Street Smart – City Stupid
            The lands of the West are indeed being over-exploited, but the exploitation isn’t the dimensional representation by the press or the federal government.
            The exploitation is the layered management of the common pool resources by influential groups making a passive living off those resources. To protect their positions, they work very hard to exclude all others who can actually make a difference. Prescriptions for changing that impasse involve decentralizing the authoritarian control rather than the steady advance toward such authoritarian controls, but such change is guarded with ferocious intent.
            The Forest Service is the best example. The agency was arguably once the most respected federal land manager. Today, the agency is the epitome of what is dramatically reversed from original intent and the arrival of the false premise of common pool resources. Its organic act set forth two mandates. The first was to maintain a ready source of timber for American use and the second was to assure downstream flows of water. Try to find that in their modern day mission statement.
            Their actual mission today is tripartite. They fight forest fires, they litigate entanglements and they manage for the greatest good for the greatest number of citizens. The problem is those citizens are not even locals. In a January 12, 2016 statement made to an Arizona legislative briefing, Deputy Southwestern Regional Forester, Jim Upchurch, left attendees gasping with incredulity. He told them their forests were managed “not for the local population, but populations of people in New Jersey, New York, and California”.
            His candor elevated what the greater numbers of folks across the West actually face. Their rights are being overwhelmed by special interest and political centers that have no business in local western affairs. The people of predominately urban centers don’t have any idea what it means to live lives by managing natural resources. They have no idea that success from such endeavors expressly requires conservation and the protection of those resources.
            Their misunderstanding of truths and their undo influence … is destroying western customs and culture.
             Mr. Trump,
             There are a whole bunch of us who have watched your campaign hoping a greater respect for American citizenry will emerge to be matched by your audaciousness. At issue is a simple premise. We don’t believe politicians of any form can now fix our country.
This monstrosity of government, sired by those politicians, is a raging inferno. It grows from its own mass and it devours anything and everything that poses a threat to its expansion. The checks and balances are gone and the workings are now made up of special interest groups that employ their own rent-a-senator, a judicial system that references the Constitution as an original form of ideas that has evolved into a diametrically opposed animal, and a federal bureaucracy that creates its own laws.
We, the subjects, are simply fund providers … well, at least half of us are.
Then, we were thunderstruck. We heard your suggestion the King shouldn’t divest himself of the kingdom and his royal forest (federal lands). After all, it is a place where the king’s men and their mistresses and concubines can retire to play and frolic in the fresh air. Your words were condescending.
“I mean, are they (the states) going to sell if they get into (a) little bit of trouble?” you began. “I don’t think it (the King’s forest) is something that should be sold.”
A proxy then answered the rest of the question for you. He said he liked to go bow hunting. Isn’t there more to this issue that that?
Quizzically, our question in response must be, “Why do you expect equal footing in your world and impose on us (Westerners) standards that can not be equated in any manner to states east of the 100th Meridian?”
Federal lands are a mess alright, but it is the absence of individual sovereignty that constitutes the reason why. For one full year, you need to run one of your hotels with a checkerboard land ownership underlying it. Make sure that 60% of the footprint is federal magic kingdom (just like western land ownership) and there needs to be at least three federal agencies managing the patchwork. Start by asking them if you can run a new sewage line from point A to point B under all ownerships. You’ll find that, with 60% ownership, the magic kingdom keepers will be granted dominion and they will gladly dictate to you when, where, what, and how you can do the whole deal. You won’t get a single thing done in a year, but we will guarantee you the experience will have consequences. For one thing, it will provide a sure cure for … City Stupid.
City Stupid is a condition in juxtaposition to Street Smart.
 We are not sure if the two are mutually inclusive or conditionally exclusive. What we do know is you stung us with your response. We are now exceedingly wary. We don’t want another politician. Indeed, we wanted your audacity, but we don’t need a president that alienates and divides us in a counter motion. We want a Constitutionalist … an Originalist. Perhaps we erred in our initial and hopeful expectation.
For the moment … widespread disappointment abounds.

            Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico.

This is an excerpt from my February column in the Stockman, which should be published any day now.  

Donald Trump recently said he was totally against transferring federal lands to the states.  In an interview with the editor of Outdoor Life Trump had the following to say: “I don’t like the idea because I want to keep the lands great, and you don’t know what the state is going to do. I mean, are they going to sell if they get into a little bit of trouble? And I don’t think it’s something that should be sold. We have to be great stewards of this land.… And the hunters do such a great job—I mean, the hunters and the fishermen and all of the different people that use that land.” 

The idea the only way something can be “great” is for it to be owned by the feds is scary to me.  And besides, wouldn’t that also apply to Hotels & Casinos? 

Ben Carson says, "I think it's ridiculous that the government owns so much land and that we should enact a program whereby we gradually begin to restore that land to the states," while acknowledging, "we can't do it all in one fell swoop because they wouldn't be able to afford it."

Ted Cruz says, "I think it is completely indefensible that the federal government is America's largest landlord."  “I believe we should transfer as much federal land as possible back to the states and ideally back to the people," said Cruz, making exceptions for national parks and military bases.  "If I am elected president, we have never had a president who is as vigorously committed to transferring as much federal land as humanely possible back to the states and back to the people," said Cruz.

No comments: